In November 2021, Maine became the first U.S. state to adopt a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to food. The amendment passed by a wide, bipartisan margin of 61% to 31% and states that "[a]ll individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing." Although many states have protected constitutional rights to hunt, fish, and farm, Maine’s constitutional amendment is the first to adopt such broad language enshrining food as an unalienable right. Prior to this amendment, the right to food was seen as an integral part of a standard of living but was not considered a standalone right. Although Maine’s right to food will have broad practical applications, its most impactful consequence may be its language officially designating the right to food as an essential human right.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice website on October 29, 2023. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Bedingfield, Tess, "Maine's Right To Food: A Symbolic Right Or A Practical Right?" (2023). ERSJ Blog. 56.