by Tim Gillis
Portland Phoenix news story
The Natural Resources Council of Maine, one of the state’s leading nonprofit organizations, prides itself on its work to protect, restore and conserve Maine’s environment — for folks basking in the cool summer breezes now and for their grandchildren’s children in summers to come.
“We work to improve the quality of Maine’s rivers, lakes, and streams; promote sustainable communities through initiatives that reduce pollution and the impacts of waste and promote clean energy; decrease air and climate-changing pollution; and conserve Maine lands, including our treasured North Woods,” according to a new sustainability report by NRCM, which was “created by Maine people, for the benefit of all who love Maine. For more than 55 years, NRCM has led efforts to keep Maine a special place. NRCM harnesses the power of science, the law, and the voices of more than 16,000 supporters from across Maine and beyond.”
The full report, due out later in September, includes six areas of study: local food; recycling; open space and trails; wise energy decisions; water quality; and sustainability resources.
Under local food, the report notes that “the city’s first farmer’s market was founded more than two centuries ago, in 1768. The city is also home to the Portland Fish Exchange, where nearly all fish landed in Maine passes before heading to other parts of the state and beyond. In recent years, the level of support for local foods has soared, turning Portland into a model city for the ‘local foods movement.’ The present-day Portland Farmers’ Market features fresh items from more than 40 Maine farms, the Portland Food Co-Op sells items from more than 250 local producers, and dozens of Portland restaurants now proudly serve fresh ingredients supplied by Maine farmers.”
The edible section includes such local foodie luminaries as Lisa Fernandes of the Portland Permaculture Group, launched in 2005. Through her leadership, the group has grown to 2,000 members. Jonah Fertig, co-founder of Local Sprouts Cooperative in 2007 and founder of Cooperative Fermentation more recently, is described in the report as a “local foods champion” and has been busy lately serving on Mayor Michael Brennan’s Initiative for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System.
Jeremy Bloom clicks in as an “Internet farmer,” promoting the local food movement online. He developed software to help grow the buying club that “eventually led to the Portland Food Co-Op retail store,” the report indicates.
Pete Didisheim, advocacy director for the NRCM, released the first few pages of the report that will have profiles of 50 individuals and organizations helping make Portland sustainable.
“This report highlights some of the exciting work underway in Portland that is integrating the economy, environmental stewardship, and community into the life of the city,” he wrote in an email. “Within each section, we focus on Innovations that are particularly noteworthy in that subject area. We also feature Connectors — the individuals and organizations who are connecting people with each other, connecting people with nature, and connecting the world we live in today with the challenges of our future.”
Individuals interested in receiving a copy can send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine has a busy fall scheduled. NRCM’s 2015 People’s Choice Award will pick from a slate of finalists, based on votes collected through Sept. 7. The award will be presented on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at NRCM’s Conservation Leadership Award event at the Maple Hill Farm Inn and Conference Center in Hallowell.
Also, the NRCM released this week “the first-ever detailed survey of electric car owners in Maine. … The survey examines the driver satisfaction, usage patterns, and more, of more than 200 Maine electric car drivers.” The release of this information comes a week before an annual Drive Electric Day event to be held Sunday, Sept. 13, noon to 4 p.m., at South Portland Community Center. The event is sponsored by NRCM and others, “and gives people an easy, fun and free opportunity to test drive a variety of electric cars currently available.”