While I am and will remain the cheerleader for all things Vermont, I would be remiss to not mention some of the great work happening in our fellow New England state – Maine.
For a quick comparative study of Maine and Vermont agriculture, look here.
(Data from Vermont Food Atlas)
Pay particular attention to the dark blue – vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. As much emphasis we place on vegetable production in Vermont, Maine’s current production capacity is considerably larger than what we can produce here in Vermont. I find that this chart really demonstrates that difference – I often forget how much of a difference it is.
Moving beyond produce, the heart of the exciting developments in Maine is centered around seafood – sustainable seafood (please note the dark green aquaculture in the above comparative chart). In partnership with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Sodexo has been deeply involved in creating a market for under-utilized fish species, like dogfish, redfish, and hake. Sodexo is engaged in the research to create the market for fisheries to supply these multiple fish species – which previously have seldom appeared on any type of menu – to local consumers on campuses. See for yourself. This highly-acclaimed partnership and the resulting market development work have come to be cornerstones of Maine’s equivalent of Vermont First – the Maine Course.
There is certainly a lot that Vermont First can borrow from Maine Course, and we like being in good company as we work on ambitious, market-changing initiatives. A pat on the back to our friends in Maine, and a huge thanks for the delicious lobster dinner last night in Biddeford (pronounced Bid-ehh-fehd) at the University of New England!