May 12, 2023
It’s week one of my internship with Maine Foodscapes and though I’ve been doing some planning with key stakeholders for a few months now, it feels good to be done with school for the summer and really be able to dive in. I’ve been working in food production since 2007 when I graduated from culinary school so this is the first time in 16 years that I haven’t been mentally prepping for a busy production season in a hot kitchen, expecting the usual business of the tourist season in Maine to dictate my hours and amount of work.
I’ve always had a passion for food, cooking and baking and that fulfilled my creative desires for a long time. But during covid the struggle for so many Mainers to access any food, let alone whole and nutritious foods was so prevalent. I would see Facebook posts on my town’s community page asking if anyone could bake or drop off food for a neighbor they knew was struggling. I knew parents were in a panic trying to figure out where their kid’s lunches would come from with school shut down. As much as I had come to love the customers I served at my job baking sweets and breads, it felt like there was more important work to be done in securing food supply chains and equal access to groceries and basic needs. Homelessness has risen to crisis levels in Maine and this population needs food everyday, too.
I made the decision to slowly transition out of my job and return to school focusing on food security work through the University of Maine’s Food Studies program. As I started my spring semester, an internship appeared on the weekly job board with Maine Foodscapes. It detailed work helping Mainers access better food and be self sufficient through receiving their own garden beds to raise vegetables at home. I immediately knew this was the right place to start in taking a different path with food. It feels a little funny to be interning at the age of 39, I know before people meet me they expect to see a 19 year old greeting them. But in returning to school to explore a different career, this was the kind of opportunity I was hoping to find; building resilient food systems in our state through meaningful action. I’m so glad to be on my way and to be partnering with Maine Foodscapes. Here’s to a productive and purposeful 2023 build season!