Maine Food for the UMaine System is a coalition made up of organizations and individuals who are working to build a stronger and more sustainable, fair and resilient food system in Maine. The steering committee organizations are Farm to Institution New England, Maine Farmland Trust, Real Food Challenge, and Environment Maine.
The Maine Food for UMaine project aims to (1) Assist the hardworking farmers of Maine in building profitable, consistent markets, and (2) Help ensure that the next generation of Mainers eat well and stay healthy. Benefits will be seen by Maine students, farmers and communities.
September 1, 2015: UMaine System’s ‘Local’ Requirement in Food Service RFP a Great First Step
Our Maine Food for the UMaine System project was featured in Modern Farmer, the Boston Globe, the Portland Press Herald Online (twice!), Maine Insights, MPBN NEWS and Bangor Daily News state and opinion columns.
In June 2015, we released our recommendations to the University of Maine System for its upcoming food contract, backed by more than 150 Maine producers, 50 individuals and organizations, and 1,500 students and University of Maine System community members.
The University of Maine System will put out a request for proposals (RFP) for a new food service vendor contract this coming month and accept proposals from vendors in late fall of 2015. Its most recent contract, which will come to a close at the end of the 2015-16 academic year, was a ten-year, $12.5 million annual contract with the food service corporation Aramark. The current contract, and likely the next one, apply to all of the campuses except for the main campus in Orono, which operates its own food service.
The recommendations by the “Maine Food for the UMaine System” coalition, submitted to the UMS Office of Strategic Procurement and the Food Service Request for Proposal Committee, set four high-priority recommendations:
- A quantitative commitment to 20% Maine Food and 20% ‘Real Food’ by 2020
- The establishment of a UMS Food Working Group
- Transparent tracking and metrics; and
- A commitment to a supply chain partnership with Maine producers.
The recommendations also detail suggestions for sustainability expectations, equity and diversity, menu planning, and education and marketing.
For more information about the collaborative Maine Food for UMaine project, contact FINE's farm to college project manager, Riley Neugebauer, at email@example.com.