Food AND Medicine was founded in 2002 in response to an avalanche of Trade Adjustment Assistance certified mill closures in Eastern Maine, which left some 3,000 union workers without jobs, healthcare, or social supports. As public consciousness of the reality of laid off workers grew, politicians, media, union members, and other concerned citizens all responded to assist union members by donating to give direct aid to laid off workers.
FAM emerged to provide direct support and began an aggressive and creative campaign to win health care benefits for these workers - the first ever benefits of this kind in the United States. FAM helped pass the Maine Jobs, Trade and Democracy Act.
Our name is partially inspired by the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike in Lowell, Massachusetts. This historic strike was crucial in the development of worker rights in the United States. The term “Bread and Roses” refers to the right of working people to have not only food and basic necessities (bread), but also nice things in life (roses).