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Pingree Announces $300K USDA Grant for UMaine to Build Agricultural Resiliency through Culinary Training

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the University of Maine a $300,000 grant to build agricultural literacy through immersive culinary experiences for Maine’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Culinary Arts Instructors, encouraging use of Maine grown, processed, and produced foods in their programs and careers. 

“Maine is nationally lauded for the quality of our food and restaurant sector: almost 64,000 Mainers work in restaurants,” said Pingree. “This federal investment will encourage agricultural literacy for culinary teachers and instructors and bridge the gap between agriculture and food service, growing a skilled workforce with a deep connection to Maine’s farming traditions and enhancing opportunities for Maine’s local farmers and food businesses. As a member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I’ll use this example to continue my advocacy for these key funds.”

The grant funding is provided by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to increase the usage of Maine agricultural products. UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Ag in the Classroom will collaborate to educate CTE Culinary Arts Instructors through a week-long Immersive Culinary Arts Summer Institute. Project activities include: hands-on experience in local food procurement practices, demonstrations of food system lessons, educational field trips, financial support for experiential activities through their existing school restaurants, participation in a University of Maine Local Foods Competition, and coaching during the school year. 



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