FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|Craig Carl speaking eloquently at the public hearing on the LFCSGO in Bingham, ME on June 17th, recalling the courage it took to draft the Declaration of Independence and recognizing the same kind of courage from the residents of Bingham. “Sometimes, when you really believe in something,” Craig said, “you have to take a risk.” The town will vote on the ordinance on July 1st by ballot at a special town meeting.|
MOSCOW, MAINE—June 19, 2015—On Tuesday, June 9th the residents of the town of Moscow, Maine in Somerset County voted by ballot to adopt The Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance (LFCSGO). Moscow becomes the third town in Maine this year to pass the LFCSGO. The town of Freedom in Waldo County passed the local food ordinance in March. Alexander in Washington County passed the LFCSGO later that same month.
The LFCSG ordinance asserts in part that “citizens possess the right to save and exchange seed; produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing” and exempts the direct exchange of food between individuals from licensing and inspection.
Amidst references to the Declaration of Independence and the Maine state constitution, the LFCSG ordinance also cites supportive Maine statutes. The ordinance cites Maine’s Home Rule law, which grants municipalities all powers necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the town.
Additionally, it cites §1-A of Title 7 of the Maine Revised Statutes which states: “The survival of the family farm is of special concern to the people of the State, and the ability of the family farm to prosper, while producing an abundance of high quality food and fiber, deserves a place of high priority in the determination of public policy.”
A more recent law cited in the LFCSGO passed in 2013 directs the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to support policies that “through local control preserve the abilities of communities to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume locally produced foods.”
For residents of the town of Moscow, however, the decision to adopt the LFCSG ordinance was very straightforward. To Elaine Collins, acting at the local level was simply necessary: “We felt the need to pass the LFCSG ordinance in Moscow because we needed to fight to keep our basic rights to one of our most basic needs…which is food!”
Others in Moscow, including selectman Mike Staples and his wife Debbie found passage of the LFCSG ordinance cause to celebrate: “Our Maine constitution gives us a right as a town to home rule. Moscow became the first town in Somerset County to pass the local food ordinance. We are excited that Moscow residents utilized the right to home rule!”
“It is no surprise that the people of Moscow feel strongly about this. We are proud of our heritage and our freedoms. And we want the freedom to be able to live our lives from the land. Although we may not all live that lifestyle currently, we want the freedom to do so if we choose. Passing this ordinance in our town sends the message to Augusta that this is important. We are proud to be a part of this movement and we will go forward now thankful that we have the ordinance in place in our town and encourage other towns to do the same,” said the Staples. “It’s time to stand up for food sovereignty.”
The residents of Moscow enjoy the support of House District 118 representative, Larry Dunphy. In a written statement he shared, “The citizens of the state are entitled to certain rights and I believe the right to food should be one of them.”
He continued, “Food sovereignty is simply being taken away by government regulation, the big food lobby and politicians who are simply willing to give your rights away in return for PAC money and political support. I applaud them (food sovereignty proponents) for their efforts and I want to show them my full support.”
Moscow becomes the fourteenth town in Maine since 2011 to pass the LFCSGO joining Sedgwick, Penobscot, Blue Hill, Trenton, Hope, Appleton, Livermore, Plymouth, Isle au Haut, Brooksville, Brooklin, Freedom and Alexander.
Local Food RULES – Hancock County
Local Food RULES – Somerset County
Local Food RULES are the county chapter organizations of Food For Maine’s Future working to secure and promote the right of community self-governance of food and traditional food exchanges through municipal ordinances and other mechanisms of local governance.
Food for Maine’s Future seeks to build a just, secure, sustainable and democratic food system to the benefit of all Maine farmers, communities, and the environment. They are advocates and activists for small farmers, farm workers and their patrons against corporate food monopolies.
FTCLDF is providing funding to help in the passage of the LFCSG ordinance.
Read Heather Retberg’s speech on the subject, Advancing Food Sovereignty in Maine.
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Services provided by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) go beyond providing legal representation for members in court cases.
Educational and Political Action Services also provide an avenue for FTCLDF to build grassroots activism to create the most favorable regulatory climate possible. In addition to advising on bill language, FTCLDF supports favorable legislation via action alerts, social media outreach, and the online petition service.
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