Local Foods

Healthy Communities of the Capital Area prioritizes increasing access to local foods as part of the community health improvement plan. Increasing access to local foods improves health and strengthens the economy, which is an indicator for improved health. As such, access to local foods has been identified as a priority by community members and the HCCA Board of Directors.

How does HCCA help increase access to local foods?

Reducing Wasted Food and Increasing Access to Fresh, Local Foods in Southern Kennebec County

Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, in partnership with the Kennebec Sheriff's Office Kennebec Restorative Community Harvest and with generous support from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation is developing a gleaning, food processing, and nutrition education program to rescue end of harvest food that would otherwise not be eaten, and giving it to those in need. In this unique partnership, low-risk, nonviolent trusties at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility can earn time off their sentences by participating in this community service project. Trusties will help glean crops at local farms. The food will then be distributed either directly to institutions (food banks, schools, other food distribution sites, etc.) or taken to the Kennebec County Correctional Facility for minimal processing before being distributed.

HCCA is recruiting farms and orchards now to participate.

Please contact Renee Page at r.page@hccame.org or 207.588.5020.

Community Food Councils

In 2013, with support from the Maine Network of Community Food Councils, HCCA conducted a local service area-wide food scan to determine sources of locally grown and produced foods (farms, farmers' markets, etc.) and potential access points to local foods (supermarkets, food pantries, schools, etc.). HCCA convened four local forums across southern Kennebec County to allow community members to participate in the scan and to gauge their interest in forming community food councils. As a result, two emerging food councils formed: one in the Winthrop area and the Capital Area Food Council in the Gardiner area. In 2016, the Capital Area Food Council found a new home with the Gardiner Food Co-op and Cafe. If you would like to become involved or learn more, contact Renee Page at r.page@hccame.org or 207-588-5020. Be sure to visit the Data & Resources page to learn more about food scans and community food councils and view HCCA's local foods scan report. Visit the Capital Area Food Council page on our website under Partners & Projects.

Food Hub Feasibility Study

In 2013, with support from the Broad Reach Foundation and in partnership with Western Kennebec Economic Development Alliance (WKEDA), HCCA worked with Dyer Associates to conduct a Food Hub Feasibility Study. This study determined whether or not establishing a food hub to serve southern Kennebec County makes sense. Dyer Associates conducted a supply and demand assessment to determine if local growers can and want to support a local food hub and if institutional buyers have the demand for local foods. As with many studies of this nature, the results posed more questions than answers. For a brief review of the results of this study, click here.