Community Food Systems in Lewiston/Auburn and Maine: A StoryMap

During the extended break between the Fall and Winter semesters, I was fortunate to work as an Action/Research Team fellow through the Harward Center. The A/RT fellows worked collaboratively to create resources for Bates students preparing for community-engaged work within Lewiston/Auburn. I was part of the Food Systems team, along with Annika Mirchandani. Annika focused on organizations working to increase food security within Lewiston and Auburn, while I focused on the community food systems within Maine. 

We created a set of StoryMaps that covered the basics of these two topics, ensuring users of our project would have a baseline understanding of food systems and food insecurity in our area. My project highlighted the history of food systems within the state of Maine, while also providing information about organizations that are working to improve access to local, healthy food for those who are food insecure. Being a Mainer, it was incredible to learn about the ways projects like Mainers Feeding Mainers are able to support local farmers while also feeding those who are food insecure within the same community. Recirculating financial capital by supporting local farmers allows access to affordable, local, and healthy foods for all community members. 

The StoryMap I created shows how the industrialization of agriculture within the United States has caused specialization in crops and a loss of connection to where our food comes from. Understanding the importance of consuming local foods, making these local goods affordable and accessible, and economically supporting farmers from within our community highlights why community food systems are so important. I covered several programs like CSA’s, the Lewiston Farmers’ Market, Mainers Feeding Mainers, the Good Shepherd Food Bank, and the New Roots Cooperative Farm in Lewiston.

Check out more of my StoryMap here.

– Kate Loughlin ’22