Food Series: Maine Right to Food: The Road Ahead with Heather Retberg

“Down where we are, food is used as a political weapon. But if you have a pig in your backyard, if you have some vegetables in your garden, you can feed yourself and your family, and nobody can push you around.”

~ Fannie Lou Hamer, cited by Monica White in Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement

By Pete Kennedy

The state motto for Maine is Dirigo, meaning “I lead.” In the area of food rights, Maine has been doing that for the rest of the nation. On November 2, 2021, its people voted to enshrine a Right to Food amendment in the state constitution despite powerful national opposition. Maine is the first state to protect freedom of food choice in its constitution.

The amendment reads:

“All 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.”

With the conventional food system’s lack of quality, transparency, and reliability—and the determination of our ruling establishment to substitute synthetic for real food in our diets—now is the time to establish a basic fundamental right in written law.

Joining us on the Solari Food Series this week is Heather Retberg, the co-author of the amendment and the face of the Maine food sovereignty movement. Heather and her husband Phil own and operate Quill’s End Farm, a diversified farm in Penobscot providing nutrient-dense meat and dairy products to their grateful patrons. In this audiocast, we talk about the reasons for the amendment, why it passed, the opposition to the amendment, and next steps for building on the November 2nd success in Maine and elsewhere in the U.S., including what you can do to bring a similar resolution before the legislature in your state.

In Money & Markets this week, Catherine and John Titus will cover the latest events and market developments. E-mail your questions for Ask Catherine or post at the Money & Markets commentary here.

Please join us Thursday, March 24, for an essential discussion with Heather Retberg about food freedom.

Talk to you Thursday!

Related Reading:

Maine Legislature (2015–2016): legislative bill summary for LD 783

“Real vs Synthetic Food in Maine” by Pete Kennedy

“MAINE Public Hearings Right to Food” (public hearing on LD 783 before the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in the Maine Legislature on April 30, 2015; the hearing launched the process toward passage of the Maine Right to Food constitutional amendment)

Related Solari Report:

Solari Food Series: Food Sovereignty One Town at a Time with Heather Retberg

Other Resources:

Food for Maine’s Future

Right to Food for Maine

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Weston A. Price Foundation