Media report on Extension’s farmer-to-consumer website

The Portland Press Herald reported University of Maine Cooperative Extension has picked up a digital spreadsheet of wholesale farm products available directly to consumers, and has expanded it into a website. The spreadsheet was created by Allison Lakin, owner of Lakin’s Gorges Cheese and East Forty Farm in Waldoboro, who worked with UMaine Extension to develop the database. “We took that list on its own and sent it out to the fruit and veg grower listserv that we have through the extension service,” said Jason Lilley, a sustainable agriculture professional. “There are about 250 growers on that, and I think overnight we went from 7 to 45 entries.” The farm product and pick-up directory provides information on available local farm products and alternative pick-up options developed by farmers statewide to accommodate the recommended social distancing in light of COVID-19. The Bangor Daily News also noted UMaine Extension’s online directory in its story about how the spread of the coronavirus has reshaped the Maine food system. The story also reported that UMaine Extension has partnered with dozens of statewide food organizations — including Cultivating Community and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association — to form the Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine that connects aspiring and new farmers to resources for farm business success. Maine Public also wrote about the origins of UMaine Extension’s interactive web resource, which includes a clickable map and a database that can be searched for specific products — from sheep cheese to scallops. The Sun Journal posted a list of farms in its readership area that sell food  — including meats, eggs, milk, vegetables, fruits, cheese, honey — directly to consumers. The list was from UMaine Extension’s online Farm Product and Pick-Up Directory. Down East Magazine’s compilation of “How To Support Maine Businesses Right Now” also included the directory. VillageSoup, and The County also posted about the directory. And the Bangor Daily News highlighted the directory in its report, “Why buying a share in a local farm’s season might be a very good investment this year.”