Marada handed me my copy of the newest issue of the Maine Policy Review, and even though I’m only 131 pages into it, let me tell you, it’s a good one. Anyone who’s interested in food, food production, food security, food justice, or food policy should definitely, definitely get your hands on a copy of this and settle in. For the bargain price of $15, you get a whole lot of education and learned opinion in one place. Trust me, you’re going to want a tactile copy of this to crease and write in and fold the pages of.
For those who are unfamiliar with this, as I was until recently, the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine puts out periodic issues dedicated to public policy issues that are topical and relevant. A large part of the purpose is to provide a broad education and analysis of the given issue in the hopes of informing the formation of policy in a constructive way. Contributors submit, input is solicited, and the editors get to wrangle it into shape. In short, in a very classy and competent way, they take some of the guesswork on that given issue out of the equation.
So, the Food Issue.
It’s a doozy, in a good way. I’ll tell you why I’m immensely satisfied, practically smug in fact, if you can be smug about someone else’s accomplishment.
Here at Crown O’ Maine we work a lot, and we think a lot. May not seem like it, with our tendency not to answer phones, or the mad-cap construction projects in progress, but we try to go about the work we do intelligently and intentionally. We try to think about the big picture, and how we can do what we’re doing and further the articulation and manifestation of the kind of food and farming world we want to see in the long run.
In the course of our business, we get around the block a bit, going to forums and conferences and pow-wows of various stripes, and we get put in rooms with some pretty brainy, motivated, competent, and knowledgeable people who are very well versed in their particular areas.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we know what we’re doing (mostly), but as you may have noticed from our short Booklist, our influences can be a little, well, lateral. Marada is more topically read than I am, being a farming nut from way back, but I’d lay money on most farmers we do business with being better read on agriculture than I am, and many of our customers being better read on food. We bring a certain … native intelligence … to the table, but I wouldn’t rate either of us as food or farming scholars.
So, why am I gleeful? Because the Maine Policy Review’s Food issue is EXACTLY my cup of tea. Nothing makes me happier than expertise and competence brought to bear on a given topic, and I LOVE sitting down and reading dense, meaty, factual articles with new bibliographies to pillage for future reading and clarification. Blame the science degree for having to read and analyze the meaning of phrases to a ridiculous degree, but I like having something I can sink my teeth into. This issue also has strong contributors covered a broad spectrum of food issues with depth and focus. This is a dense publication.
Okay, this may be bad advertising to some of you. But the glee and smugness come in because this is exactly what any legislator or concerned citizen should have when shaping policy. I haven’t read one article or sidebar yet that I deemed a waste of space, a crackpot, or trivial. Serious people actively engaged in their work have taken the time and care to put their thoughts together and taken in totality, it’s pretty compelling. Any person with a clear head can read it and see the burden of history, evidence, science, and logic point to some pretty clear realities.
Now whether political heads are clear and present, who knows? Or the public’s for that matter. But I strongly recommend getting yourself a copy and reading what the people who should know what they’re talking about are talking about.
Yes, I’m an elitest asshole. Oh well. Go get your copy, today!
Disclaimer: I’ve been watching a lot of The West Wing in all my free time, so I’m a little high on people knowing what they’re talking about, and using their knowledge for the betterment of society.