News Feature

Penobscot
Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 21, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, June 21, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, June 21, 2018
Penobscot farmer recognized by national coalition

Heather Retberg

Heather Retberg, left, with Niamh Dickens and Caroline Retberg visit the goat pen at Quill’s End Farm during a tour. Retberg was recently honored by The National Health Freedom Coalition in their annual Health Freedom Leadership Awards.

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The National Health Freedom Coalition has awarded Heather Retberg and Betsy Garrold one of their annual Health Freedom Leadership Awards, according to a news release from the coalition.

In conferring this honor, the coalition stated it was “For Leadership in passing into law Maine LD 725, titled An Act to Recognize Local Control Regarding Food systems. With the passage of LD 725, which states that ‘a municipal government may regulate by ordinance local food systems, and the state shall recognize such ordinances,’ Maine became the second state in the nation to allow consumers to buy directly from farmers and food producers regardless of the state and federal licensing and inspections that would likely otherwise apply.”

Speaking from her farm in Penobscot, Retberg said: “I’m surprised and honored by the National Health Freedom Coalition Award for our efforts in Maine. On June 16, we celebrated the one year anniversary of the governor signing the Maine Food Sovereignty Act (MFSA) into law. It is a beautiful coincidence that we received this award so close to the celebration of that date. Last year, at that time, 20 towns had adopted ordinances to exert local control over their food exchanges. Just one year later, Maine has 40 towns that have adopted local rules for local food! The passage of the MFSA has opened the doors for communities to enact self-determination over our livelihoods and our health by enacting local laws to determine how our food needs are met. I am most grateful to the National Health Freedom Coalition for their recognition of the work of so many people all across the state of Maine and thankful to them for shining their national light on our push toward greater food sovereignty—may it continue to spread!”

Local Food RULES and Food for Maine’s Future will continue to assist any citizen who wishes to seek passage of the ordinance in their own towns. Contact them at localfoodrules.org or via Facebook at the Food for Maine’s Future page.