Maine voters passed the nation’s first “right to food” constitutional amendment on Tuesday.
A statewide referendum asked voters if they favored an amendment to the Maine Constitution “to declare 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 was an experiment not tried before by any state.
Supporters used the campaign to make the case the amendment would ensure the right to grow vegetables and raise livestock in an era when corporatization threatens local ownership of the food supply. They positioned the amendment as a chance for Mainers to take control of the food supply back from large landowners and giant retailers with little connection to the community.
Opponents cast the drive as deceptively vague. They also said it represented a threat to food safety and animal welfare, and could encourage residents to try to raise cows in their backyards in cities like Portland and Bangor.
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