A proposal for Litchfield to join the ranks of communities in Maine that have declared themselves food sovereign will go before town voters at a Feb. 25 special town meeting.

The town’s proposed Food Sovereignty Ordinance would allow town residents to buy food and food products made in Litchfield in direct-to-consumer sales that don’t require oversight from state or federal regulators.

For farmers like Davyd Collinson, it’s a welcome move.

“I think it gives us the opportunity to sell more locally and in an easier manner,” said Collinson, who owns Collinson Farms in Litchfield.

Collinson’s farm’s main business is raising sheep for meat, and in the past, it has also grown vegetables.

“We have toyed with the idea of producing cheese for a long time now, but it takes money to get it going,” he said.

If Litchfield’s Food Sovereignty Ordinance passes, he said, it would be a wonderful option to have the independence to sell locally.

The Maine State Legislature made it possible for people to sell the food products they make directly to neighbors at the farm or in consumers’ homes without going through a federal or state inspection process in 2017.

In November, Augusta joined the other communities in Maine with a food sovereignty law. At that time, the number of municipalities declaring themselves food sovereign was closing in on 50. In Kennebec County, Mount Vernon has also designated itself as food sovereign.

Litchfield Selectman Mark Russell said some town residents have approached elected officials about food sovereignty and had circulated a petition signaling the interest of about 70 people.

“It wasn’t an official petition,” Russell said. “There weren’t enough signatures to get it on the ballot.”

Even so, there was enough interest to consider scheduling a special town meeting.

Litchfield’s annual Town Meeting is held in June, he said. The special town meeting was scheduled for the end of February to hold the vote before this year’s spring lambing and kidding season starts.

“That’s when the bulk of the goat’s milk production takes place,” he said. “If there’s any time to do it, it’s now.”

Russell said the warrant  will also include a second article with a request for authorization to spend $10,000 on repairs to the Litchfield Academy building.

“We found out the fire pulls are inoperative and out of date,” he said. “And you can’t hear any fire alarms upstairs.”

The building, which is about 174  years old, houses the senior center and is where the Tacoma Lakes Association holds its meetings. The community closet is located on its second floor.

Russell said the town secured an estimate for repairs that came in at about $10,000.

The special town meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., Monday at the Litchfield Central Fire Station.

 

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632
[email protected]
Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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