Maine Farm to Institution Summit 2018
Maine Farm to Institution and the Maine Farm to School Network hosted the 2018 Maine Farm to Institution Summit in Belfast’s UMaine Hutchinson Center on February 9, 2018, drawing over 200 attendees. This was a new initiative for MEFTI and MFSN; in previous years, the Maine Farm to School Network took the lead on facilitating similar conferences that focused solely on farm to school. In order to reflect a broader vision of farm to institution efforts across the state and to ease the financial/organizational burden on the volunteer-led farm to school network, MEFTI joined with MFSN to organize the Summit, and to expand the program and outreach into additional sectors such as healthcare, colleges & universities, and prisons. See more photos from the event, taken by FINE Communications Coordinator Kaitlin Haskins, on our Photos page.
2016 Regional gathering - Fort KenT
MEFTI worked with partners in different geographic areas of the state in 2015-2016 in order to organize three events focused on farm to institution. On March 9, 2016 an event was organized in Northern Aroostook County at the University of Maine campus in Fort Kent that brought together 20 stakeholders. The focus was on bringing institutional administrators, food service directors, and community advocates from Northern Aroostook together in order to better understand buyer needs and perspectives.
The event was an opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned in farm to school, farm to hospital, and/or farm to college in Maine; and gave Northern Aroostook food service professionals, institutional administrators, educators, and advocates a chance to provide their perspective and talk about their interest in this topic.
2016 Regional Gathering - Ellsworth
MEFTI worked with partners in different geographic areas of the state in 2016 in order to organize three events focused on farm to institution. On June 15, 2016 MEFTI partnered with Healthy Acadia on an event at the Ellsworth City Hall that brought 10-15 stakeholders together - primarily farmers and food service directors from the area.
Information and success stories were shared with participants related to farm to institution, and then farmers and food service directors were asked to introduce themselves and talk about their experience and either what they were interested to purchase or what crops they had available. Following that, there was a brainstorming session where participants were asked to weigh in about what they saw as the biggest challenges/needs and also what they saw as the biggest opportunities moving forward.
2016 Regional Gathering - Standish
MEFTI worked with partners in different geographic areas of the state in 2016 in order to organize three events focused on farm to institution. On May 19, 2016 MEFTI held an event at St. Joseph's College of Maine that brought 33 stakeholders together.
Information and success stories were shared with participants related to farm to institution, and then attendees chose between three different breakout sessions that were offered:
- Local Foods Marketing including Harvest of the Month
- Aggregation and Distribution
- Jumping Hurdles: Food Safety, Pricing & Consistency
Following this attendees brainstormed on next steps.