AUGUSTA—Legislation from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to bolster hunger relief efforts and support local farms, was signed into law on Friday. The bill – LD 786, “An Act To Reduce Hunger and Promote Maine Agriculture” – would renew the Mainers Feeding Mainers, which funds a partnership between local farms and food banks to reduce food insecurity.
“The Mainers Feeding Mainers program presents a great opportunity to reduce hunger while supporting our local farms and food producers,” said President Jackson. “It exemplifies how when Mainers come together, we can tackle some of our most pressing challenges. I’m grateful that the governor has signed this bill into law and look forward to seeing this program and our local farms continue to thrive.”
The legislation directs the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry to contract with a nonprofit, whose mission includes reducing food insecurity, in a statewide hunger relief effort. The amended bill allocates $1 million in funding to provide local grants, support the procurement of local foods and pay for operation and distribution expenses.
Food insecurity is detrimental to the health and well-being of all Mainers, especially children and seniors. While 14 percent of Maine households are considered food insecure, one in five children and about one in four seniors do not have adequate access to nutritious food.
LD 786 received unanimous support in the Legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, with hunger advocates and local farmers testifying in support of the program. The new law will take effect Thursday, September 19.