Christopher Hallweaver is a principal owner and general manager of Northern Girl, LLC, an organic vegetable processing company in Limestone, ME. As an active participant in the Slow Money movement, Chris helps facilitate local investments, mentors Maine farmers and food businesses, and is developing a state-wide Technical Assistance Program to assist the expansion of key infrastructure for rebuilding sustainable regional food systems. Prior to moving to Maine
in 1995, Chris founded and grew a Massachusetts-based software development company.
Ten years from now, Maine will be the breadbasket of the entire Northeast. We've got a lot of work to do to get there.
Right now, we buy potatoes from Idaho, blueberries from New Jersey, and corn from Ohio. More and more, we rely on an Industrial Agriculture system that is unsustainable and fraught with food safety and cost issues. Meanwhile, our farmers in-state are increasingly subject to commoditization of their crops and seeing fewer profits and less stability. While in many ways this mirrors trends across the country, here in Maine, with our rich agricultural heritage and still relatively inexpensive land base, we are uniquely qualified to realize this vision.
Maine can feed Maine. In time, Maine will be asked to feed an even larger portion of the whole Northeast. How can Maine feed Maine? What if we accomplish this? What will it mean for Maine? These questions are not just about food, and the answers won’t be just about farms. By rebuilding our local food systems in Maine, we can regain lost jobs, battle income inequality, keep our youth in-state, and better our health. To do so, we need to start by reinvesting in agricultural development in Maine. We need to start redirecting investment capital from Wall Street to sustainable regional food systems. We’ve got to start from the ground up and rebuild the infrastructure, work force, programs and put policies in place that will allow Maine to feed Maine.
Chris will describe the work that has been done to date and the work that lies ahead of us to accomplish this goal.