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Photo Caption:  Members of The Auburn Conservation Commission pose with their 2019 Food Charter award for Good Food Policy.


AUBURN –  On June 13, approximately 40 people gathered at Side By Each Brewing Company in Auburn for ‘Food and Water Lewiston-Auburn’, a networking event for those interested in agriculture, water, and other natural resource topics hosted by the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission and the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn (GFCLA).  The GFCLA also celebrated the third anniversary of the L-A Community Food Charter at the event by announcing and honoring the five area entities selected for 2019 Food Charter Awards, each for embodying one of the five principles of the Charter. This years’ Food Charter Awards were received by:

  1. The Lewiston Schools Nutrition Summer Food Service Program (Charter Principle: Food Security),
  2. The Lewiston Farmers’ Market (Charter Principle: Local and Sustainable Agriculture),
  3. Healthy Neighborhoods (Charter Principle: Leadership),
  4. The Auburn Conservation Commission (Charter Principle: Good Food Policy) , and
  5. Blue Ox Malt House (Charter Principle: Working Landscapes & Community Infrastructure).

More information about the activities of the 2019 awardees can be found below.

“It is really our honor each year with these awards to shine a light on examples of the breadth and depth of the good work being done by local groups to improve Lewiston-Auburn’s food system from farm to fork,” said Julia Harper, GFCLA Coordinator.


The LA Community Food Charter was launched by the GFCLA in 2016 as a way to highlight L-A’s community food values, build support for a more sustainable local food system, provide a framework for discussion by community members and decision makers and guide a consistent, focused approach over time.  The LA Charter was the first of its kind in the state to be drafted. The cities of Lewiston and Auburn have signed the Food Charter as have ​over 270 individuals, businesses, and organizations statewide. The Food Charter is on the GFCLA website where businesses, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to complete a form to endorse the one-page Charter and show their commitment to improving the local food system. Food Charter awards have been given every year on the anniversary of the Charter’s creation.

Details about the 2019 Food Charter Awardees:

Auburn Side By Each

Above:  GFCLA member, Kirsten Walter, gives the 2019 Charter Award for ‘Food Security’ to the Lewiston Public Schools Nutrition Program, received by Director of the program, Alisa Roman.

  • Food Security:  The Lewiston Schools Nutrition Program demonstrates this Charter principle by, since 2001, running a Summer Food Service Program – filling a vital need for many local food insecure families during summer break. Last year, this program was able to reach over 2,500 youth daily at 16 sites throughout the city, providing free, nutritious, and consistent breakfast and lunches for youth who might not otherwise have had this nutritional and emotional security.  In addition, we applaud the expanded availability of this program to other summer programs throughout the city serving school-age children up to age 18, including those at recreation centers, daycare centers, and church groups. A community with high food security supports children that are able to learn and play, resulting in numerous public health and economic multiplier effects; this program supports LA in reaching for this goal.



Above: GFCLA member, Jeff Newell gives the Local and Sustainable Agriculture Food Charter Award to the Lewiston Farmers’ Market.

  • Local & Sustainable Agriculture: The Lewiston Farmers’ Market demonstrates this Charter principle by, for the last 15 years (since 2004), providing a year-round venue for members of the community to source fresh, nutritious, locally-produced food. Access to local food greatly reduces the (average) 1500 miles that food travels from farm to fork.  The market is utilized by approximately fifteen year-round vendors and additional seasonal vendors, giving farmers access to a direct-to-consumer market that supports LA’s economy, and helps keep farmers in business, who generally return a better wage to farm workers than larger industrial operations elsewhere in the world. In addition, when sustainable practices are utilized, result in more nutritious food and natural resource protection, including practices that help mitigate our changing climate.

Lewiston AuburnAbove: Members of Healthy Neighborhoods pose with their Food Charter Award for Leadership.


  • Leadership:  Healthy Neighborhoods demonstrates this Charter principle by developing shared and collaborative leadership in their coalition of downtown residents, non-profits, city agencies, businesses, and landlords to lead a comprehensive revitalization of the Tree Street neighborhood of Lewiston to make it a safe, inclusive, healthy, and affordable place for anyone to make a home. They have defined together that  “Healthy Neighborhoods” necessarily includes access to healthy food and nutrition education, in addition to affordable, safe, and lead-free housing, access to medical care, safe places to exercise and play, available employment and training, and places and ways to nurture social connections and access social supports. To reach the goal of good food for all of L-A, we need both individuals and organizations to lead change, which Healthy Neighborhoods embodies in their diverse coalition work.

Above: Food Council member, Camille Parrish, gives the Good Food Policy Food Charter Award to the Auburn Conservation Commission.

  • Good Food Policy: The Auburn Conservation Commission demonstrates this Charter Principle with their ongoing thoughtful approach to considering the modernization of the policy governing Auburn’s Agriculture and Resource Protection District. We particularly wish to recognize the Commission’s support for new research to fill in gaps in knowledge and consideration of how changes to the existing ordinance would impact the ability of new and beginning farmers — including farmers from underrepresented backgrounds — to access productive farmland. We also value the Commission’s commitment to a deliberate and fair process that seeks the voices and perspectives of as many Auburn residents as possible.

Above: GFCLA Coordinator, Julia Harper, poses with 2019 Food Charter Awardee, Joel Alex, Founder and Maltster at Blue Ox Malt House.

  • Working Landscapes & Community Infrastructure: Blue Ox Malt House demonstrates this Charter Principle by reinvigorating a centuries old craft of malting grain in a modern business that created the needed infrastructure to allow Maine’s strong agricultural economy to connect with its vibrant craft brewing and distilling industries, as well as a variety of other specialty food processors.  Providing this infrastructure helps to keep working landscapes viable and protected, which is necessary for enhanced production of and access to good food. Founded in 2013 and located in Lisbon, part of Androscoggin County, Blue Ox is currently one of only two malt houses in the state. Their malt is used widely by many of the state’s over 100 craft breweries to promote a uniquely Maine farm-to-glass product.

Additional Photos From the Event:



Above: Co-owners and brewmaters at Side By Each, Matt Johannes and Ben Low, share about their brewery and how clean water is essential for their product.



Above:  Members of Healthy Neighborhoods pose with their Food Charter Award for Leadership.





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