Resources for a Just, Democratic, and Sustainable Maine Economy

Newsletter #41, January-March, 2003


181. Friends of Bigelow, 284 Ramsdell Rd.,Farmington, ME 04938, 778-0870,, which began in the 1970's to preserve Bigelow Mountain in western Maine, is fighting further development of the area by Central Maine Power and Western Mountain Corporation. It is seeking support in hearings around such development.

182. Harvest Fund, c/o Maine Initiatives, PO Box 2248, Augusta, ME 04338, 622-6294, of is a sub-fund providing small grants to groups working for a more sustainable food and agriculture sector. Contact for information on the next grant cycle.

183. Common Sense Independent, PO Box 408, Augusta, ME 04332, 395-2055 is an occasional newspaper focusing on economic security issues. I don't know how long this paper will last, but the first issue was a 28-page investigative series on the death of foster child Logan Marr. Very thorough.

184. Maine Time Dollar Network, 144 Cumberland Ave., Portland, ME 04101, 874-9868,, with satellite offices in Caribou, Rockland, Mount Desert Island, and Lewiston, offers people a way to obtain goods and services by giving time to others in exchange for receiving time and skills from others.

185. Portland Tenants Union, PO Box 4135, Portland, ME 04101, 774-9393,, is a united voice organizing and advocating for decent and affordable rental housing and more power for tenants in dealing with landlords. Regular meetings are held.


*In addition to serious budget problems, the state of Maine is also likely to address several topics in its next session:

--Universal health care and a single payer system (one form of universal). Strong proponents of this are Consumers for Affordable Health Care (800-838-0388) and Maine People's Alliance (797-0967);

--A moratorium on genetically engineered food grown or sold in Maine food stores. Leading this effort is Coop Voices Unite (359-4617 or 359-2282). Individuals connected to Greenpeace have been demonstrating outside Shaw's supermarket for that chain to stop selling genetically engineered foods.

--Requiring corporations to be more socially responsible. Lawyer Robert Hinkley (359-8396) has written an added clause in corporate charter law saying that corporations can make money "but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public safety, the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of its employees."

--Maintaining TANF and other welfare programs at levels sufficient for recipients to provide for their basic needs. Contact MAIN (947-4371) or Maine Equal Justice Project, 626-7058 x205.

*One success from the last session has gone into effect. Now anyone with an income below poverty level can qualify for the Maine Care (health coverage) program. Contact Maine Equal Justice (above) for details.


*Support the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project, which will aid Latino and African immigrants to create farming and business opportunities in Lewiston and other towns in Maine. Contact: Maine Rural Workers Coalition, 753-1922 or

*Organize a presentation of "Economics for Everyday People" done by Cynthia Phinney of IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Local 1837. She's available for unions, workers, or community groups. Contact her at 623-1030 or check out information at

*Take the Maine Coastal Watershed Pledge. A several point pledge encourages people to protect watersheds as they do each of the following: take care of their lawn, maintain septic systems, travel in cars, check runoff of water, minimize use of toxics, plant crops, live with animals and fish, and enjoy boating. For a copy of these simple suggestions to pledge to: Maine Coastal Program/Maine State Planning, 38 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333, 287-2351.


*I mentioned Mitch Lansky's old "Beyond the Beauty Strip" last time but forgot that he has a new book, "Low-Impact Forestry: Forestry as if the Future Mattered," published by the Maine Environmental Policy Institute. Lansky offers us a "how-to" guide to how to save our forests before they are all used up, using Low-Impact forestry. Order from MeEPI at 622-9766 or or from Chelsea Green publishers at 800-639-4099.

*Tim Caverly at PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), 723-4656 or has a new slide show on "The Allagash: A Wilderness at Risk." The slides give a history of the waterway and how it can be protected in the future.

*Recent article topics from the Maine Center for Economic Policy, 622-7381, include "Getting Real about the State's Finances" and "State of Working Maine 2002." Call for a copy or list of articles.

*"Maine Pick Your Own" is a list of sellers of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs from farmers in all 16 Maine counties. Get your list from or Maine Dept. of Agriculture, 28 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333 or

*Recent books from Maine's Common Courage Press include "A Job to Die For" (death and injury on the job) and "Battling Big Business" (overcoming corporate influence). Call 800-497-3207 or and order direct or get a complete list of titles.

*"Energy for Maine's Future" is a report from Mainewatch Institute, Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Maine Center for Economic Policy on more sustainable energy choices for the state. Contact NRCM for a copy, 800-287-2345 or or


January 11: Anti-racist actions and events in response to white supermacist gathering and attacks on Somali immigrants in Lewiston. Mark Schlotterbeck, 777-1980. Several events planned on that day and on Jan. 12, also Martin Luther King event on January 20.

January 11-12: Seed Saving Seminar (how to grow and save garden seeds), MOFGA Education Center, Unity. CR Lawn, Fedco Seeds, PO Box 520, Waterville, ME 04903, 873-7333 or www.growseed for registration and details.

January 12: Teach-in on issues of Iraq war, forest destruction, and prison issues, noon, St. Lawrence Community Center, Munjoy Hill, Portland, followed by 6 PM music celebration with several performers to benefit anti-prison work. Contact or 774-2801.

January 14: Organic Agriculture day at Agricultural Trades Show, Civic Center, Augusta. MOFGA, PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988, 568-4142, or

January 17: Bill Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins speak on their book, "Wealth and Our Commonwealth" at 7:30 AM (Mariner's Church, 368 Fore St., Portland) and 7 PM (First Congregational Church, 301 Cottage, S. Portland) on reducing the wealth gap. Maine Initiatives, 622-6294 or

January 25: Eighth Annual Changing Maine gathering of organizers and activists on theme of "Working in Our Local Communities," 8:30 AM-4 PM, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 209 Eastern Ave. (Route 17), Augusta. ROSC, PO Box 776, Monroe, ME 04951, 674-2358 or 525-7776,

February 5-6: Homelessness Marathon, based in Monument Square, Portland and broadcast live around the country. Karen D'Andrea, or Pam at 772-1371.

February 12: "Another World Is Possible" (reducing corporate power), video shown as part of Augusta Peace and Justice Film Series, 6 PM, Lithgow Library, Winthrop and State Sts., Augusta. Call Annie, 623-0427.

February 19: "More Fun, Less Stuff" video on consumerism and alternatives, discussion to follow, 6 PM, Free Library, Belfast. Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County, 338-4920.


A few trendy facts and figures from sustainable forestry advocate Mitch Lansky about Maine Forests:

--Clearcuts make up only 3% of all timber cut in Maine but heavy cutting in other areas means the forest is not regenerating;

--Industrial owners' share of Maine timberlands has declined from 7.3 million acres in 1995 to 5.7 million acres in 2001;

--About 57% of wood being cut is used for pulp, compared to 24% for lumber and about 20% for biomass;

--More than half of certain species (spruce-fir, yellow birch, maple) is being exported (mostly to Quebec) as whole logs without milling.


*Ask me for a copy of Coop America's "A Green Energy Future" resource list. A one-page list of good national groups.

*A good web site on economic rights is Kensington Welfare Rights Union's list of economic rights and how to document human rights violations.

*The Center for Popular Economics, 413-545-0743 or or offers institutes and other programs on economics so anyone can understand it.

Send more resources to: Larry Dansinger, Resources for Organizing and Social Change, PO Box 776, Monroe, ME 04951, (207) 525-7776,

Resources for Organizing and Social Change

PO Box 776

Monroe, ME 04951