In the 1970s, with a degree in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic, Chellie Pingree started an organic farm on the island of North Haven, Maine. Selling produce to summer residents and raising sheep for wool turned into a thriving mail order knitting business that eventually employed ten people in her small community.
Chellie is still a small business owner today, owning Nebo Lodge and Restaurant on North Haven, which features locally grown food. In addition, she and her husband own and operate Turner Farm on the island, a diversified organic farm that provides produce, meat and cheese to Nebo Lodge and is sold at a farm stand and the local farmers market.
After serving on the local school board, and as the town’s tax assessor, Chellie went on to serve eight years in the Maine Senate, become the national CEO of Common Cause and in 2008 was elected to represent Maine in the United States Congress.
Chellie wrote the the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act—a comprehensive package of reforms to agriculture policy that will expand opportunities for local and regional farmers and make it easier for consumers to have access to healthy foods. Many of the provisions of Chellie’s bill were included in the Farm Bill, which was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
Food & Wine and Fortune Magazines listed Chellie as #2 on the list of the Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink in 2014.