Franklin Countys First News

Greater Franklin Food Council presents Growing Roots

Growing Roots will look at the greater issue of food in the region through a series of speakers, activities, discussion and screenings.

FARMINGTON - A new focus on food systems in greater Franklin County has come together in the form of the Greater Franklin Food Council - a team dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the food scene in the area.

"We look at all areas of food, including, but not limited to, food insecurity," United Way of the Tri-Valley Area Director Lisa Laflin said.

The team brings together a mixed crowd of food enthusiasts, including restaurant owners, farmers and legislators among others. Together they bring a diverse perspective to the issue- a huge asset in Laflin's perspective.

After a year of gathering to "get the lay of the land," the council has organized the first annual Growing Roots event completely focused on the subject. Growing Roots: A week-long exploration and celebration of community and food in Greater Franklin County, aims to address four areas of the local food scene. Through documentary screenings, discussion, and keynote speakers the week will look at: food insecurity, educational opportunities/local resources, farmers/food producers and policy/advocacy.

"We're really hoping to get some concrete action items from the discussions. We want to get more people involved to have a deeper bench to work with on these issues," Laflin said.

Schedule of events are as follows. All activities are free and open to the public.

April 29, 11:45 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Catholic Parish Food Summit
St. Joseph Table* and lunch 11:45 am
followed by Catholic Parish Food Summit 1:00-3:00 pm
St. Joseph Catholic Church Parish Hall, 133 Middle Street, Farmington

*St. Joseph Table is a feast of gratitude and an opportunity for generosity with others.  All are welcome.

More than 50 people will gather from Catholic churches in the region to share their food-related ministries, affirm what people are doing and explore ways to work more collaboratively to feed the hungry.

May 2, 3:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Greater Franklin Food Summit
West Farmington Grange,124 Bridge Street, West Farmington

3:30 p.m. Welcome
Lisa Laflin, Executive Director, United Way of the Tri-Valley and
Ellen Thorne, Program Coordinator, Healthy Community Coalition

3:40 p.m. What is a Food System?
Dave Fuller, Agriculture and Non-Timber Forest Products Professional
Franklin County Cooperative Extension

3:50 p.m. Keynote Speaker
Lynne Holland, Community Education Assistant
Androscoggin and Sagadahoc County Cooperative Extension
Engaging our local food producers in the effort to combat local food insecurity

4:15 p.m. Conversations
Food Insecurity
Focus: How can we use local food in addressing food insecurity in Franklin County?

Policy and Advocacy:
Focus: Putting ideas into action - Regional Food Councils’ successes and state-wide perspectives – what has worked?

Education and Local Resources
Focus: To make our community more resilient, we should ensure people know about nutrition, education, and advocacy resources. What opportunities are there to spread the word and collaborate?

Farmers and Food Producers
Focus: What do farmers and food producers need from our community to be successful?

5:15 p.m. Conversation Report Outs
Every group has five minutes to report on highlights from the conversation and offer 1-2 action items that will be discussed at future Greater Franklin Food Council Meetings.

5:35 p.m. Food Council Wrap Up - Molly Clark, Healthy Community Coalition
Next steps, where do we go from here? Promotion of events to come.

5:45 p.m. Networking and Local Food
Enjoy Marble Family Farms “Hotties” and locally sourced greens.

Resources will be shared throughout the evening at resource tables.
Parking is available at the Whistle Stop Trailhead parking lot and along the street in front of the Grange.

May 4, 6:00 pm
Movie: Just Eat It!
Thomas Auditorium, Preble Hall, University of Maine Farmington
We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs. So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash? Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping and survive only on discarded food. What they find is truly shocking.

Welcome: Jeremy Read

Closing remarks: What does food waste look like in Maine?: Todd Martin, Natural Resources Council of Maine; and Sustainable Campus Coalition representatives

Sponsored by the Natural Resources Council of Maine and UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition.

Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Maine Fiddlehead Festival
Emery Community Arts Center, University of Maine Farmington

The Maine Fiddlehead Festival is growing! Started in 2012, more and more people are coming to learn about responsible harvesting and safe preparation of fiddlehead ferns, meet local farmers and food vendors, learn things like homesteading skills, weaving, and goat raising at various “Tent Talks’, antique tractors, supervised children’s activities, the farmer’s market and more.

The Greater Franklin Food Council is an expansive network of individuals and organizations interested in promoting healthy food systems. It was established after the first Food Summit was convened in 2017. Organizers include the Healthy Community Coalition; United Way of the Tri-Valley Area; mainefoodatlas.org; Rustic Roots Farm; Catholic Charities SEARCH program; and the Care and Share Food Closet. Funding for Growing Roots is provided by the Natural Resources Council of Maine and The Maine Network of Food Councils.

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