Over the past three years GrowSmart Maine has actively sought to build a ‘green/brown’ coalition, recognizing the link between our environment and our economy. The strength of the Maine Downtown Coalition, founded by GrowSmart Maine, is evident in the passage of the Communities for Maine’s Future Fund and the newly passed legislation that will preserve and extend the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. The Coalition has grown to include a number of ‘green’ organizations that recognize revitalizing downtowns contributes substantially to preservation of our green spaces.
It’s time now for GrowSmart Maine to formally bring together a coalition of those working with the built environment, the browns, and those committed to environmental conservation, the greens, to explore integrating landscape conservation and economic growth. We will draw from the Maine Downtown Coalition, environmental organizations across the state and those working within the natural resources sectors -- working waterfront, farming and forestry -- to protect natural resources and strengthen these vital businesses.
Over the course of the next year, GrowSmart Maine will convene stakeholders to discuss how the natural resource sectors in Maine contribute to Maine's quality of place and economy. With this broader perspective, GrowSmart Maine can better integrate the key issues for those who live and work on Maine's waterfront, farms, and forests into all of our work.
We will begin by bringing together people whose work lives and professions are integral to a specific resource, seeking the primary economic participants as well as those who provide the essential infrastructure. This would include suppliers and vendors, financial, education and training institutions and customers. We have already begun plans for a working waterfront gathering and plans are also in the preliminary stages for gatherings of those involved in sustainable agriculture and forestry.
The final step of this effort will be to convene key players from these first meetings into a broader conversation combining the three resources. Tourism and hospitality are integral stakeholders for Maine's natural resource sectors and will be included in the overall process.