On Tuesday, November 3, 2021, Maine voters approved an historic state constitutional amendment establishing a constitutional Right to Food. The measure added language to the state constitution providing that individuals have a “natural, inherent, and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce, and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health, and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching, or other abuses of private property rights, public lands, or natural resources in the harvesting, production, or acquisition of food.”
This is a first in the United States and a huge step forward in ensuring that individuals, homesteaders and farmers can control their own food choices. Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) anticipates that the amendment will assist producers in controlling how they produce, sell and distribute food. Consumers will have access to healthy, locally produced foods of their choice. The measure is likewise intended to ensure that local communities have greater control over their own food systems.
Opponents to the amendment included the Maine Farm Bureau and the Maine Dairy Industry Association, both arguing that the language is vague and fails to ensure food safety. Of course, permitting local growers to produce and provide healthy food directly to consumers provides greater safety protections than that provided in the typical U.S. food supply. FTCLDF growers engage in wholesome methods of producing food, and because they sell locally, are determined to ensure the greatest of safety measures for their communities. FTCLDF applauds those who worked so hard on the passage of this amendment.
The amendment provides individuals food sovereignty. It provides an avenue to produce food outside the corporate controlled U.S. food system and has the potential to address food insecurity. FTCLDF is so proud of the small growers in Maine, members and non-members alike.
We look forward to monitoring and assisting developments in Maine following this historic move by Maine voters. Please Contact Us for assistance in carrying out the intentions and hopes of this constitutional amendment.
YOUR FUND AT WORK
Services provided by FTCLDF go beyond legal representation for members in court cases.
Educational and policy work 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 and social media outreach.