Knox County Food Council invites community to endorse Food Charter

Hunger in Maine is increasing, not least in Knox County. According to national statistics provided by Maine’s Good Shepherd Food Bank, a full 17% of our local population will experience food insecurity this year. Perhaps more alarming, 28% of our children will be in the same predicament. And Knox is one of four Maine counties where the problem is expected to grow the greatest this year.

In an attempt to help solve the problem, the Knox County Food Council (www.kcfoodcouncil.com), a group of community organizations and individuals, came together in March 2019. The goal of the Council? Advocating for a healthy food system for our entire community, promoting a collaborative network of organizations and outreach, and providing a network to support, first and foremost, health and wellness for everyone through access to good food.

Now the Council is going public, so to speak, and asking others–organizations, businesses, and individuals–to join the fight by signing on to the Knox County Food Council Charter. You can sign on by emailing your name, town of residence, and the organization you represent (if applicable) to with the subject line “Food Charter Endorsement.” In addition, the Knox County Food Council Facebook group (facebook.com/groups/KCfoodCouncil) welcomes new members.

Here in the Midcoast, the problem of food insecurity is often hidden behind closed doors. We don’t see the scenes that exist, for instance, in Portland, with desperate people on street corners literally begging for cash or food and homeless people settling in city parks. And yet the predicament is no less real, especially among children.

So what is food insecurity? The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines it as “lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.” And this is what it means: going to bed hungry a couple of times a week. Or this: walk down Main Street in Rockland and almost one in every five people you pass probably hasn’t had enough to eat sometime in the last five days.

Disruptions wrought by COVID-19, including unemployment and a slowing economy, have cut deeply into family budgets at the same time that stay-at-home work and schooling create additional anxieties. As a community, Council members say, we need to come together to help each other, to reinforce community bonds, and to create the infrastructure necessary to support our food system and its links to local agriculture, fisheries, and food distribution networks.

The full Knox County Food Council Charter can be seen here: aldermere.org/kcfc. Anyone may sign on and join us in creating a healthy food system for all.