Food Security Fears Discussed

At our last meeting (May 7th at Fuzzy Udder Creamery in Unity) we had a guest join our group — G. W. Martin, of Montville, who had worked to get his town to adopt the “Food Sovereignty Ordinance” that several other towns in Maine have passed in the last few years. He also marched on the State House on April 17th in support of “Farmer Brown” who is being prosecuted for selling unlicensed dairy products to the public. Martin had been invited to the Guild meeting by Jessie Dowling of Fuzzy Udder to try to provide some perspective to the Guild about the concern of food producers and farmers who feel that state licensing is an impediment to supporting their local communities by producing food for their neighbors.

Even though the discussion was not on the agenda for the meeting, there was a lot of interest expressed by the group to hear from Martin about his perspective, as well as to educate Martin about why the Guild has adopted a Quality Statement insisting that state licensing be the minimum level of oversight for any commercial cheese maker in Maine to insure the quality of their products.
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Dairy Farm Requirements — An Overview

Rembrant painting of Moses holding the CommandmentsBelow is a link to a PDF document outlining the basics for setting up a small scale dairy operation and then getting your Maine Dairy Processors license to allow you to sell your products. It was put together by the Maine Micro-Dairy Cooperative which, sadly, is no longer an on-going operation

In addition to the basic regulations, it’s also important to be on top of all the sanitation needs for a small scale milking dairy, something that the Guild and/or the University of Maine Cooperative Extension can help you with. Join the Guild, attend our meetings, and together we can make great cheese together!

From the introduction:

The purpose of this document is to provide a basic overview of the requirements and standards that must be met for the production and sale of milk and dairy products in the state of Maine. It is not intended to replace nor supersede the official Department of Agriculture publication (Chapter 329: Rules Governing Maine Milk and Milk Products) from which it is derived, nor should it seem to take precedence over the judgment and advice of the State Dairy Inspectors who oversee the regulatory compliance of each producer and processor. It should be used as a guide only, in combination with on-site consultation and Department of Agriculture recommendations.

MMDC Summary of Dairy Farm Regs as of May 8, 2007