8.17.2006

Maine is Smart

Maine seems to really get it. It being what a state can do to support and promote food producers. They've got the very successful "Get Real, Get Maine" campaign (with an amazingly informative and user-friendly website). I hear from Mainers that the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is top-notch. There's also the Maine Foods Network.

And now there's "Certified Maine Lobster." To be honest, I don't know enough about lobster to know if there's much difference between a lobster caught in Maine and one caught off of Rhode Island. And I can't believe there's a difference between NH lobster and Maine lobsters caught just a couple miles north, just as the state fisherman's association is quick to point out.

My point here is that our response shouldn't be to downgrade what they are doing by insisting it is meaningless. We should take a page from their playbook - create brand identity where there was none, help producers label and promote their foods in a way that influences consumers. We've got this NH's Own thing, but I just don't see it often enough. Definitely not as often as I see the Get Real, Get Maine label. And the farmers and growers I talk to don't feel very supported by the state in terms of what the state could do to promote NH agriculture/food producers in general, therefore creating a more informed customer, a customer who will take the time to seek local agriculture/food producers out and pay the price they often require.

1 comment:

Pyewacket said...

I know that the Maine lobster industry is considered to be very well structured, supportive of the lobstermen while also maintaining high environmental standards. I don't know if the state-level restrictions are any different from those in NH or Massachusetts, but there could well be legitimate differences that would make the Certified Maine label meaningful.

Maine does seem to do a great job of promoting its farmers and fisherman. Recently, they had open farm days to get people to visit the farms and get to know the farmers. I missed this, unfortunately.