by Heather Retberg
On last Friday morning, Governor Paul LePage signed the food sovereignty bill into law.
“In the year of our Lord two thousand and seventeen,” begins the bill, “be it enacted by the people of the State of Maine as follows…”
The bill officially recognizes the authority of our towns to regulate our food systems by local ordinance when the sales are between individual farmers, food producers, and customers. It also offers into state law the first definition of ‘local food system’. What began in 2009 as an administrative language change that made our work illegal overnight, has now, at long last, been corrected. The rule of law is behind our labors once again! We have prevailed in defining ourselves and what we do in legal terms. And, further, the state of Maine recognizes that each of us in our towns, has the authority under home rule at town meeting, to decide for ourselves how our food needs are met. A very heartfelt thanks to all of you over this last session and over the years, for your words of encouragement and sustenance. Thanks also for contacting representatives, senators and the governor to protect the food system and the relationships around it that we have cultivated together over the years. It is a sweet time of celebration we are so pleased to share with all of you!
The full text of the soon to be chaptered law:
Please do the last thing, the best, most pleasant part of this whole process: write the governor one more time and express your thanks for his signature. Also, please thank your senator and representative for their efforts and votes, and help them know just how important this is outside of the halls of the statehouse.