The National podcast FoodPrint recently released a new episode featuring MOFGA staff Sarah Alexander, executive director and Caleb Goossen, organic crop and conservation specialist. The episode, titled PFAS: The ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Your Food, features the discovery of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on Maine farmland and the work being done in the state to address PFAS contamination in our food system.
When the ubiquity of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl) chemical contamination of farmland in Maine made headlines last winter, MOFGA staff jumped into action. In partnership with Maine Farmland Trust, MOFGA created the PFAS Emergency Relief Fund, providing much needed financial assistance to farmers irrevocably impacted by PFAS contamination, and developed farmer programs to offer technical support and advocated for policy changes to “turn off the tap” on PFAS in Maine.
“So when I’ve had folks from the general public ask me about, you know, ‘Can I even eat food from Maine?’ And I sort of say, ‘I’d probably rather eat food from Maine than from elsewhere because we’ve started this investigation.’ We’ve already removed those most contaminated streams of food,” says Goossen.
The podcast also shares stories from Maine farmers affected by PFAS. Fred Stone of Stoneridge Farm, a dairy farm in Arundel, Maine, had been raising dairy cows on his land for more than 40 years, when he received a letter from the water district alerting him to high levels of PFAS in his aquifer. The host also speaks with Adam Nordell, who discovered PFAS contamination on his organic grain and vegetable farm, Songbird Farm in Unity, Maine, in 2021. Nordell is now a campaign manager for Defend Our Health, an organization focused on addressing PFAS contamination on Maine Farmland.