Sikwani Dana is a high school science teacher and, with Nathan Dana, is creating the Dana Homestead in rural Maine. In 2018 Sikwani and Nathan purchased a hunting cabin in the woods, and they have been working to turn it into an off-grid homestead. Their house is completely run by solar power and heated by wood in the winter. They are building the soil in their garden and keeping bees. Sikwani is Penobscot, a tribe that is part of the Wabanaki Confederacy. Many of the rural living skills that Sikwani and Nathan use at their homestead they learned from Sikwani’s parents, Barry and Lori. “It is because of them I have made my life as environmentally friendly and sustainable [as possible]”, says Sikwani. Sikwani’s father, Barry Dana, is a former chief of the Penobscot Tribe. “My dad has done an incredible amount of work towards educating the Wabanaki people of Maine about why to have a garden, how to have a garden, food sovereignty and the knowledge that has been passed down from our ancestors.”
Hickman is an organic farmer, small business owner, chef, poet and author. He is wrapping up his fourth term in the Maine Legislature where he has served as house chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. In his service as an elected official he has championed food sovereignty, food security, food freedom, food processing infrastructure investments and other efforts to protect Maine’s small family farms and promote rural economic development. Hickman has also served on numerous community organizations and, in 2011, received the Spirit of America Foundation Award for Community Service. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hickman moved to New England to attend Harvard University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in government. He and his spouse, Jop Blom, live in Winthrop, where they own and operate Annabessacook Farm, a sustainable farm raising organic produce, dairy and livestock. They also host the Winthrop Community Gardens and a fresh food bank for anyone in need.
Sabina serves as outreach and communications director at Maine Farmland Trust (MFT). After graduating from Bates College with a degree in history, and with several summers of farming and fisheries work under her belt, Sabina spent years away from Maine, working for food- and farm-related businesses and nonprofits in Vermont and Washington. She moved back to her home state in 2013 to work with MFT and lives in the small town of Morrill. When not amplifying the stories of MFT’s work and of Maine farms, Sabina can be found in the garden, exploring Maine’s mountains and coastlines, or in the fields of the tiny flower farm she co-owns, Half Hitch Flowers.
Spector lives on a small farm in Jefferson with her husband and baby. She works as a fundraiser and donor organizer at Thousand Currents, a small foundation supporting work at the intersections of climate justice, food sovereignty and building alternative economies. Prior to moving to Maine, Jessie was the executive director at a national non-profit focused on racial and economic justice and continues to serve as a consultant for organizations working to integrate a stronger framework and practice of equity and justice. She has served on the boards of Jewish Voice for Peace and the Markham-Nathan Fund for Justice.
Ben grew up on a small farm in central Missouri. They raised beef cattle and grew corn and soybeans. That hilly, forested land of brush and trouble instilled in him a lifelong love of the outdoors. Currently, Ben works as senior staff attorney for The Wilderness Society and also runs a boutique law practice specializing in risk management. Formerly, he practiced law at the Maine Advocacy Center of the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) focusing on agriculture, climate change, and clean energy policy and litigation. He launched CLF’s Legal Food Hub in Maine in 2015 offering pro bono legal assistance to income-eligible farmers, food entrepreneurs, and food-related organizations and hosting dozens of legal workshops for the agricultural community. As he has for the past 20+ years, Ben stays connected to the field of experiential education, teaching emergency medical courses for remote environments with NOLS Wilderness Medicine. He lives in New Gloucester, serves on several nonprofit boards around Maine, and is humbled to work with the dedicated people at MOFGA.