In this Friday, July 27, 2012, file photo, workers harvest wild blueberries at the Ridgeberry Farm in Appleton, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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Food has shaped my life because I am lucky to live in a community where we feed each other. Few things are as satisfying – or as tasty! – as enjoying a meal knowing who raised it, and that they raised it with care to nurture people and soil alike.

Since World War II, policy has shifted in our country and globally toward a paradigm that endangers community farming and the biodiversity that thrives from regionally adapted food. We have been  losing farms (and therefore community resilience) since former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz said “get big or get out” in the 1970s. Our ability to choose how we feed ourselves is dwindling.

This year, we have the opportunity to vote for the Right to Food in Maine, which would legally recognize our unalienable right to eat foods of our own choosing. I’ve heard people wonder why this is necessary. To me, it’s simple: under current law, we do not have legal standing to decide for ourselves how we nourish our bodies. Why wouldn’t we protect this ancient right?

I am only old enough to have voted in one election, and I was disappointed when I entered the booth in 2020, because the best choice I had was to vote against something. I am excited that there is positive change on the ballot so I can vote for Question 3 this November.

Ben Retberg


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