Montville residents soon will decide if food sales from farms and other small producers without state inspection, commonly known as food sovereignty, will be allowed.

In June 2017, Maine legislators passed a law giving municipalities the right to adopt laws permitting farmers and other food producers to sell directly to consumers within their town. The law was later amended to exclude meat and poultry.

This law makes it easier for a small farmer to sell raw milk, cheese, cider, canned foods and vegetables, among other items, directly to consumers without state inspection. The law was introduced to encourage food self-sufficiency, according to published reports.

Montville native Bridget McKeen initially brought forward the notion of having the town adopt it's own food sovereignty ordinance. The language was changed slightly from the boilerplate standard used by other towns, according to McKeen.

"We the people of the town, have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms, and local food traditions," reads the preamble of the ordinance in the Montville warrant.

"…our right to a local food system requires us to assert our inherent right to self-government."

The purpose of the ordinance, according to the warrant, is to "ensure the preservation of family farms and traditional foodways through small-scale farming, food production, and community social events … improve the health and well being of citizens … by reducing hunger and increasing food security through unimpeded access to wholesome, nutritious foods by encouraging ecological farming"; also to "Promote self-reliance … enhance rural economic development … (and) protect access to local food through direct producer-to-consumer transactions."

Other towns that have adopted food sovereignty ordinances include Alexander, Appleton, Auburn, Bingham, Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Canton, Freedom, Greenwood, Hope, Isle au Haut, Liberty, Livermore, Madison, Moscow, Penobscot, Plymouth, Sedgwick, Solon and Trenton.