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AmeriCorps VISTA Project


The Morris Farm AmeriCorps/VISTA Food Security Project began in 2014 to help the Morris’s Farm carry out the part of its mission that focuses on enhancing food security in the greater midcoast area. The goals of the AmeriCorps/VISTA project are to develop the capacity of the Morris Farm Trust to serve the food insecure population directly and provide structures for local organizations and farmers to work together.
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Our farm store reopened in 2014 after about a decade of closure in order to address the lack of healthy, nutritious, and affordable foods in the community and provide a retail outlet for local farms. The VISTA project set up the mechanisms to serve and educate SNAP (food stamp) beneficiaries through the farm store and offers a subsidy program called Farm Fresh Rewards, a USDA program that is administered through the Maine Farmland Trust. This cuts the cost of fresh local produce in half, making it affordable to users of SNAP.
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The Morris Farm also hosts an annual Food Security Forum, in partnership with the Chewonki, Foundation. This conference brings together a variety of local organizations and individuals who work on this issue in our community as well as others from around the state.

FOOD SECURITY DEFINED:

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of food security is built on three pillars:

  1. Food availability: access to sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis
    • Food insecurity can be a long-term or a short-term event.
  2. Food access: having sufficient resources and socially acceptable means (without the aid of emergency food supplies, stealing or scavenging) to obtain appropriate foods or a nutritious diet.
    • For the food insecure, dependence on fast food or highly processed foods that would be deemed unhealthy for the human diet would not solve food insecurity.
    • High prices of foods could prevent one from obtaining food, especially for those on supplemental or fixed incomes.
  3. Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.