Maine Historical Society

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New England Foodscapes

Foodscapes graphic

A Lecture Series co-sponsored by the Food Studies Program at University of Southern Maine and Maine Historical Society

In celebration of the founding of the Food Studies program at USM, the University of Southern Maine has partnered with Maine Historical Society to offer a program series exploring the critical aspects of New England's food systems, fisheries, politics, and history. All programs take place at Maine Historical Society at 489 Congress Street in downtown Portland. The series is open the public, with USM students encouraged to sign up for credit through USM. Interested students should contact the Food Studies Program at 780-4490.

Bring your lunch, eat up, and learn about food!

This program series is offered free of charge to the public. Please register in advance below.

Tuesday, February 7, 6pm (This event postponed due to weather – new date APRIL 18 - see below)
Film: Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

Who would throw food away? In the powerful film, Just Eat It, we discover that almost everyone does. This is a 74-minute documentary film about food waste and food rescue. Filmmakers Jen and Grant explore the issue of waste from farms, retail, and our own refrigerators. In a world filled with food insecurity, the film is shocking, compelling, and movingly entertaining. Produced by Peg Leg Films in partnership with British Columbia's Knowledge Network.

Ryan Parker, Environmental Policy Outreach Coordinator, Natural Resources Council of Maine, will introduce the film and moderate the discussion that follows.

Tuesday, February 14, 12pm
John Forti, "Edible Landscapes: For Health, Habitat, Families & the Future"

John Forti is Director of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Nationally recognized for his work in garden history and ethnobotany, John previously served as horticultural curator of Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H. His work on historic gardens and seed preservation has earned him wide acclaim and was recently granted awards from the Herb Society of America and the Garden Club of America. A prolific writer on gardens, John can also be followed on his popular blog, "The Heirloom Gardener."

Register for this program

Tuesday, February 28, 12pm
Hannah Semler, "Triangulating Food Recovery, Food Security and Economic Development"

Hannah Semler works with a variety of organizations in Maine that design integrated food recovery efforts. Gleaning and FarmDrop Manager for Healthy Acadia, Hannah has worked in Mexico, Guatemala, and most recently in Spain. She is a graduate of the College of the Atlantic and received her MS in International Food Business and Consumer Studies at the University of Kassel, Germany. Building upon the recent "Feeding 5000 Portland" event, her talk will focus on Maine’s food system and the future of food production in the state.

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Tuesday, March 7, 12pm
Amanda Beal, Visions for the Future of Maine and New England

Amanda Beal is President and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust, a member-powered organization that protects farmland, supports farmers, and advances the future of farmland. She co-authored "A New England Vision," which researched Maine and New England food production on land and sea in order to assess productivity and future expansion. The daughter of a Maine dairy farmer, Amanda will discuss her recent research and vision of New England farmland and food production.

Register for this program

CANCELLED: Tuesday, March 21, 12pm
Dr. Dona Brown, "Landscapes of Self-Sufficiency: Food, Security, and the Idea of the New England Farm in the 1930's"

CANCELLED - Dona Brown is a Professor of History at the University of Vermont. She is the author of numerous books and article on New England including, Inventing New England: Regional Tourism in the Nineteenth Century and most recently, Back to the Land: The Enduring Dream of Self-Sufficiency in Modern America. Her talk will focus on the 1930's when New England farms, especially in northern Maine, seemed to embody for the nation a set of enduring values highlighted by the crash. In those hungry Depression years, northern farms held out the promise of food self-sufficiency—the best hope in a dangerous world.

Tuesday, April 4, 12pm
Robin Alden and Ted Ames, "Seafood is all Downstream: The Promise of River Restoration and Collaborative Action for Ocean Fisheries."

Robin Alden is the founding Director of Penobscot East Resource Center, a non-profit organization in Stonington, Maine whose mission is to secure a sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities of Maine. Robin has been a champion of integrating fishermen's ecological knowledge into science and policy and served as Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources under Governor Angus King. She was recently named a White House Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood. Robin was also recipient of the Gulf of Maine Visionary Award and the SOURCE Sustainability Innovator Award.

Ted Ames is a founding board member and senior advisor of Penobscot East Resource Center. He is an external Graduate Faculty Member at the University of Maine, Orono, and a research associate at Bowdoin College. A commercial fisherman for 28 years, Ted has authored numerous articles on historical fisheries ecology, fisherman's ecological knowledge, and related subjects. For his work on collecting and mapping the ecological knowledge of fishermen, he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Award in 2005. Ted also holds an honorary PH.D., from UMM.

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Tuesday, April 11, 12pm
Kristin Reynolds, "Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City"

Kristin Reynolds is a critical geographer and urban food systems scholar. She teaches courses at the New School and at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. This spring, Kristin comes to USM as a Visiting Scholar in the new Food Studies Program. She will be teaching introductory classes as well as advanced courses including "Food, Power, and Social Justice," and "Food and the Environment." Kristin's talk will focus on race and class disparities in the United States urban agriculture movement and strategies that community based activists are using to dismantle racial, gender, and class oppression.

Register for this program

Tuesday, April 18, 6pm
Film: Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

Who would throw food away? In the powerful film, Just Eat It, we discover that almost everyone does. This is a 74-minute documentary film about food waste and food rescue. Filmmakers Jen and Grant explore the issue of waste from farms, retail, and our own refrigerators. In a world filled with food insecurity, the film is shocking, compelling, and movingly entertaining. Produced by Peg Leg Films in partnership with British Columbia's Knowledge Network.

Ryan Parker, Environmental Policy Outreach Coordinator, Natural Resources Council of Maine, will introduce the film and moderate the discussion that follows.

Register for this program

This series is led by Ardis Cameron, Professor Emeritus of American and New England Studies at University of Southern Maine and a Distinguished Visiting Professor in USM's new Food Studies Program. She is the author of three books on the history of American labor, women, and gender. She is a 2001 recipient of a Senior Research Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for her recent book, Unbuttoning America: A Biography of Peyton Place (Cornell University Press, 2015). Ardis is also a Master Gardener who works with the "harvest for hunger" program through the Maine Cooperative Extension.