Local Foods, Local Places Workshop

Join us for a two-part community workshop focused on food and place in Biddeford as part of the Local Foods, Local Places initiative. Come for all or just the evening, morning, or afternoon session.

The workshop will consist of facilitated sessions to identify local foods and local place-making initiatives in Biddeford. The
community meeting will include interactive discussions about opportunities to use local food initiatives to strengthen downtown Main Street, foster economic development, and promote better public health outcomes. The second day action planning sessions will highlight best practices and focus on creating a community action plan with specific implementation steps.


The purpose of this session is to introduce everyone to the project and engage in exercises that reveal community values and vision. There will be presentations made by both consultants and local leaders. This is a “show and tell” session where people learn from each other and sets the stage for more detailed work the following day.

The purpose of this session is to explore strategies for accomplishing the goals and vision discussed the previous night. This will involve a presentation with case study examples and exercise to help the community identify components/assets of its local food system, where the community may like to
apply specific strategies. The session ends with a brainstorming session on next steps actions to prep for the afternoon session.


This final work session will identify specific actions and responsible parties, and finish any of the work products started in the morning. The results will be completed Action Planning tables that include specific actions for achieving the goal, along with timelines, milestones, financial and human resources, roles and responsibilities, and next steps. Emphasis will be on near term and implementable next steps needed to move forward. The session concludes with a plenary debrief, closing statements and next steps.

Community partners are Engine: Propelling the Creative Community, UNE Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition, Heart of Biddeford, TheFarm, Biddeford Economic Development Office, Biddeford High School Civil Rights Club and the Biddeford Schools Foundation.

Cities and towns across the country are undertaking new initiatives and strengthening current programs that support development and growth of local food systems while reinvesting in downtowns and existing neighborhoods. These efforts can help communities achieve multiple goals, such as:

• Keeping money spent on food within the local economy and creating new jobs in the region.
• Diversifying the local economy and sustaining or reinvigorating a region’s agricultural heritage.
• Increasing the vitality of a historic Main Street or an existing neighborhood, helping to attract reinvestment and growth to these areas.
• Revitalizing already-developed areas to reap environmental benefits.
• Reducing food insecurity and food deserts.

Nationwide, consumers are growing more interested in getting foods from producers in the same geographic region through farmers markets, community-supported agriculture, farm-to-school programs, and similar initiatives. Strong interest from communities prompted a group of federal agencies to offer assistance with a community-driven planning process that explores how to use the benefits of local foods to help revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods.