Healthy Acadia to Host 2016 Washington County Food Summit
January 5, 2016

Farmers, fishermen, harvesters and food enthusiasts are invited to attend the second biennial Washington County Food Summit organized by Healthy Acadia’s Washington County Community Food Council. This full-day event provides a unique opportunity for people from our region and beyond who are interested in healthy, vibrant food systems to come together in order to network, address infrastructure gaps and share successes and challenges. By strengthening our food system, more producers and fishermen are able to sustain their businesses and more residents will have access to healthy food at affordable prices.

The keynote address, “Land and Sea: Connections in Our Food System,” will be provided by Amanda Beal, Maine Farmland Trust’s Research and Policy Fellow. Beal’s life-long interest in how we produce food began as a child growing up on her family's dairy farm in Maine, as well as on the coast of Casco Bay, where she has fond memories of digging for dinner alongside her grandfather in the clam flats during the summer, and warming the bench of his smelt shanty in winter. She completed the Agriculture, Food & Environment master's program at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and is now working toward her Ph.D. in the Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science program at the University of New Hampshire. Amanda is co-author of “A New England Food Vision: Healthy Food for All, Sustainable Farming and Fishing, Thriving Communities.”

Breakout session topics featuring panelists from Washington County and throughout Maine were chosen based on a community survey completed last fall. Topics will include: Maximizing Farm Productivity, Can It Be Both? Food Security as a Community or as a Business Model, To Market, To Market: Land and Sea, Wrapping It Up & Getting It There: Processing and Distribution, and Fisheries Diversification. A full agenda with detailed panelist information will be available at www.healthyacadia.org and through the online event registration.

Maine Farmland Trust will show their film Growing Local, and FoodCorps, a national AmeriCorps program, will do a presentation on their activities in Washington County and throughout Maine.

The Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) will offer 1:1 Business Counseling Sessions during the event. There is no charge for these sessions, however, pre-registration is required by emailing Tanya Rucosky, trucosky@sunrisecounty.org, or through our online EventBrite registration process by clicking on the 1:1 Business Consulting ticket. SCEC provides this service to qualified businesses at any time. Call their office at 255 0983 for more information.


Recipe to Market: Is it For Me? will also be offered free of charge by University of Maine's Cooperative Extension. Participants in this workshop will learn about licensing, how to prepare and package their food product safely, and how to access potential profits. They will discover some of the resources available to support them in business development and will be taught by Extension Staff including Louis Bassano, Dr. Beth Calder, Dr. James C. McConnon. Pre-registration for this workshop is required by clicking on the Recipe to Market Ticket at the online EventBrite registration site or by calling the Healthy Acadia office at 255-3741.
The Summit will take place from 8:30am-4pm in East Machias at Washington Academy’s Fine Arts building. A catered lunch will include vegetarian and meat/seafood entrees. There is no charge to attend, however a $5 donation to benefit local food pantries is suggested. For online registration, please go to Healthy Acadia’s website for a link to the Food Summit’s EventBrite registration that will open January 8. In the event of inclement weather, a cancellation notice will be announced on WLBZ by 5am on the day of the event. Snow Date is March 19.

The Washington County Food Summit is sponsored by Healthy Acadia’s Community Food Council with major funding provided by the Maine Community Foundation. Additional sponsors and partners include Downeast Salmon Federation, Maine Farmland Trust, Sunrise County Economic Council, and Washington County Council of Governments. For more information about the Washington County Community Food Council or to register for any of the day’s events by phone, contact Regina Grabrovac at Healthy Acadia’s Machias office, 255-3741, or at regina@healthyacadia.org.