Sustainable Fishing


Mentor Monique Coombs and Maybach Protégé Amanda LaBelle


One Aspect of the Culinary Arts Mentorship Series is Sustainable Fishing. Through this project the Foundation supports Amanda LaBelle, who has been working the last five years with Maine’s coastal communities, most recently with individual fishermen and industry leaders in lobster, groundfish and other Maine fisheries, to promote the vitality of Maine’s coastal fishing communities while also working part time on farms in mid-coast Maine. She was mentored by Monique Coombs who has been working in local food, specifically seafood, for many years.

The project explored opportunities for integrating seafood into Maine’s local food systems and planning discussions, as well as looking at existing farm viability programming and agriculture business models to investigate where similar support could benefit Maine’s fishing industries. A goal was to bridge the gap between agriculture and fisheries in Maine.

The project ran from September 1, 2013 and will run through May 31, 2014. It was primarily based in the State of Maine.

The Protégé

Amanda earned a Masters of Public Administration from Cornell University. She has been active in the Maine Seafood Marketing Network, the Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute and Maine Food Strategies.

Mentorship Activities

Amanda recently attended the National Farm Viability Conference in Vermont, with sessions on food hubs and financing.

In addition, Amanda moderated and Monique spoke on a panel about innovations in food production and infrastructure in agriculture and fisheries at the Maine Fare 2013, an annual event hosted by the Maine Farmland Trust to celebrate Maine’s food and farm scene.

In December 2013 Amanda completed a year long program at the Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute sponsored by the Maine Association of Non-Profits.

She has been working closely with Slow Money Maine, a network of people and entities working to develop local food infrastructure in Maine and created a video presentation available to view on our video.

In March 2014, Amanda and her mentor Monique Coombs co-authored “ When is Seafood Local?” in National Fisherman, which looked at the differences between fishing and farming businesses in hope of moving the conversation from general inclusion of seafood in food systems in a more targeted approach.

Although the formal mentorship ended May 31, 2014, we look forward to following Amanda on her journey to promote sustainable fishing.

Project Components

  • leadership training in food movement
  • networking opportunities among farming and fishing constituents
  • access to sustainable farming and fishing programs
  • enhancement of business skills

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