LEWISTON — A local community group has created the state’s first “food charter,” outlining a vision and commitment to affordable food in the Twin Cities. 

The Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn publicly released its one-page food charter Wednesday. Among the speakers: Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, a global leader in the sustainable farming movement, who is touring Maine this week as part of the Justice for Women Lecture Series by the University of Maine School of Law.

She lauded the effort and said she’d like to see a similar initiative throughout her home continent of Africa.

“It’s about values,” she said.

A food charter is a statement of a community’s beliefs about food. Although nonbinding, it’s generally used as a philosophical guide for policies, investment and development.

Food charters are becoming popular across America. They can represent communities or whole states.


The Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn began considering a food charter about six months ago. It places an emphasis on “good food” — food that is healthy, affordable and accessible — and encourages those who sign the charter to consider local and sustainable agriculture, to promote good food policies and to support the work and infrastructure tied to good food.

 City Counselor Jim Lysen said he “absolutely” expects the charter to affect city policy.

“We’re interested in the health, welfare and safety of our community. This is critical to that,” said Lysen, who planned to sign the charter. “This is something that often isn’t in city policy but I think should be.”

More than 50 community members, nonprofit groups and businesses have signed the charter in support.

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