Staying Connected to the Maine Food System as we Isolate
MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair 2020 Art
To me, August always signals the slow descent from summer days to chilly fall nights. It also indicates the peak of the growing season here in our State. I typically find myself filling up on local summer produce at BBQs while simultaneously looking forward to the cozy, hearty fall meals around the corner at backyard bonfires. This August is, of course, a little different. Our farmers are still growing, seasons are still changing, but the pandemic seems to be sticking around.
In an effort to still feel connected and supportive of our local food economy, here are some ways I’ve engaged during this time.
Listening to Femidish:
Femidish launched just this year and is a podcast hosted by two foodie women Mainers - Hope and Sandy. The podcast aims to “...amplify womxn’s voices by exploring the infinite ways they interact with food, and tell stories that challenge the idea that food is unimportant work until there are profits or fame to be had.” They’ve just wrapped up their incredible first season with topics ranging from life as a chef and mom under quarantine to indigenous (Penobscot) culture and food. Every episode is filled with thoughtfulness and interesting viewpoints. While its hard to pick a favorite, I really enjoyed their conversation with culinary archaeologist Dr. Mennat-Allah El Dorry, who dives into the role of women in Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egypt isn’t exactly local to us Mainers but this podcast helps bring a worldview to local eaters.
UMaine Extension Directory and the Maine Food Atlas
These two wonderful resources, a directory by University of Maine Extension and the Atlas created in partnership between the Center for Community GIS, Maine Network of Community Food Councils, and the Maine Food Strategy have made it easy to identify local food outlets and offerings. With the Atlas encompassing organizations, storage facilities, processors, and more, it is easy to get lost exploring the incredible resources that we have here in Maine for our local food economy.
Cooking up Maine Meals
June 16, 2020 marked the release of the Maine Bicentennial Cookbook . This book is full of recipes that range from fiddlehead cake from Aroostook County to Congolese Makayabu (Salt Fish) from New Mainers in Portland. Aimed at exploring indigenous foodways, hearty Yankee cuisine, community cookbook classics, and favorite dishes of new Mainers, this book truly captures the cultural and culinary traditions (new and old) of our state in 2020. If you still need convincing, you can see a list of recipes from the book here. Better yet, $2 from each copy sold goes to supporting ending hunger in our state.
P.S. - Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative is working with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine on a BikeMaine cookbook, out soon.
Preparing for Common Ground 2020!
Maine Organic Farmers’ Associations’ well loved annual event is virtual this year. MOFGA is currently working hard to bring workshops, speakers, resources, and merchandise to your home this year. Slated to happen September 25, 26, and 27, you can check here for details as they roll out. This year more than ever, it is important to celebrate and support rural vitality. If you are interested in volunteering for the virtual fair, keep an eye here.
This is only a short collection of ways to stay connected through food during an unusual summer season. What are ways you’ve stayed connected to our local food system during the pandemic? What has been an unexpected joy during this time? Reach out to us on our Facebook or Instagram pages and we will include your comments in our next newsletter!