An Organic Farmer in Congress: Chellie’s Story

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (Maine-D) has a lot to say about local alternative farming, small farms, farmers markets and restaurants serving local produce. She has a lot to say and a lot to do with its resurgence. She believes the answer to current top-heavy industrialized problems lies in reviving local agriculture.

How does she know so much about food, farming and food politics? Let her tell you in this little-known TEDx talk – she’s been through it all. Let’s just say she has a reason to be passionate about farming. She remembers how a small percentage of local food provided Maine’s necessities – even Boston’s.

She says:

We don’t have to think up rocket science to do this again, but we do have to take on some big enemies. But the fact is, all we have to do is replicate the way we always did things here, and the way we want to do them again.

As of 2008, Chellie is serving Maine in the U.S. Congress. Previously, she served multiple terms in the Maine Senate.

On her website, she writes:

For 40 years, big business and big subsidies have defined American agriculture, replacing the small, diverse farms that fed our communities for generations. Where has it gotten us? Childhood obesity, bacterial outbreaks, dependence on foreign oil, and the loss of the family farm. I believe that the solutions to these problems lie in the revival of local agriculture. Find out more about my initiatives to reform our policies to support the local food movement that has proved so healthy for Mainers and their communities, including HR 1414, the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act.

TEDx description:

Chellie Pingree has been working in an around farms for the last 40 years. After being elected and serving on the local school board on North Haven Island in Maine, and as the town’s tax assessor, Chellie went on to serve eight years in the Maine Senate, and become the national CEO of Common Cause. In 2008 she was elected to represent Maine in the United States Congress. As a member of the Agriculture Committee in Congress, Chellie’s focus is reforming farm policy with interests of sustainable farmers and consumers in mind.

No one will agree with a politician’s stance or financial backers 100% – not at all – but maybe it would be a good idea to remember Chellie the next time an agricultural and food issue is on the floor?

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Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

Recent posts by Heather Callaghan:

Non GMO Survival Food Storage

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