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– “How a Maine Food Co-op Could Push Local Food to the Next Level”
“National efforts are afoot, however, to develop mass appetites for better-tasting and nutritious food grown locally, and these efforts are starting to alter the face of food production in the United States.
A misconception about cooperatives is that they can’t scale up to meet demands from large orders.
One of the most dramatic possibilities for large-scale change in food production is being contemplated in Maine, where the Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative is bidding against Sodexo (based in Paris) and Aramark (based in Philadelphia) in an effort to win a $12.5 million, five-year contract to operate food procurement and service operations at seven of the eight University of Maine campuses. The Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative – potentially the country’s first farm-to-institution food service cooperative – wants to offer locally sourced food for the university community. The cooperative and the two mega-corporations submitted their bids for the contract in early December.”
Cooperative Food Production
“What makes co-ops unique within the arena of food production? Externally, co-ops appear similar to conventional businesses: They have a storefront, a brand and employees, and they sell a product. What’s different is what’s going on inside.
The stakeholders are local. They’re connected to the business and the community: They go to school there, live there or work there. They’re users who are deeply invested in the process beyond the motive of making money.
Jonah Fertig, a Maine-based specialist in cooperative ventures, says a misconception about cooperatives is that they can’t scale up to meet demands from large orders, like those that would come from the seven UMaine campuses. However, Marada Cook, president of Crown O’Maine Organic Cooperative, believes the Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative will fill orders while also providing an economic boost to producers,” by Xavi Macias, Truthout | News Analysis.
– Food Sovereignty Offers Possible Path Toward Climate Justice
“La Via Campesina means ‘the peasant’s way.’ Founded in 1993, this coalition of 150 organizations represents more than 200 million small-scale, indigenous and migrant farmers. Active in more than 70 countries, it campaigns to defend farmer’s rights and our food system.
For Via Campesina spokesperson Adam Payne, this means a constant struggle against industrial agriculture. Far from being a nation removed from the impact of a changing climate, he described how British farmers have been affected by hotter summers, wetter winters, droughts and floods.
‘The industrial food system’s failed us in every way,’ he said. ‘It’s brought more hunger, more obesity, land grabs forcing small farmers off the land, forcing us to compete in markets dominated by free trade agreements, and all while producing 50 per cent of global emissions,” by Marienna Pope-Weidemann, New Internationalist Blog.
Blogger Klein is a Truthout subscriber and contributor.