Friday, June 5, 2009

Local Food Movement, Apprenticeship, and young people

I have written a couple of blog posts about the local food movement here in Maine and another article caught my eye this morning. I subscribe to the daily digest and there was an article from the Portland Press Herald by Beth Quimby titled, "College grads flock to farms". She went on to write about how "230 people applied for positions at the 85 farms that participate" in a program where the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association links apprentices with farmers. What a great program to get people interested and trained in a very important and growing sector of Maine's economy.

As the article states, these applicants come from across the nation and right here in Maine to learn about a great way of life. These apprentices actually live rent free and make stipends of between $300 and $800 a month. With the local food movement being in the forefront of the media and several popular books (i.e., Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver), I think this sector will grow to even greater heights (no pun intended). I know my town of Poland is in the midst of developing a local farmer's market for this summer and many other new markets are opening across Maine. I say, let's support this movement as much as we can. As I have written before in this blog, I believe this movement and the agriculture sector are critical to Maine's economic and workforce development for four reasons; the development of regional economies that will make Maine stronger, the industry has a very strong apprenticeship model that can be borrowed from, the independence and safety of our food system, and our own personal health.

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