GrowSmart Maine has received a $25,000 grant from The Old Bug Light Charitable Fund to update their web site and communications software and to expand its ReEnvisioning the Highway Strip project to include a demonstration site.
GSM supports this legislation because, if improvements can be made in this area of regulation, we will be making great strides in value-added processing for Maine farmers. This is key to the viability of our farms across the state. Demand for local meats and poultry is strong and growing, and this line of products can be profitable for farmers.
This bill brings farms stands to the same standard required of vendors at farmers’ markets. People assume they are buying from local farmers, and make the extra effort to shop at both farmers’ markets and farm stands for this reason. While the quality of the product may be evident at the point of sale, the origin is not. Disclosure of the origin of products offered for sale ensures the credibility of all farm stands, allowing customers to be confident that they are indeed supporting Maine’s farmers when they buy at a farm stand.
In particular, GSM strongly supports the directive to the Department of Agriculture to pursue ways of reducing the regulatory barriers to small scale food production in Maine. We realize that the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources is, in many instances, accountable to the USDA, and in this process we want to ensure that the state agriculture department’s authority to oversee and enforce federal regulations is not put at risk.
In short, we strongly support the more efficient use of existing resources to promote smart growth transportation policies and programs which reduce wear and tear and our existing highways, reduce commuting costs and promote alternative modes of transportation.
As we seek efficiency in government, outlined in the recently published study “Reinventing Maine Government”, which was commissioned by GrowSmart Maine, the focus must be on effective outcomes; i.e. results. While the variety of resources available may seem overwhelming at first glance, it is important to note that a coordinated effort already exists among the different economic development tools available.
As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. Based on my experiences as a farmer and a former legislator that served on the Agriculture, Forestry & Conservation and the Business, Research & Economic Development committees, in addition to several Joint Select Committees, I believe this bill fits that description.
Another addition to our list of bills we’re working on…
Because this tax credit is most often used within our downtowns, as these buildings are rehabilitated for reuse, developers tie in to existing sewer, water, and utilities, along with sidewalks, roads, and public transit. These projects, made possible by this tax credit, lead to the very efficient use of public resources.
When Maine municipalities prepare their comprehensive plan, citizens are laying the foundation needed to chart their own future by thinking through the assets and identifying challenges in their community.
By amending the growth management program comprehensive plan elements to include transit services in the list of existing transportation systems, Representative Cotta’s bill will allow a town or city to evaluate transportation more broadly than currently provided in the comprehensive plan process.