The Belfast Area Transition Initiative (BATI), The Belfast Cooperative Store, Coastal Farms and Food, and Food for Maine’s Future invite the community to a free lecture and conversation on the Maine food system. The event will take place on Monday, April 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library, located at 106 High Street in Belfast.

Guest speaker will be Dr. Mark Lapping of the Maine Food Strategy, Professor and former Executive Director of the Muskie School for Public Service at USM, and former interim president of Unity College. Lapping has authored over 100 books and articles on topics ranging from community planning to sustainable food systems.

The Maine Food Strategy sets out to identify Maine’s various food networks and ultimately connect the networks in order to work on strengthening the state’s food economy. Learn more at

The Belfast Area Transition Initiative (BATI), is a branch of Transition US, a “resource and catalyst for building resilient communities across the United States that are able to withstand severe energy, climate or economic shocks while creating a better quality of life in the process. We will accomplish our mission by inspiring, encouraging, supporting, networking and training individuals and their communities as they consider, adopt, adapt, and implement the Transition approach to community empowerment and change” (source:

The Belfast Cooperative Store is a community owned health food store and deli/cafe located in downtown Belfast, Maine since 1976. The store is a member-owned and controlled retail outlet for whole natural foods and other goods and provisions.

Coastal Farms and Foods is an incubator business that provides a food processing infrastructure for berry growers, farmers, food processors and food entrepreneurs in Belfast, Maine. Coastal Farms and Foods brings products to the facility from farms within a 50-mile radius. The organization creates additional markets for locally-grown produce that compliments current markets, food co-ops, farmer’s markets and CSAs, and helps to increase farm income, contributing to the security of land for farming.

Food for Maine’s Future is part of a growing international movement for food sovereignty. The organization works to build solidarity and alliances between rural people in Maine and around the world. FMF is in partnership with the local foods movement to incorporate issues such as land reform, ending patents, and the need for political organizing to push back against the well-funded agribusiness lobby.

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including: its focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century ecological problem solving and the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change; its ground-breaking “green” innovations such as the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world; and for being the first college in the United States to divest from investments in fossil fuels, igniting a growing national movement in higher education.

Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

Thursday, April 18, 2013