About the Maine Hunger Dialogue

Increasing student retention and building strong connections with surrounding communities are two goals that all Maine High Schools and institutions of higher learning have in common. Food insecurity can have a direct impact on student retention. Students who are engaged in community service can greatly enhance the positive connections schools can have in their community. Together we will learn network and create innovative programs and projects to address food insecurity impacting high school and college students on their campuses or in their communities.

UMaine Extension, in collaboration with the Maine Campus Compact, has offered the Maine Hunger Dialogue (MHD) annually since 2014.

This year we join with the University of Maine who will host the Maine Hunger Dialogue and Climate Action Summit, Food Security and Food Waste as Factors in the Hunger Equation on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Wells Conference Center at the University of Maine, Orono, Maine.

Students and staff are welcome to join us in person. Together we will focus on Maine College student food insecurity, and through our learning, networking, and Mini-Grant program, support student-led programs and projects to fight food insecurity back on their campuses or in their communities.

Since 2014 the Maine Hunger Dialogue has been able to sponsor 55 Mini-Grants ($500 each) on campuses across Maine with generous support from Sodexo and the Maine 4-H Foundation. Examples of funded initiatives include:

  • Helping to initiate or expand campus food pantries and create resource hubs to provide food, hygiene, and clothing items for food insecure students
  • Create community gardens where students can learn to grow their own food and provide fresh produce to those who are experiencing food insecurity.
  • Develop food recovery and repurpose programs to reduce food waste on campus and provide it to those in need.
  • Provide for hunger alleviation educational initiatives such as the Colby College “Alternative Spring Break” where students visited and volunteered in a Lewiston youth center, a Portland food pantry and visited the Maine Works program which provides people facing barriers to workforce reentry with jobs.