Right to Food: Maine’s New Constitutional Amendment
Friday, November 5, 2021
Maine’s New Agricultural Constitutional Amendment
  • Earlier this week Maine voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution. ‘Right to Food’ is a statewide measure that was placed on the ballot by the Maine Legislature and gives Maine residents an unalienable right to grow, raise, produce, and consume food of their choice. Under this amendment, Maine residents may create their own food supply, whether statewide or in silos. However, it does not impact food assistance programs, and references to food processing and preparation that would have conflicted with state and federal laws regarding the licensing and inspection of food were removed from the measure.

  • Maine has been at the forefront of the food sovereignty movement, passing its food sovereign laws under the Maine Food Sovereignty Act in 2007, which was amended in 2017.  The vision behind Maine’s food laws is to create a food system where producers have control over how their food is grown, sold, and distributed. The latest constitutional amendment allows Maine residents to have more control over their food supply by allowing residents to save and exchange seeds, as well as to produce, consume, and sell their own food.

  • While the ‘Right to Food’ amendment provides more individual control over food supply and sourcing, there are concerns over the potential food safety and environmental risks that the new amendment poses. A number of organizations and associations opposed the bill on this ground, alleging that such control of the food supply would provide a means of circumventing existing food safety standards and regulations.  Ultimately, court challenges may significantly impact the scope of the amendment.

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