Sodexo has hired Maeve McInnis to serve as the first director of the company’s Maine Course program. Sodexo’s Maine Course, a statewide initiative created to prioritize serving local and sustainably harvested food at all of the company’s healthcare, education, government, and corporate client sites in Maine, was introduced in June 2015. The initiative includes partnering with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) to purchase 100% responsibly harvested whitefish from the Gulf of Maine by 2020. Sodexo made great strides in the first six months of the program, with several locations already meeting the 100% purchasing goal. To take this commitment to sustainable food sourcing and local economic impact to the next level, the company recently selected McInnis to lead its ongoing efforts.
McInnis will build on Sodexo’s sustainability foundation in the state by working with Maine producers to assist them in understanding and navigating the intricacies of the wholesale market. She will also work with vendors in the supply chain to help them access a larger customer base through established distribution networks. According to the state’s Agricultural Resource Development Division, there are 8,173 farms in Maine, which have a $1.2 billion impact on the state’s economy. In addition to her efforts to build relationships with Maine-based producers, McInnis will also focus on tracking progress and provide statistical analysis and data to drive action around efforts to support the Maine economy.
“I am most excited to forge relationships with local farmers and food producers in an effort to bring them into our supply-chain in a mutually beneficial manner,” McInnis said, explaining the positive impact these relationships can have on small, independent businesses. “Together, we can address some of the roadblocks that smaller growers and producers face to becoming a vendor for large institutions.”
McInnis, originally from Cape Neddick, ME and a current resident of Portland, earned a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management with a specialization in Food & the Environment from the Milano School of International Relations, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School in New York. Her passion for social justice, local food systems, and the environment make her the perfect person to lead this effort to serve more local food at a variety of sites throughout Maine.