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REVAMPING + RENOVATING: Center construction.
GE Free Maine, a nonprofit coalition rallying against genetically engineered food, is one of a three agro-activist groups working to create a Maine Center for Food Sovereignty. The center will be located about 100 miles north of Portland, on 60 acres of farmland near the Mount View schools in Thorndike. Rob Fish, an organizer for GE Free Maine, says the center will be a hub for activism and education encouraging a sustainable local food economy under the somewhat vague principles of food sovereignty.

“We want to look at the whole system of how we produce food in the state,” explains Fish, “and make sure that there aren’t shortages and farmers are in control of where their food’s going, how it’s being produced, and aren’t dependent on chemical companies or seeds that’s patented and you have to order each year from out of state.”

The Indonesian group La Via Campesina started the food sovereignty movement in 1996 to supplement the Food Security movement, which focuses on ensuring all people are adequately fed. Food sovereignty stresses food security, but also encourages rural revitalization through an agricultural economy based on local produce, local control, and organic food.

GE Free Maine, which has 2500 members around the state, is building the center with the Independent Food Project and the Winter Cache Project, two other Maine-based food advocacy groups. The center will be located in a log home that was donated to GE Free Maine. Throughout September and into mid-October, GE Free Maine will host weekend “work parties” to outfit the center. Volunteers camp for the weekend, eat potluck meals, and participate in all kinds of crucial dirty work like building composting toilets and garden beds.

During the winter, Fish says members of the three agro-groups will hold “listening sessions” around the state to help define Maine’s version of food sovereignty and how specifically the center will advocate to fill Maine bellies with Maine produce. For more on volunteering to build the center, check out

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