Maine’s right-to-food amendment will be tested in new lawsuit over a Penobscot County business
Patty Wight
Maine Public
April 28, 2023

A home cook who wants to sell prepared meals out of her home is suing the state of Maine over “food freedom.”

The lawsuit has been filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund on behalf of Kenduskeag Kitchen.

The Fund’s executive director, Alexia Kulwiec, says Kenduskeag Kitchen was told by the state last December it had to shut down because it didn’t have a food establishment license. But Kulwiec says Maine’s recent food sovereignty law assures local authority is recognized.

“The way we read the state law, folks have, if their township passes this ordinance, they have the right to do this kind of work,” Kulwiec says. “And so, by not challenging it, I feel that the state will be able to come up with its own interpretation.”

Read more at MainePublic

Home-cooked meals business says state violated Maine’s right-to-food amendment
Gillian Graham
Portland Press Herald

The operators of a small home kitchen business in Penobscot County have sued the state after regulators ordered them to stop preparing meals for customers in the rural community because they lack a state license.

Kenduskeag Kitchen owner Rhiannon Deschaine and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund say the action violates Maine’s food sovereignty law and a constitutional right to food amendment adopted by Maine voters in 2021. They are asking the court to allow the business to resume sales of its gourmet carryout meals while the lawsuit makes its way through court.

The defense fund this week filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to allow Kenduskeag Kitchen to continue operating, according to the group. Included as plaintiffs are owners, Nathan and Rhiannon Deschaine and Frank Roma, a customer.

“Despite the small scale of the operation, the Deschaines take pride in their business and view the kitchen as an opportunity to provide their neighbors with nutritious, wholesome and, quite literally, home-cooked meals that bring together a constellation of local growers and producers, and that enhances their sense of purpose and service to the community,” the lawsuit says.

Read more at the Portland Press Herald