A wooden sign leaning against a wall on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, at Spaces of Opportunity in south Phoenix reads "Give someone a fist they eat for a day. Teach someone to garden, the whole neighborhood gets tomatoes!" The 10-acre community farm is run by a collective of multiple local organizations in Phoenix, including the Desert Botanical Garden and the Roosevelt School District. Credit: AP Photo/Cheyanne Mumphrey

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Recently, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced that Maine will receive nearly $225,000 to create a new program called the Maine Farm to School Institute. As a former state senator who spent years advocating for feeding Maine children, I would like to thank them for their support of this important funding!

The proposal under this program, called the “Farm to School THYME: Training for Healthy Youth in Maine” will establish the Maine Farm to School Institute to train schools and other stakeholders on how to establish and operate successful farm-to-school programs. As of right now, the nearest farm-to-school training facility is in Vermont, and Maine schools have extremely limited access to it.

Farm-to-school programs are a win-win because they provide Maine students with nutritious, locally-grown whole foods while also supporting local agriculture and small farms. I am excited to follow the progress of this new program, and about the opportunities that this funding presents for rural students across Maine.

Joyce A. Maker

Calais