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Maine Food System

Welcome to the conversation about how we, the people of Maine, can take cooperative action to sustainably grow as much of our food within Maine as possible - for our environment, our economy & for our health!

Website: https://sites.google.com/site/mainefoodsystem
Location: Maine
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Latest Activity: Mar 14

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ME Food System ~ BY THE NUMBERS

Started by Maine Food System May 28, 2011.

CTN TV4 - Maine Food System - TV show with studio audience

Started by Maine Food System Apr 14, 2009.

Reply to Ed "Maine Foods System" 1 Reply

Started by Merry Hall. Last reply by John Bernard Mar 23, 2009.

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Comment by John Harker on January 28, 2011 at 6:37pm

Hi cathie,

Can you validate for me what goes into X acres of permaculture land use that feeds one person.  It has been a long while since I have read on the subject.

Boy, looking at my past statements, I must have been on a mind-warping mode of thinking to spew all that out in these posts.  Of course, I agree with all that I wrote, but I believe it was exhausting to reread it. Pity the poor person, like yourself, who did!

 

I think the new economy will welcome individuals who try and establish a permaculture system on their land. And I think the individual will be much better for it, for food self sufficiency. But, I still cannot wrap myself around how you can expand that to the whole population who needs food distributed to them in an efficient manner.......so , again, would be interested in what the individual permaculture "package" looks like.

Comment by cathie pinkham on January 28, 2011 at 6:15pm

seed savings

 

greetings all  need some edu  on seed saving  seeds are getting costly is their anyone out their willing to teach a group of  folks ??

thanks feel free to email  me   cpp@roadrunner.com

thanks cathy

Comment by Maine Food System on September 29, 2009 at 4:48pm
Some great posts, everyone! ... John Harker! ...you, too! ...once I got past the "the 70's" & "the 'oh my God we are all gonna suffer!" & the earthquakes and tornadoes and all the things of this nature !!! Phew!

And, oh yeah ... I think we're gonna need to circle back to the discussion on the Official Maine State Food Policy of 80/20 by 20/20 just a bit later ...

HOWEVER, for now though, would you kindly have a look at my earlier response to Lisa's original post? I have reposted it, again, here, for your convenience. I'd like to know your thoughts about the specific numbers & general framework I'm using. It's a only a start & it's only a rough sketch, but, I think this kind of simple arithmetic approach is one way to begin to get at the kind of question you ended your last post with. Thanks!


My earlier response to Lisa's original post:

Lisa, as you know from, "A Farm for the Future", a conventional farm can feed 5 people per acre, while "edible forest gardening" can feed twice as much ( 10 people per acre ) with NO fossil fuel!

Therefore, the answer to your question reduces to elementary arithmetic! ...which is refreshingly simple!

MAINE (our state): has

POPULATION: 1,274,923
FARMS: 7,196
TOTAL ACRES (land): 19,589,136
ACRES CULTIVATED: 1,369,768
ACRES NEEDED (conv): 254,985
ACRES NEEDED (efg): 127,492


SO! Maine has plenty of land available and already produces enough food to feed itself.

Therefore, Maine provides at least one example of a state that can feed itself.

However, this is rare. But, with careful planning & concerted effort, we submit: most states probably could feed themselves.

http://sites.google.com/site/mainefoodsystem/me-food-sys-by-the-num...


http://www.mainefood.us
Comment by John Harker on September 18, 2009 at 10:22am
Good Morning,
I was invited to come into this group and respond and I will. While the Cornell study and many other studies on the energy supply are interesting and very prophetic, just anyones gut, common sense, is that over time human life, population distribution etc will change depending on available jobs, energy, food availability, and MOST importantly, on population growth. This has been known since the 70's when I was a younger college student and this same debate started raising it's ugly head just like now, same concerns, same arguments, same conclusions. The power of today's computers can model anything, but the end result is the same......the "oh my God we are all gonna suffer!" becasue we cannot feed ourselves" statements of defeat again rears its head in yet another generation.

So, that is PRECISELY why I maintain that we need to forgo the discussion of whether Maine can feed itself, forget about the 80% of its calories by 2020....cause it ain't gonna happen and it is a meaningless goal, unless you want to drastically change our food eating habits in 10 years, depopulate the state back into the 1800's, and do severe land redistribution.....However, I suppose if we were a dictatorial and socialist state and country that could be done quite easily...and painfully for many.

Ok, back to reality. What we DO need to focus on is setting goals and priorities to help us live better today (feed as many as are here now and set better role modeling for the future) and plan for tomorrow (to help future generations to meet the challenges of the future as much as we can). I think our parents tried the best they could to help us, etc......Now, where can we make a difference in the current time we are in?.......

In the food production arena, we (the nations with resources) have come a long ways with development of better food production and distribution technologies. But that happened because of setting clear goals to help develop 1) a smart, educated youth, 2) support of research, 3) encouragement of entrepreneurship and 4) support for a free individual in a free society.

So, if you agree with that last statement, then we need to:

1) have a top notch educational system that fosters getting our kids smarter and engaged in research. We need to keep educating the younger generation on what worked well back before oil, preserving that knowledge base so that we can retrieve it when needed, AND getting the younger generation to get smarter at how to use the new tools (genetic engineering, bioengineering, computer applications, nanotechnology) that will help with developing more sustainable solutions for energy conservation and agricultural practices for a different future than our own.

2) support research at all levels and fund HIGH priority stuff such as, continuing research on ways to use energy more efficiently in agricultural production ( not just bigger is better, but small, innovative equipment to improve smaller scale efficiencies), improve biological pest control research and applications, research and understand and develop new technologies to improve soil health, yields and nutritional quality, varieties to withstand the environmental challenges. We have come a long way in this arena, but it takes time, and setting PRIORITIES.

3) Spur entrepreneurship and economic risk-taking. This is woefully lacking in our school systems, and in the imposition of government through regulation and control.

Lastly, the current public does need to change behaviors in order to not squander the resource we have. But THAT is hard. In a free society it does not come by Government edict, but in education, and families having good role models to emulate, and in job creation that helps families move up the economic ladder to be able to meet basic and other human needs as described in Maslow's theory of human motivation. So, who wants to tackle THAT one?!

I think an argument can be made to study integrated systems, permaculture, and more "organic" practices. BUT I contend we need not get caught up in the definitions, or thought that we have to go back to old ways. The old ways, if implemented today, would lead to only one conclusion......many have to die of starvation today so that someone else with the old way lifestyle (read - with the resources to command land, animals and forest) can live. In my opinion, I like to think that we could integrate the newer technologies with the best of the past practices that we found have worked well, and transform agriculture into a new, efficient production system that combines both.

Enough for now.
Comment by Maine Food System on September 13, 2009 at 4:39pm
Here is a great question & article link from Lisa Fernandes (of Portland Permaculture):

This is an interesting piece about some Cornell research regarding the state of New York's ability to feed itself (or not). Does anyone know if this level of research is happening in Maine?
http://tclocal.org/2009/06/can_new_york_state_feed_itself.html

& here's a reply we posted:

Good question!

Lisa, as you know from, "A Farm for the Future", a conventional farm can feed 5 people per acre, while "edible forest gardening" can feed twice as much ( 10 people per acre ) with NO fossil fuel!

Therefore, the answer to your question reduces to elementary arithmetic! ...which is refreshingly simple!

MAINE (our state): has

POPULATION: 1,274,923
FARMS: 7,196
TOTAL ACRES (land): 19,589,136
ACRES CULTIVATED: 1,369,768
ACRES NEEDED (conv): 254,985
ACRES NEEDED (efg): 127,492


SO! Maine has plenty of land available and already produces enough food to feed itself.

Therefore, Maine provides at least one example of a state that can feed itself.

However, this is rare. But, with careful planning & concerted effort, we submit: most states probably could feed themselves.

http://sites.google.com/site/mainefoodsystem/me-food-sys-by-the-num...

http://www.mainefood.us
Comment by Del Ketcham on April 22, 2009 at 7:10am
Hi Ed,

Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Thanks for the invite. I do want to be active with all that is happening in Maine. However, I will not be able to attend the taping but keep me informed about other events that are going on.

Thanks,

Del K
Comment by Maine Food System on April 14, 2009 at 10:19pm
MAINE FOOD SYSTEM:

past, present, and future



Maine farmers, gardeners & agricultural organizers discuss:

* Maine Food Policy Council … 80/20 by 2020? … 50/50 by 2050?

* farm & farmland protection, food security, community food assessments

* Maine Food Map Project of the Eat Local Foods Coalition (ELFC)

* Bringing Food Home by Merry Hall, forthcoming book about Maine food

* & much more about the rich fertile soil of Maine’s Food System!



Community Television Network

516 Congress Street, Portland

APRIL 23

DOORS OPEN: 5:00pm

AUDIENCE SEATED: 5:30pm (please arrive early)

TAPING STARTS: 6:00pm (‘til 7pm)

* Join us for a live-to-tape in-studio discussion (broadcast throughout MAY)

* Bring your questions & share your views (CH 4: TUE @ 2pm & SUN @ 12noon)



Invited GUESTS include:

* Karen Baldacci, Maine’s First Lady

* Russell Libby, Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Assn & ELFC

* Lisa Fernandes, Portland Permaculture Group

* Roger Doiron, Kitchen Gardeners International

* Merry Hall, author of Bringing Food Home

* John Harker, Maine Department of Agriculture

* Richard Rudolph, Rippling Waters Organic Farm & Saco River/Lakes Region Food Policy Council

* Bob St. Peter, Food for Maine’s Future

* Emily Graham, Portland Food Co-op

* Alix Hopkins, author of Groundswell: Stories of Saving Places, Finding Community

* Del Ketcham, author of a book on Food Security




FMI:

Ed Democracy

CELL: 899-9674

info@portlandcommons.com


Produced by:

PORTLAND COMMONS:

common issues for the common good

www.portlandcommons.com
Comment by Ed Democracy on March 23, 2009 at 4:38pm
Right on, John! Thanks!
Comment by John Harker on March 23, 2009 at 4:15pm
Hi Ed,

Except for the two quips about government in P 4 and 5, the rest is exactly how I feel. It interests me that the old verbage, the larger they get, the harder they fall, still holds true......I am very concerned about concentration at any level, including government. The next two big crashes, the food system, and the internet, may come, and for which we may not be able to do anything about. John Rockerfeller expounded on this quite well in his latest article when discussion the potential for a food bust.

HOWEVER, I also find it interesting that small, local banks weathered this latest storm quite well, so far......mmmmm nice example to follow.

So, all things considered, I like the type of local, private enterprise which has honesty, integrity, and efficiency in mind. I like local, minimalist government control, and I firmly believe that the 80/20 goal is not realistic nor even worth discussing. I want to get to the real brass tacks.....changing consumer behavior through education and economic motivation. That does not need a real huge change in the food system or a lofty food policy, just a real huge change in our educational system, and a slow viral change by groups of local trendsetters, early adopters, etc. Then , slowly, over time, the next generation will help to get us back on track.

So, I am in the game to discuss seriously, and will minimize my sarcastic quips, although I may interject some when called for just for the fun of it.
Comment by Ed Democracy on March 23, 2009 at 9:46am
John,

Thanks for the post! But, please! If we are going to start a vigorous & vibrant & open & honest conversation about our Maine food system, then we are going to have to all let fly & let people know what they really think! So I encourage you to come on out of your shell & tell us! Tell us what you really think, John!!!

Get Real, Get Maine! ;)

Thanks, John!

Ed
 

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