This post was originally published on Farm to Institution New England's blog.
Encourage Chancellor Page to Support Maine Food for UMaine System Recommendations
Opportunities like this one don’t come around very often.
In the next two weeks, the University of Maine system will finalize language for its request for proposal (RFP) for a new food contract. Their current ten-year, $12.5 million annual contract with Aramark will expire next Spring.
Maine’s local foods movement has grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade, and the UMaine system has a tremendous opportunity in its upcoming food contract to support Maine’s local and organic farmers.
Will you send a note to the Chancellor of the UMaine System in support of a commitment to local and real food in their food contract?
Health Care Without Harm is a proud participant in the “Maine Food for the UMaine System” project, which is a coalition of more than 1,500 students and members of the UMaine System community, 170 farmers and producers, and 20 organizations.
We’ve put together a terrific set of recommendations for the UMaine system that lay out a clear path to local and sustainable dining. You can read about our recommendations in the news in this Portland Press Herald story, this Bangor Daily News story, and this MPBN story.
Earlier this week, Chancellor James Page and President of the Board of Trustees Sam Collins both indicated their support for including local food in the upcoming contract. This is good—but where the rubber hits the road is RFP language, which is being finalized right now.
Send a note today to Chancellor Page voicing your support of the UMaine system making a commitment to local and real food.
The future of farming in Maine is bright. The number of farms is increasing, and the average age of our farmer is declining, bucking national trends on both fronts. But a bright future is not guaranteed.
When large institutions like the UMaine system make a quantitative commitment to purchasing local and sustainable food, and a commitment to partnering with producers, it can be a game-changer in Maine’s food economy.
This is our public university system. This is an incredible opportunity. The leadership of the UMaine system needs to hear from as many Mainers as possible.
Together, we can make this happen!
Riley Neugebauer is the Farm to College Manager for Farm to Institution New England.