Press Releases

Press statements from the Right to Food for Maine committee, and supporters.

November 1, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – Before Mainers Vote YES on Question 3 tomorrow, Right to Food for Maine would like to let people know who is behind the opposition. The folks who want to keep people from being able to feed themselves the food they know is best for them and their families.

Wayne Pacelle former CEO of the Humane Society of the United State (HSUS) wrote in Full Cry magazine, “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States. We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.” He also worked to shift the HSUS focus to wiping out all animal agriculture. When he left the HSUS in disgrace he founded Animal Welfare Action. An organization with a branch in southern Maine. The HSUS has a total annual lobbying budget of $39.6 million.

Several board members of HSUS are employees of McKinsey & Company. This firm was brought in as a consultant to promote the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AGRA was started by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. AGRA is pushing changes to seed laws that protect patented seeds and penalize seed trading. McKinsey has been developing policy plans for AGRA and organizing lobbying meetings between agricultural investors and government representatives in African countries. McKinsey is promoting policies in Africa to encourage land-spreading of sludge and industrial wastes by farmers, consolidation of farm land control, and increase use of AI in farming. Africa is their test case before moving this business plan out to the rest of the world. At the recent United Nations Food Systems Summit several national and international small farmer organizations, including the National Family Farm Coalition and La Via Campesina, protested the takeover of UN food policy by AGRA and other Big Ag players.

In 2016 HSUS, along with Tyson Foods and Bill Gates, invested venture capital in Beyond Meat a venture that is promoting the consumption of over processed plant-based meat substitutes. Since that time, HSUS and spin-off group Animal Wellness Action (AWA) have been actively promoting Beyond Meat as a solution to animal welfare concerns.

In September of 2021, Animal Wellness Action announced formation of a new group, “Right to Food Leaves a Bad Taste In Our Mouth Coalition.” The press release from AWA showed its DC-roots, listing the campaign against Question 3 as being in Portland, Oregon, instead of Portland, Maine.

The AWA Coalition is headed up by Gina Garey, Maine state director of Animal Wellness Action, and former Vice President of Wealth Management for Morgan Stanley. The opposition group is registered as a PAC with the Maine Ethics Commission as “No on 3: Right to Food is Wrong for Maine Committee.” As of this writing, AWA is listed as the only donor to that PAC whose contribution isn’t earmarked for repayment.

There are close links between the Maine Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) and AWA. AWA created the National Veterinary Council to put veterinarians in the forefront of its organizing and provide public credibility for its policy goals. The President of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association is a long-time member of the Maine Animal Welfare Advisory Council.

If you “follow the money” you can easily see what the true motivation of the Question 3 opponents are: deny Mainers the right to protect their traditional foodways, including hunting, fishing, raising livestock for human consumption, and saving and exchanging seeds. As Henry Kissinger knew, if you control the food and you control the people. And Fannie Lou Hamer told us, if you can feed yourself no one can push you around or tell you what to do.

Vote YES on Question 3 to defeat the big money players who want to continue to control our food supply and infringe our fundamental human right to obtain the food we wish.


October 28, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE Right to Food for Maine is pleased to announce that on Friday, October 29th at 6:00 pm, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) will host an informational webinar featuring Heather Retberg and Senator Craig Hickman about why Mainers should Vote YES on Question 3, the Right to Food for Maine Constitutional Amendment. Here is the link to register and attend: https://www.mofga.org/event-calendar/webinar-the-right-to-food/

“MOFGA envisions a future of healthy ecosystems, communities, people and economies sustained by the practices of organic agriculture,” says Deputy Director Heather Spalding. “This is a vision of an agriculture that generates the vast majority of the state’s food supply with locally, organically grown produce…Maine needs to ensure that policy incentives, and some safety nets, are in place at local, county, state, federal and, increasingly, international levels…The United States Constitution should have such an amendment. But, as with many other bold initiatives, it is fitting that Maine leads the discussion. More than 75% of the House and Senate voted to bring the Right to Food question to the ballot box this November.”

”MOFGA enthusiastically supports Question 3, and we invite you to join us for a conversation featuring leaders of the Yes on 3 Campaign to learn more about how Right to Food will empower all of us to address the badly broken food system and create a new one that is healthy and fair for all of us.”

MOFGA is the largest advocacy organization for farmers in the state.

A diverse coalition of individuals, farms and organizations across the state have endorsed a Vote YES on Question 3 including:
Maine Legislature
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine ILA
Cumberland County Food Security Council
Food and Medicine Maine
Sierra Club of Maine
Slow Food Maine
Food for Maine’s Future
Local Food Rules
Maine Black Community Development
Renew Rockland
Maine Green Independent Party
Brooklin Food Corps
Blue Hill Coop
Midcoast Maine Permaculture
Eastern Woodlands Rematriation Collective
Halcyon Grange
National Family Farm Coalition
Right to Food National Community of Practice
Protect Our Harvest

When Mainers Vote YES on 3, the following clear and straightforward language that affirms our right to feed ourselves in self-determination and dignity will be included in the Constitution of Maine’s Declaration of Rights, becoming the first state in the nation to enumerate a Right to Food:

Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.


October 21, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – Right to Food for Maine is pleased to announce the endorsement by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Institute for Legislative Action (SAM-ILA) for a Vote YES on Question 3, the Right to Food Constitutional Amendment.

“THE SAM-ILA has looked very closely at Question 3 to determine whether it would have an impact on the outdoor community,” wrote David Trahan, Executive Director of SAM, in a social media post on Wednesday. “After several weeks of research and discussing this Constitutional Amendment with attorneys, we feel our support is warranted.”

The post contains a detailed analysis of why this venerable Maine organization, the largest sportsman’s organization in the state, decided to add its voice to the growing chorus of individuals, organizations and institutions across the political spectrum and all parts of the state, rural and urban, are endorsing this ballot measure.

Other organizations endorsing YES on Question 3 include, but are not limited to:
Maine Legislature
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Sierra Club of Maine
Cumberland County Food Security Council
Slow Food Maine
Food for Maine’s Future
Local Food Rules
Maine Black Community Development
Renew Rockland
Maine Green Independent Party
Brooklin Food Corps
Midcoast Maine Permaculture
Halcyon Grange
National Family Farm Coalition
Protect Our Harvest


October 19, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – Right to Food for Maine is pleased to announce that its principal officer and farmer Heather Retberg will be appearing on MPBN’s Maine Calling at 11:00 am on October 20, 2021.

Retberg will be promoting Vote YES on 3, the ballot question that will enshrine a Right to Food into the Constitution of Maine. Her appearance is part of the ongoing educational effort to let the voters of Maine know why it is vital to get out to the polls and vote in favor of this referendum question on November 2.

Right to Food for Maine encourages all proponents to call in and voice their support for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enshrine the Right to Food in our state Constitution. In this time of corporate control of our food system, the people of Maine need to speak with one voice and put power back in the hands of the people and protect and defend our right to nourish ourselves in self-determination and dignity.

You can also hear Retberg, along with Senator Craig Hickman, tell listeners Why Mainers should Vote Yes to Right to Food in a podcast appearance from earlier this fall.

Please join the conversation on Wednesday morning and make your voice heard in support of this important issue. Participate by emailing talk@mainepublic.org, calling 1-800-399-3566 or tweeting @mainecalling.

When Mainers Vote YES on 3, the following clear and straightforward language that affirms our right to feed ourselves in self-determination and dignity will be included in the Constitution of Maine’s Declaration of Rights, becoming the first state in the nation to enumerate a Right to Food:

Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.


October 18, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – In recognition of World Food Day this past Saturday, Right to Food for Maine is pleased to announce a chorus of women’s voices from around the state who will Vote YES on Question 3.

“Decentralizing food production and decision-making creates a more secure food system. Right to Food shifts the levers of power in our food supply and policy from corporate control to individual agency. It secures legal standing and a greater voice for individual citizens to participate in the decision-making about our food and the relationships we have in our communities.” — Heather Retberg, Right to Food for Maine Principal Officer, Amendment Drafter, Farmer, Penobscot

“Small farmers and homesteaders across the state take wonderful care of their small flocks of ducks, geese, chickens, sheep or goats and to say otherwise is to slight these hardworking Maine people. Please join me and vote YES on Question 3 to protect our small food producers.” — Martha Spiess, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Freeport

“We are older seniors who credit our good health to diet. We think it is good for ourselves and our neighbors to guarantee through our constitution that we can continue to know and choose our food sources and support local agriculture. Please join us in voting YES on Question 3, the Right To Food amendment.” — Faith Garrold, Retired Teacher, Searsport

“So let us begin. It was once said of Maine that as Maine goes, so goes the nation. Our motto is “l Lead.” The nation is now looking for our leadership away from a corporate agriculture that is selling us shrink-wrapped factory meat and highly-processed, chemical-laden food-like substances into a time when we can all eat real food and recapture the true meaning of community, a time when we can feed ourselves and our neighbors unmediated by those who don’t know the difference between a Snowball and a sour milk chocolate cake.” — Bonnie Preston, Librarian, Blue Hill

“Food is love. Food is medicine. Food is life. Every human being has a right to thrive. Preserving our traditional foodways and regional food systems is essential to helping us to more effectively control our health and wellness. Right to Food ensures that regular families can grow, harvest and eat what they choose is best for them. This protects our right to truly nourishing food for generations to come.” — Cat Morrow, Mother, Homesteader, Slow Food Educator, Bangor

“Maine is charting a different course though. We can be an example to the nation in food freedom. We can stand up and secure hunting, fishing and raising livestock for future generations. We have a long history of living off the land, and now we have a chance to make that tradition part of our enumerated rights in our state constitution.” —Jennifer Poirier, State Representative, Skowhegan

“I agree that all individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being. It is a human right.” —Jacqui Deveneau, Political Organizer, Portland

“The ability for individuals and communities to feed ourselves is foundational to life. A right to food protects our health, nourishment, and our planet. This amendment will guide policymaking into the futureso that we protect our freedom to grow food and engage in traditional methods of nourishing ourselves.” — Maggie O’Neil, State Representative, Saco

“Relocalizing our food system and building our communities is the greatest insurance policy we can have against disruptions of every kind. Be they economic, political, environmental or a global pandemic. Resilience is built into the DNA of the people of Maine this amendment allows us to manifest that resilience by taking back local control of our food system” — Betsy Garrold, Registered Nurse, Knox


October 14, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – Right to Food for Maine is pleased to announce that yesterday, David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, was a guest on the WVOM morning show with Ric Tyler and George Hale to discuss Question 3.

A former lawmaker who served 4 years in the Senate and 8 years in the House, Trahan spoke eloquently about how constitutional rights works relative to statute, making it clearthat Right to Food is a win for the people of Maine. He also made news when he revealed the strange bedfellows behind the opposition. Take a listen.

Trahan makes clear to listeners that the constitutionally prescribed police powers of the Legislature are not diminished by the enumeration of an unalienable right. If the Legislature finds that statutes must be amended in order to clarify the intent and purpose of the Right to Food amendment, then it has the power to act, whether or not anyone challenges in court a government or corporate action that appears to infringe on the right.

Trahan and the hosts also discuss a previous appearance on the program by Representative Billy Bob Faulkingham, the sponsor of the resolution to amend the Constitution that was approved by 75% of the entire Maine Legislature and now appears before the voters to ratify as Question 3.

The conversation on October 4th rebutted the extreme position taken by the animal welfare associations and the Maine Veterinary Medical Association against the referendum. Faulkingham explains that veterinarians are experts on animal welfare, but lawmakers are experts on the law. Faulkingham makes clear why their concerns about the passage of the Right to Food amendment are unfounded. The Legislature considered, debated, fully vetted and ultimately rejected their arguments with 75% of the vote.

Both appearances affirm the conclusions outlined in a pair of legal analyses by the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law.

When Mainers Vote YES on 3, the following clear and straightforward language that affirms our right to feed ourselves in self-determination and dignity will be included in the Constitution of Maine’s Declaration of Rights, becoming the first state in the nation to enumerate a Right to Food:

Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.


October 12, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – Right to Food for Maine is pleased to announce the release of a legal analysis from the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law making clear that the Right to Food constitutional amendment is not in conflict with animal welfare laws or Home Rule Authority. The analysis reads in part:

The proposed Amendment enumerates and protects three sets of rights and then limits those rights. The three rights are (1) the right to food, (2) the right to save and exchange seeds, and (3) the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of [an individual’s] own choosing[.] The Amendment does not protect these rights where it would require “trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food…”

In construing a constitutional amendment, Maine courts interpret the words “in light of what meaning they would convey to an ‘intelligent, careful voter.’”Payne v. Sec’y of State, 237 A.3d 870 (Me. 2020). An intelligent, careful voter would not take the rights to save and exchange seeds and produce one’s own food to allow for the violations of property rights, torture of animals, poaching, or to void all of Maine’s existing regulations or permit Mainers to run a farm out of a Portland apartment. There is no conflict between the language of the amendment and the language of animal cruelty laws. Animal safety regulations will stay on the books.

Read the full analysis. R. Denisse Córdova Montes, Lecturer-in-Law and Supervising Attorney, Human Rights Clinic Founder and Director, University of Miami School of Law, has been instrumental in examining and analyzing exactly how Right to Food will improve Maine’s legal construct. The Clinic works for the promotion of social and economic justice globally and in the United States. Students from all over the world, including Maine, gain firsthand experience in cutting-edge human rights litigation and advocacy at the local, national, regional, and international levels.

When Mainers Vote YES on 3, the following clear and straightforward language will be included in the Constitution of Maine’s Declaration of Rights, becoming the first state in the nation to enumerate a Right to Food:

Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.


October 8, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – Right to Food for Maine is pleased to release the statement below from Representative Bill Pluecker, cosponsor of the legislation that brought Right to Food to the ballot box on November 2.

“Having the power to grow and save our own seed is central to the power to feed our families. Seed grown and saved in Maine is unique to our land, our climate, our flora and fauna, and develops the power of this place in a way that cannot be compared to any other human activity. To have it stolen by the actions of the government undoes our democracy in a deep way that muzzles the voice of the people, and deprives us of the right to feed our own food to our own people. The resilience that comes from saving our own seed for our own communities is truly an unalienable right that must be protected in perpetuity in the Constitution for the people of Maine.” – Bill Pluecker, Farmer & State Representative

When Mainers Vote YES on 3, the following language will be included in the Constitution of Maine’s Declaration of Rights, becoming the first state in the nation to enumerate a Right to Food:

Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food


October 7, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – Right to Food for Maine is pleased to announce the release of a statement of support from the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC). Representing 30 farmer, rancher, fisher, and rural groups in more than 40 states, including Food for Maine’s Future, NFFC mobilizes family farmers and ranchers to achieve fair prices, vibrant communities, and healthy foods free of corporate domination.

NFFC board president Jim Goodman, a retired Wisconsin dairy farmer, said, “It’s a simple and straightforward choice. The people of Maine can affirm that they have the unalienable right to the food of their choosing, produced in a manner that builds resilient local food systems and economically vibrant communities. Alternatively, if Ballot Question 3 fails, Mainers surrender their right of self-determination to a corporate food system concerned only with profits and not with the well-being of the people of Maine.”

This endorsement for Mainers to Vote YES on 3 from a venerated national farming organization reinforces what Right to Food for Maine has believed since Senator Craig Hickman introduced the Right to Food constitutional amendment to the Legislature for the first time six years ago: the time is now for Maine to lead nation.

Maine imports more than 90% of the food Mainers consume and has the highest rate of hunger in New England. One if four Maine children goes to bed hungry every night. Maine is at the end of the line. If the trucks stop coming, grocery stores only have a four-day-supply of food. The COVID19 pandemic has revealed just how susceptible Maine’s food supply is to disruptions beyond our control. And so, under the leadership of Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, who introduced this iteration of the amendment, more than 75% of the Maine Legislature considered Right to Food a crucial part of increasing food security and food self-sufficiency for the Maine people and voted to send this amendment to the ballot box for us to ratify in the Referendum Election on November 2.

When Mainers Vote YES on 3, the following language will be included in the Constitution of Maine’s Declaration of Rights, becoming the first state in the nation to enumerate a Right to Food:

Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.


October 6, 2021 (.pdf download)

WINTHROP, MAINE – Right to Food for Maine continues its campaign across the state to show Maine voters why we must take this historic opportunity to Vote YES on 3 at the ballot box on November 2. Senator Craig Hickman will be making two appearances this week to discuss the constitutional amendment referendum.

This evening, Wednesday, October 6 at 6pm, Senator Hickman will participate in a ZOOM event entitled, “November Ballot Questions in Bangor: Food Justice, Bangor City Council and Bangor School Committee,” sponsored by Food AND Medicine.

Tomorrow evening, Thursday, October 7 at 7pm, Senator Hickman will appear in person at the Enterprise Grange #48 in Richmond to discuss Question 3. Enterprise Grange is a non-partisan organization hosting an event to share information about a non-partisan ballot question brought to the People by the affirmative votes of more than 75% of the Maine Legislature.

“Food is life. If we have a right to life then we have a right to food,” says Senator Hickman. “Everybody who wants to live needs to eat. Producing your own food is like printing your own money. When you can feed yourself, nobody can push you around or tell you what to do. I can’t think of anything more important to Maine people than the independence and liberty and freedom to work out our nutritional regimen as we see fit. And that means we have a right to the food we wish to eat for our own bodily health and well-being. I simply can’t imagine a more non-partisan issue than that.”

When Mainers Vote YES on 3, the following language will be included in the Constitution of Maine’s Declaration of Rights, the first state in the nation to enumerate a Right to Food:

Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.


Paid for by Right to Food for Maine, 192 Annabessacook Road, Winthrop, ME 04364