Rep. Chellie Pingree comments

Here is a recent statement from Maine’s Rep. Chellie Pingree who has a farming background and is one of the good politicians encouraging local food production.

“As the full impacts of the coronavirus pandemic become evident, we clearly must increase the resiliency of our food system. Our short-term focus is keeping farms in business, but if we want to ensure long-term sustainability, we’ll use this as an opportunity.

Farming has always been unpredictable, but this crisis has exposed a fragility in distribution, and a lack of equity in both access and production. We’re seeing an increase in extreme culling coupled with widespread product shortages; a farm system that is largely dependent on H-2A workers; few protections for farm workers; and devastating crop waste.

The Trump administration asserts that the food supply chain is healthy, but I’m hearing differently from those on the ground. Food banks in my district are competing with retailers to purchase food, and struggling to get it into the state. This highlights the need for a more localized supply chain. In Maine, we’ve seen a consumer shift towards local food producers. These farms now have the opportunity to demonstrate their importance and the quality of their products to a group of people who may not have otherwise been customers.

In the end, I believe the coronavirus pandemic can encourage a more sustainable food supply via production and distribution incentives. This shift would offer greater access for consumers, and revenue for farms via outlets for direct-to-market sales like farmers’ markets and CSAs, while at the same time helping to provide more locally sourced products for traditional options such as supermarkets.”

— Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from Maine’s first district.