By Ben Smith, GSM Board member, North Star Planning
GrowSmart Maine’s Annual Summit is coming up on October 22, and there are so many reasons to make room on your calendar to attend. Register now.
The theme of this year’s Summit is Flexing the Power of Home Rule: A Path Toward Regional Solutions. The topic of home rule has not been wrestled with at a policy level for many years in Maine. Thinking about how to balance home rule and the need for regional planning and action will be critical as we work toward economic recovery from COVID-19 and face the challenges of transforming our energy systems in the face of climate change.
Colin Woodard, well-known author and journalist, and Anthony Flint, writer and scholar at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, will bring new perspectives to these big issues facing Maine. Together, I expect they will explore new ways to think of the work in front of us, and provide ideas from other places and contexts to make meaningful change in Maine. This could be one of the best sets of keynote speakers GrowSmart Maine has brought to a Summit.
The format of this event will break new ground as well. It will be a hybrid in-person and online event. Attendees will have the chance to attend online, or with colleagues at several small-group satellite locations around the state that will be connected to the conference HQ in Biddeford. More than just a group viewing opportunity, these satellite locations will allow regional conversations around applying concepts and approaches to relevant issues.
Bringing new ideas and perspectives to challenges both old and new reminds me of a few lines from T.S. Eliot, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” GrowSmart Maine remains committed to convening conversations about the place we know and love, looking at challenges from new angles, and making sure Maine is ready for the future.