In 2019, Governor Mills and the Legislature took a bold step to address hunger in Maine. They enacted important legislation to bring state agencies, nonprofit and business leaders, educators, and other interested parties together to develop a strategic plan to end hunger in the state by 2030.
After more than two years of work, meaningful dialogue, in-depth analysis, and research, the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee heard testimony on Tuesday from League President/CEO Todd Mason and other members of the 2030 Advisory Group, who spoke about their collective recommendations to prevent hunger. The Advisory Group is asking the Legislature to support LD 174, a bill which will strengthen Maine’s response to food insecurity and address the root causes that create it.
In his testimony, Mason shared:
“By taking a holistic approach, the Advisory Group’s five goals of addressing infrastructure, access, economic security, amplifying the voices of impacted people, and equity provide the necessary framework and actions needed to solve hunger. As an example, the strategy to ‘Enlist the Private Sector’ under the goal of Economic Security encourages public/private partnerships. One idea is to create a private sector toolkit to help HR professionals and business managers identify and help address hunger within their own organizations. Another idea is to expand education and training programs, something Maine credit unions are doing with the Maine Energy Marketers Association and the Maine Motor Transport Association by providing low-cost financing for their training programs, which then can lead to good jobs in the energy and trucking industries. Other ideas include expanding internships and apprenticeships, broadband access, and the list goes on.
What makes these and other recommendations from the Ending Hunger by 2030 Advisory Group special is not that they are new, though some are. What makes them special is the people and processes that brought them together in a comprehensive plan. There is no single action or group that can end hunger. It takes a common agenda, shared measurements of progress, mutually reinforcing activities, strong communications, and a village to make the collective impact needed to end hunger.”
In addition to the League, other Advisory Group members that offered testimony include the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition; Maine Women’s Lobby; the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Full Plates Full Potential; Preble Street; and the Maine Food Policy Work Group.
The Committee will hold a work session to consider the bill in the coming weeks. The League’s Governmental Affairs team will keep credit unions and their members informed about this bill as it works its way through the legislative process.