As a state, we need to do more to make healthy, locally-grown food available to more people.

I’ve been a longtime farmer in our community, and have frequently fielded questions from folks about how we can help make this happen.

Currently, under the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, structures used to grow crops are subject to significant wind and snow load requirements, while structures used to store harvested crops and house livestock are exempt from those same requirements.

This session, the Legislature is considering a bill, L.D. 2053, which would create a similar exemption for structures used to grow crops. If it is passed, Mainers could leave structures like hoop houses up year-round, giving them the ability to grow more food without high startup costs.

As we emerge from the thick of winter, grocery prices remain high, particularly for fresh produce. If more Maine residents in high-density housing areas had the ability to easily assemble permanent greenhouse structures, they could reduce their grocery bills, eat healthier, more nutrient-dense and bioavailable foods, reduce their climate impact, share fresh food with neighbors and be more prepared for the upcoming growing seasons.

I call on the Legislature to enact this bill, which would support more urban agriculture and continue Maine’s rich agricultural tradition, with palpable health and lifestyle benefits that would echo throughout our communities.

Rep. Kathy Shaw, Auburn

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.