Industry leaders say that agricultural land in the County isn’t being used to it’s full potential, And the findings of a recent survey say that the average Maine household prefers purchasing locally grown food over products from elsewhere. Those results were shared at NMDC today. News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos reports on the findings…
Aroostook Partnership for Progress President Robert Dorsey said, “If we do a better job of connecting our supply to the demand around the state, they will have more success for our local small farmers.”
It’s what industry leaders with the Maine Food Strategy initiative strive for; and Wednesday the results of a statewide consumer survey report were shared as a tool to facilitate development for under utilized land in the County.
Maine Food Strategy Co-Director Tanya Swain said, “We did the consumer survey report to conduct some research on consumer buying habits and preferences, so it’s really kind of based on information that talks about what people are looking for in food.”
According to survey results, 80 percent of respondents say they’d rather purchase Maine grown food over products from somewhere else.
” It’s a funded effort to look at a strategy for getting more locally grown food to Maine consumers, it’s healthier, it’s better for our economy,” said Dorsey.
But it’s also a challenge for County farmers to market, distribute, and transport their products to other parts of the state.
“They’re especially pronounced here just because of the distance from Aroostook County at the top of the state down to some of the markets in the Southern part of the state and New England. We’re definitely hearing that transportation is an issue I also understand that there’s some challenges just for people to break into certain markets and understanding how to do that,” said Swain.
The Aroostook Partnership for Progress hopes to break those barriers through creating connections and forming a system with partners across the state. And sharing survey data based on close to 600 Maine households is a step in that direction.
For anyone that is interested in the survey information and Maine Food Strategy, go to mainefoodstrategy.org