Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hickman Assigned to Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

I am honored and absolutely thrilled to be assigned to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. I thank Speaker Eves and President Alfond for allowing me my first choice. A small organic farmer passionate about ending hunger with nutritious, safe, locally produced foods serving on the Ag Committee? Surely Russell Libby is smiling down from heaven. I hope to make a real difference for the people of the great state of Maine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

President's Remarks – 2012 Maine Electoral College, December 17, 2012


My name is Craig Hickman. We meet today to make official the outcome of the popular vote in the general election held on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012.

We, the members of the 2012 Maine Electoral College, thank you Mr. Secretary, Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, and assembled guests for your attendance here today to bear witness as we conduct this momentous task.

I thank my fellow electors for permitting me the privilege and honor of presiding over this historic gathering. I am most humbled.

In the words of the James Baldwin, my favorite American author:

“One must say YES to life and embrace it wherever it is found, and it is found in terrible places…”

And so, I shall tell you a story.


And it came to pass in those days that Hitler died in his Berlin bunker. One week later, during the second week of May nineteen hundred and forty six, Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally and the war in Europe ended.

In the first weeks of August, the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria. On the fourteenth day of August, Japan announced its surrender—so long as it could keep its emperor—and World War II, a most devastating war in terms of material destruction, global scale, and lives lost, ended.

Hazelle Hickman returned from the Philippines, where he had been stationed since nineteen hundred and thirty nine, and found that the country he’d left behind wasn’t too kind to Negro servicemen returning from war.

Hazelle came back through California with a few good men who trained at Tuskegee with him in nineteen hundred and thirty nine. After hanging out in the Arizona desert, he returned to Tennessee, to the city of Beale Street and barbeque, basement slow dances and jazz, three years before Elvis moved in from Tupelo, Mississippi.

Still, Hazelle couldn’t find work. And so it was on the fifteenth day of January in nineteen hundred and forty six that he went up from Memphis, Tennessee, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on a Greyhound bus.

“Mighty nice day for a bus ride,” said Hazelle looking up at the driver from the curb. “What’s your name, sir?”

“Frankie,” the driver responded.

“My name is Hazelle, but you can call me Mister Charlie.” His tone was respectful with a hint of sarcasm. Hazelle tipped his hat to Frankie, flashed his gold tooth and moved to the back of the bus.

And so he went up on a Greyhound to the beer capital of America where his one-and-only brother Willie Lee said it was easier for a Negro man to find work.

Hazelle the second son was born by a midwife to Lee and Emma Ball Hickman in Inverness, Mississippi, on February fourteenth, nineteen hundred and twenty.

Yes, he had a brother, but Hazelle was jazz’s fraternal twin. He may not have been born in New Orleans, but Hazelle and jazz grew up together in the nineteen twenties, matured in the thirties, and took to the world in the forties. Hazelle claimed to have met Bessie Smith, heard Louis Armstrong play live, and auditioned for one of Billie Holiday’s back-up singers in Harlem—all before entering the service at the age of eighteen.

And so it was that Hazelle entered the Army Air Force and concerned himself with the taking off and landing of airplanes. During the Second World War, he fixed the planes the Tuskegee Airmen piloted and became a plotter. When he got to Milwaukee, Hazelle pursued his dream to work at a civilian airport.

Dressed up sharp, Army Air Force papers in hand, Hazelle took the long trolley ride from Sixth and Vine streets, where he lived with his brother, through the south side to General Mitchell Field, Milwaukee’s municipal airport.

He had called ahead for the interview and over the phone, the hiring manager thought that Hazelle’s military plotting experience made him a very good candidate for the job of air traffic controller.

“Hazelle Hickman here to see Mister Black about the plotter job.”

The eyes of the bifocaled receptionist with the fire-engine pompadour and pale, freckled skin scanned his tweed pants, his matching jacket, his rust and brown tie with the gold slanted stripes, his silver hair, and his colored skin and replied, “You can have a seat. He’ll be right with you.”

Hazelle did what he was told, as he had for at least the last six years. Outside the window, he could see the two-engine prop planes rising and landing, rising and landing. Even though an emergency crash landing he’d endured during the war rendered him unwilling and unable to ever get inside those winged steel vessels again, airplanes would always deserve his wonder with their miraculous ability to defy the maw of gravity and take flight.

More than a dozen planes had come and gone, come and gone while Hazelle waited patiently for Mister Black to be right with him. Finally, the pale-skinned woman emerged from behind a windowed door on the other side of the waiting area.

“I’m so sorry that you’ve waited so long and that no one was able to call you before you came all this way. I’m so sorry, really I am. I wish I was able to help you, but the position was filled just today.” Her face flushed red as her mountain of hair. “You know what? Maybe I can help,” she continued, raising the pitch of her voice as though she’d made a remarkable discovery. “Consider this your lucky day. If you check downstairs in personnel, I know for a fact that there are several openings for second- and third-shift janitors.”

“Thank you, ma’am. You tell Mister Black there that I sure hope God blesses him.” He tipped his hat as he walked out the door. “You have yourself a real nice afternoon, now, ya hear?”

And so Hazelle became an interior decorator, a waiter, a cook, a chef, a house painter, and even pondered a career as a nightclub singer and recording artist—oh, how that tenor voice could croon!—before he began his thirty-plus year tenure in office services at the Pabst Blue Ribbon Company.

But before he met Pabst, he met the woman with whom he’d spend the rest of his life.

“I met her almost as soon as I got to Milwaukee. It was forty six and I couldna been here for more than a month. I went to a USO dance at the Pfister Hotel. They had these events for veterans every so often. They were social gatherings where all the beautiful young ladies might come out and give us handsome gentlemen a bit of their time and attention. It was one of the few events back in the day where black and white folk could mingle. They even had a big band. Live. You better believe couples were cuttin a rug, jitterbuggin all over that dance floor.

“I hadn’t yet picked out any beauties to test my toe and get my heart a-jumpin. Then my buddy, Smitty, stopped in the middle of our conversation and raised his eyebrows. He motioned for me to turn and look at the little bit of heaven standin just behind me with a smile on her face bright as a Mississippi mornin. I walked right over to her.

“‘Well, hello sunshine,’ I kinda half sung in my best Nat King Cole impersonation. If a colored girl could blush, her face woulda glowed hot as the Arizona desert.

“I reached for her hand. ‘Before you try kissing it,’ she said, pulling her hand gently away from the path to my lips, ‘why don’t you take me on the dance floor and introduce yourself properly.’

“How can a man with a heartbeat resist that? They say it only happens in fairy tales. At the first sight of her, the very first sight, I knew it was love. So I guess you could say our fairy tale started on the dance floor that very night.”


“I don’t know what Hazelle is talking about. You’d be better off listening to a fool. Pay him no never mind, you hear what I say to you? He’s always talking and don’t know what he’s even talkin bout. I did not ask him to dance. I did no such thing, I say to you. No such thing. I was sitting with my girlfriends on this long wooden bench, and your father came over and said something to me, but I wasn’t studying him one bit.

“But he wouldn’t leave me alone. Yeah, he was handsome and all, dressed up nice and sharp—think he was wearing a navy-blue suit—but I wasn’t really trying to be bothered. I only went because my girlfriend, Mattie, asked me to go with her. You know, she didn’t want to be alone.

“But he persisted and persisted, I say to you, and he just wouldn’t give up. Finally, we danced.

“Yeah, your father’s a good dancer. Real good. He danced me right into marrying him.”


That was a glimpse of my parents who, in the late 1960s, adopted my sister and me into their home and raised us as their very own. When my father departed this world on March 14, 2007, one month to the day after he turned 87, my parents had been married for 61 years.

61 years.

In 1998, they both attended my wedding. In his mellow voice, my father even sang “Ebb Tide”, my favorite love song, to bless our union. He told me not long after that someday he hoped his two sons might live in a place that recognized our marriage just as he recognized it.

Thanks to the good people of Maine, who have made history at the ballot box, his dream will come true.

Jop, thank you for loving me for the better part of 16 years and encouraging me to do all of this. You are the love of my life.

My father also hoped that someday his son would serve the public as an elected official.

Thanks to the good people of Winthrop and Readfield, his dream has come true.

Four years ago, when Elector Duson (Happy Birthday, young lady!) stood before this chamber and presided over the electoral vote to elect the first black President of the United States, I hoped that I would have a chance to do the same thing someday.

Thanks to the delegates to the Democratic State Convention, my fellow electors, and the good people of Maine, my dream has come true.

I wish my father, who took me to Harvard on a train, were here, though I’m certain he’s smiling down from heaven. I wish my mother, who turned 85 eleven days ago, were here, though I’m certain she’s offering up prayer from her nursing home in Milwaukee.

But a very special person is here. She’s sitting in the aisle a few rows up front my legislative desk, seat 122. Exactly 45 years and nine days ago, she pushed me into the world, named me Joseph Bernard White, and surrendered me for adoption. Eleven and a half years ago, at the age of 33, I showed up on her doorstep unannounced because I was determined to lay eyes on her. I just had to see her face. And so I did.

Today, she is here to see her firstborn and only son preside over the electoral vote to re-elect the first black President of the United States of America.

Surely a dream come true.

Mom, thank you for giving me life. For giving me to my parents. You are my birthmother—my first mother—and I will always love you.


Only in Maine. Where it doesn’t matter what you look like or who you love or how you walk or talk—it only matters what you do.

Only in Maine. The place where dreams come true.

I will close as I began with the rest of the James Baldwin quote, which, given the tragic events of last week, seems more timely now than ever:

“For nothing is fixed; forever and forever, it is not fixed. The earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fades, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us, and the light goes out.”

Thank you all for navigating the weather to witness this history.

Always treat one another with kindness.

Take care of your blessings.


Photo Gallery

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hickman To Preside Over Electoral College

Representative Craig V. Hickman to
Preside Over Electoral College
Public invited to attend the ceremony in the House Chamber or view streaming video online on Monday, December 17, 2012.

WINTHROP – Representative Craig Hickman of Winthrop will preside over the Electoral College for the State of Maine on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 2:00 p.m., in the Chamber of the Maine House of Representatives. Secretary of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. will convene the Electoral College, which will conduct the official balloting for the President and Vice President of the United States of America. The balloting is a public proceeding and the press and public are invited to attend or view the ceremony online at

The popular vote on November 6, 2012 determined who would serve as Maine 's four Presidential electors. The electors then convene and vote for the President and Vice President. A brief explanation of the mechanics of Maine 's Electoral College is available on the Secretary of State's website at

This year's Presidential Electors in Maine are:

First District – Diane Denk, Kennebunk
Second District – Marianne Stevens, Kingfield
At-Large – Representative Craig Hickman, Winthrop
At-Large – Jill Duson, Portland

Maine’s electors have nominated Representative Hickman to be President of the Electoral College and he will address the convention.

Four years ago, I witnessed Maine’s electors cast their votes in a historic ceremony at the State House,” Hickman said. “Jill Duson, the first black mayor of Portland, addressed the convention. I was so inspired I told myself I wanted a chance to do that someday. Now it is upon us and I can hardly believe it.”

Electors of all 50 states and the District of Columbia will convene on this day in their respective states to cast their ballots. Each state will report its results to the President of the United States Senate, the Archivist of the United States, the Chief Judge of their District Court, and their Secretary of State. A majority of the 538 electoral votes is required to become President and Vice President.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Oath Of Office

Representative Craig V. Hickman of Winthrop takes the Oath of Office on December 5, 2012 in the chamber of the Maine House of Representatives. Photo by Christine Johnson Higgins. For more photos of the swearing-in ceremonies, click here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Elections Have Consequences

Elections have consequences. All over the great state of Maine and the United States, voters elected candidates who campaigned on protecting the middle and working classes by allowing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest among us to expire. The President of the United States was one of these candidates. Compromise is required, but it's time to stop playing politics with people's lives. We the people sent our representatives to Washington to address our nation's challenging finances with common sense. Restoring tax rates on the most wealthy to a time when the nation looked prosperity in the face makes sense. Protecting the services that prevent our most vulnerable citizens from becoming destitute makes sense. We must simply ask our representatives to do the work of the people without drama or delay.

—Rep. Craig Hickman, Winthrop, Maine

Saturday, December 1, 2012

From the Bottom of My Heart

If you had told me as recently as three years ago that I would be elected to serve the good people of Winthrop and Readfield in the Maine House Representatives, I would have said you were dreaming.

I’ve pinched myself over and over again and, yes, it’s still true: the good people of Winthrop and Readfield have voted to send me to Augusta. Which is exactly what the official greeting above that came in the mail yesterday proclaims.

I can’t thank you enough. I congratulate Scott Davis for running a positive campaign and wish him and his family all the best. I thank Representative and Senator-elect Pat Flood for his extraordinary service over the last eight years and wish him well in his new office.

As your state representative, I hope to make a real difference. I will do my best.

It’s been three weeks since the election and I still experience spontaneous outbursts of laughter. Sheer joy comes in waves.

Image from Americans Who Tell The Truth

In 1972, Gerald E. Talbot, activist, historian, archivist, and author, became the first African American elected to the Maine House of Representatives. In 1977, he became Maine’s first lawmaker to sponsor legislation upholding the civil rights of all Mainers. He also ushered through to passage a bill to remove the word “nigger” from 12 Maine place-names, including Nigger Hill Winthrop, known today as the Metcalf Road.

In December 2008, thirty years after Talbot’s storied legislative career ended, he squeezed my elbow in the Chamber of the House of Representatives following the Electoral College ceremony to elect the nation’s first African American President.

“Someday,” Talbot said matter-of-factly, “you’re going to be sitting in one of those chairs.”

I shook my head. I wasn’t so sure. Well—here we are. His words have come to pass. And I’m still stunned.

On Tuesday, November 27, when dropping off forms at the State House, I received my first piece of mail. It was a hand-written card from Representative Talbot.

Emotion crashed over me like surf.

Without your overwhelming support, I’d never have received this extraordinary opportunity. This tremendous honor. I can’t thank you enough.

Father & Son 2001

Surely, my father, the late Hazelle Hickman, is dancing a jig in heaven. My mother is bragging all around her nursing home in Milwaukee. My biological father is celebrating in Florida and my birth mother is cheering in Georgia.

To my biological great grandmother, my birth mother's paternal grandmother, Madree Penn White, Howard University graduate and co-founder of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, poet, publisher, and small business owner—this one’s for you.

Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Legislature of the State of Maine will be sworn in on Wednesday, the fifth of December at ten o’clock in the morning. The proceedings are free and open to the public. I invite you to join me in this historic occasion.

I am most humbled.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Take care of your blessings.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


The voters of Readfield and Winthrop just elected me to the Maine House of Representatives with 2,915 votes. Scott Davis, who ran a positive campaign, finished with 2,057 votes.

I'm beside myself.

Surely, my father is dancing a jig in heaven. My mother wants pictures so she can brag about it at her nursing home in Milwaukee. My biological father is dancing a jig in Florida. My birth mother is cheering in Georgia.

I can't yet describe what it means to me. Now, my eyes won't stop raining.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Click image to enlarge

I believe in growing things,
and in the things
which have grown and died

I believe in people
and in the simple aspects
of human life,
and in the relation of man
to nature.

I believe man
must be free,
both in spirit and society,
that he must
build strength into himself,
affirming the
enormous beauty of the world
and acquiring
the confidence to see
and to express
his vision.

—Ansel Adams


I was adopted by strong, proud, God-fearing, hard-working parents who faced discrimination and struggled to put food on the table for their children. Still, they taught us that we have a moral obligation to share what we have with those who have even less. That we must humbly serve our communities.

Every single day, I work tirelessly for the people to try and make this community a better place. We need policies in Augusta to enhance this work: less regulation on family farms and small businesses; a comprehensive food policy ensuring all people—especially children, veterans, and seniors—have access to wholesome food; energy policy that protects our precious natural resources; investments in education, infrastructure, and worker training. We must lift people up, make work pay a wage you can raise a family on, and grow the middle class.

I’d like to plant the seeds for this vision in the Maine House.

I humbly ask for your vote.

I’ll keep working hard for you.

Every single day.


Hickman is the son of a Tuskegee Airman and a wise woman. He’s also a Harvard graduate, President of the Rotary Club of the Winthrop Area, National Poetry Slam champion, award-winning author, chef, and founder of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog. He grows the best collards, tomatoes, okra, beets and butternut squash around. People call his eggs magic. He’ll bring his unparalleled passion for life and his strong, independent voice to Augusta to fight for the people of Maine and move us toward prosperity.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hickman Epitomizes a Productive Community Member

"As a very conservative person, my politics more often than not fall on the Republican side of issues. Trying to separate the person from the politics is difficult. I never knew who Craig Hickman was until my wife told me that she bought eggs from his farm. I knew Craig's farm better than I knew him. My uncle married the daughter of one of its previous occupants so I spent a fair amount of time helping out there when I wasn't busy on the Cobb Farm. It wasn't until I read an essay in the local paper that I wondered who Craig Hickman really was. The essay was about closing the local hot meal kitchen. My grandmother Marion Cobb cooked in the hot meal kitchen since its inception until she physically could no longer help. In response, Craig opened his farm and his kitchen to anyone that was hungry and had no idea where the next meal was coming from. I knew Grandma would have done the same. By transcending the politics of a church that he doesn't even belong to, he created a ripple effect that ultimately resulted in the reopening of the hot meal kitchen. My grandmother would be proud of Craig. We have since become friends and he is proving to be a selfless individual with his time and efforts. He epitomizes a productive community member. I am proud to know him. He has my vote."

— Justin Cobb, Winthrop

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Food Is Life: Remarks to Students at Maranacook Community School, October 20, 2011

I want to thank Pat Stanton, dean of students, for inviting me to speak for your Make A Difference general assembly today. I’m so tired, my legs can hardly hold me up, but here I am. It’s hard to turn down an opportunity to speak to young people who inspire with their commitment and desire to feed people. I'm honored to be here.

A wise man once said, “There’s a hunger beyond food that’s expressed in food, and that’s why feeding is always a kind of miracle.”

There’s a hunger beyond food that’s expressed in food, and that’s why feeding is always a kind of miracle.


Back when I was a kid in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, our family struggled to make ends meet. My father worked the first shift at Pabst Blue Ribbon Company in the mail room. A World War II veteran with little education, he was basically the company mailman. My mother held a string of part-time jobs to help put food on the table for their two children. As hard as they both worked, and they worked hard, we needed food stamps in order to survive. Still, my parents made clear in both word and deed that no matter how little we had, someone else had less and we needed to help them however we could.

I’ll never forget the day. I was about three or four years old when a young girl who smelled of dried urine knocked on our door. My father was at work, my sister at school. My mother let the girl in and escorted her to the bathroom where she drew a bath for the girl, who couldn’t have been more than 12 years old. After bathing her, my mother gave her a blouse and a pair of pants and sat her down at the kitchen table for a steaming bowl of Cream of Wheat, bacon and toast. I couldn’t believe how fast the girl devoured it all. It was an image that stuck with me, like good preaching. She ate another bowl of cereal and then my mother let her take a nap on the couch. Later, when it was time for her to leave, my mother handed the girl a brown paper bag with a change of clothes and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich inside.

I couldn’t count how many girls came knocking on our door over the next months, but they came nonetheless. My mother cared for each of them in almost the exact same way, like ritual. Our home was a stop on an underground railroad for throwaway girls.

It’s no surprise, then, that I would turn my current home into place where anyone, no matter their need, can come at any time, no questions asked, and receive food.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire community to feed an entire community.


Food is life.

When I first made the community aware a year ago that free food was available at the farm 24-7, I heard all sorts of caveats and concerns. “What if someone takes all the fresh food from your farm stand and goes out and sells it?” Where is the love in that question? “Then I guess they need the money to make their rent or pay their mortgage,” I replied. “How can you be so sure that the people who take it really need it if you don’t ask any questions?” You can’t.

But so what.

Last Wednesday, during preparations for the Hot Meal To-Go at Annabessacook Farm that the Winthrop Hot Meal Kitchen provides each Wednesday until we can find a permanent home to provide food and fellowship for people each weekday, a woman called to ask if we still had half a bushel of tomatoes to sell. Her voice sounded vaguely familiar, but I didn’t recognize whose it was. I told her we did and asked her what she wanted them for. “Canning,” she said. “Then we have some left to sell,” I replied. It’s late in the year and tomatoes have pretty much gone by, but we were lucky enough in recent weeks to harvest another three bushels perfect for canning because most of our plants grew in a greenhouse film-covered tunnel in the middle of the field behind the barn.

“How much are you asking for them?” she asked timidly. From her tone, I sensed she had need.

“How much are you offering?”

“10 bucks,” she replied, a question mark still in her voice.

“Perfect. Do you know where we are?”

“Oh, yes. I’ll be over this afternoon.”

Hours later, a woman walked up to the door, a woman I hadn’t seen since last summer. From September through November, she came once or twice a week and purchased pounds of Swiss chard, bushels of tomatoes, cartons of squash. She was preparing for winter and I was honored she chose our farm to buy the food she would process for her family.

“I haven’t seen you in a long time.”

“I’m unemployed now.” The look on her face broke my heart.

“Was it you who called earlier about tomatoes?”

She nodded. I nearly lost it. I wouldn’t call her my friend – we don’t hang out and do stuff together or anything – but she’s certainly my neighbor. I knew she worked for the State of Maine and with all the recent budget cuts, it didn’t surprise me that she’d lost her job. I also knew she had a big extended family to feed and here she was on my doorstep knowing we give away food but offering to buy a half bushel of tomatoes nonetheless.

I tried not to be awkward. I’m not sure I succeeded.

“Um. Well. It’s Wednesday and we offer a free hot meal today in addition to the fresh veggies. Would you like one?”

She shook her head, eyes cast down at the ground upon which we stood.

“We’ll, I’ll be insulted if you don’t take some of this food I cooked, so here.” She obliged. I gave her four meals, asked her to put them in her car and meet me in the garage so I could show her where the tomatoes were.

She handed me the 10 bucks before walking to her car. I didn’t refuse the money because I’ve been poor and hungry and it still never felt right to me to take anything for free since I was lucky enough to always have a few dollars to give. Clearly, she felt the same way. I didn’t want to insult her either.

After we showed her which box to fill up with organic tomatoes, my godson and I left her alone in the garage where all of our fall harvest is stored. Winter squash and pumpkins. Melons, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and beets. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, onions and leeks.

We sat in the kitchen and watched her through the window put the box of tomatoes in her car. Then she went back and got two more boxes of something else. That made my heart sing.

And so it was that a woman in need called on a hot-meal Wednesday offering to buy tomatoes so she wouldn’t feel shame about coming to receive the food she needed. That’s called pride. And I know there are lots of people like her who would never use a traditional food pantry they’d have to sign-in for because their pride simply wouldn’t allow it.

When she was leaving, she saw my godson and expressed her gratitude with a smile. “Tell Craig thanks so much for everything.”

If you saw her walking down the street, you probably wouldn’t think she was hungry. That she needed food. You can’t always tell. You just can’t. You can’t ever be sure the level of need a person has, but know this: everyone has a right to food so we must make sure we don’t keep anyone from the table. No one among us should go hungry for a single day. Put another way: we cannot allow a single person among us to go hungry for a single day.


Now make no mistake, feeding people isn’t a selfless act. We’re only as strong as the least among us, so if one person is hungry, we’re all hungry. Moreover, the miracle of feeding people that the wise man I mentioned earlier spoke of happens as much inside the person giving the food as it does in the person receiving it. That’s how love works. The act of giving brings me joy. Pure joy.

Sometimes I happen to be in the music room in the front of the house when I see someone through the window gathering food off the farm stand by the side of the road. Much of the food there disappears in the middle of the night so if I catch a chance during the day, I always stay and watch until they’re finished. What will they take? What do they like to eat? What do I need to grow more of next year? I’ll watch them fill up a bag and drive away. Sometimes a person will sample something – a string bean or a cherry tomato – and decide it’s not sweet enough or firm enough and they’ll choose something else. Sometimes I feel like I’m spying on them, but hey, they can’t see me inside, it’s all out in the open anyway, so I get over myself and allow my writer’s curiosity to win out. When I watch a hungry person or a person in need have a chance to actually choose what they take to eat, I smile then. Or laugh out loud, rain falling from my eyes.


Food is life. People who want to live need to eat. And there’s no reason whatsoever why we can’t come together as a community and feed them. I’m going to say that again:

People who want to live need to eat. And there’s no reason whatsoever why we can’t come together as a community and feed them.

So go, young people. Go. Out into the community and collect as many pounds of food as you can collect for the agencies in your community that feed the people.

Food is life.

Now go. Make miracles.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thank You

I'm still speechless and can't say much more than thank you from the bottom of my heart for your overwhelming support in the primary election yesterday.

We received 757 votes, 78% of the votes cast in the Democratic primary.

You have no idea.

Congratulations to Mr. Cookson and his team for running a fine campaign.

On to November....

Friday, June 8, 2012

Vote Hickman

June 12th

As owner of Annabessacook Farm Organic Farm Stand and Bed & Breakfast, I believe small businesses and family farms are burdened with expensive regulations designed to help corporations drive them out of business. I've managed start-ups, directed human resources, operations, and marketing departments. I've been a sole proprietor and a partner. I know small businesses and small farms like the back of my hand. I will fight to change burdensome regulations so small businesses and farms can once again compete on an even playing field and create the jobs we need right here in Maine.

As an advocate for sustainability, I believe Maine should harness the power of the wind and the sun to produce renewable energy and end our addiction to fossil fuels. We'll protect Maine's enthralling beauty, attract more tourism, boost our economy, and create new jobs.

As an organic farmer, I believe locally grown food is national security. I'll work to reform the Maine food code and develop related food policy to make more healthy options available for ourselves and our children every school day. Access to wholesome food is a right for every citizen. We cannot allow a single one of us to go hungry for a single day. Maine has all the natural resources and the hard-working, independent-spirited people to grow, catch, trap, process and distribute enough food to feed our people and strengthen our local economy. Let's stop importing more food than any other state in the contiguous 48. Local food means local jobs.

As an artist and author, I'll leave you with my favorite quote from James Baldwin, my favorite writer and thinker who told us that the role of the artist is to tell us who we are. Given what we face as a state after the last legislative session, I believe it's timely. And necessary:

"One must say Yes to life and embrace it wherever it is found--and it is found in terrible places... For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us, and the light goes out."

If you believe Maine needs a man in the legislature with a strong voice and a vision for our future, then please go to the polls on Tuesday, June 12 and cast your vote for Craig Hickman.

Thank you. Take care of your blessings.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hickman in the Electoral College

Winthrop Democrat Elected Presidential Elector at State Convention

WINTHROP — Craig Hickman, vice chair of the Winthrop Democrats and two-time candidate for the Maine House of Representatives, was elected as one of Maine’s Democratic Presidential Electors at the party’s state convention this past weekend. The state delegation also elected Diane Denk of Kennebunk, Jill Duson of Portland, and Marianne Stevens of Kingfield to fill out the slate of the party’s four Electors.

“It’s taking me a long time to wrap my mind around it all,” said Hickman. “I’m humbled to have been chosen for this great, great honor. As a member of the Electoral College, my name—my father’s name—will be etched in history. Somewhere in heaven, my father is dancing a jig.”

Eight Winthrop delegates joined Hickman and about 1,500 delegates from around the state at the Augusta Civic Center to settle on a platform, choose delegates to the Democratic National Convention on Labor Day weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, select Democratic electors to the Electoral College, and elect Maine representatives to the Democratic National Committee. Rita Moran, chair of the Kennebec County Democratic Committee, was elected to the national delegation, as was Hickman. Both were delegates to the national convention in 2008 as well.

This was the first time Hickman ran for Presidential Elector. “Four years ago, I witnessed Maine’s Electors cast their votes in a historic ceremony at the State House,” he said. “Jill Duson, the first black mayor of Portland, addressed the convention. I was so inspired I told myself I wanted a chance to do that someday. Now, I’m one step closer and I can hardly believe it.”

According to Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution, along with the 12th Amendment and Maine statutes pertaining to presidential elections, voters will elect Maine’s Presidential Electors in the November general election. Electors then convene on December 18th at 2:00 pm in the Maine House Chamber to cast their votes for President and Vice President of the United States. The ceremony is open to the public.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Red Bordeaux and Yellow Collard Flowers, May 29, 2012

by Christine Higgins, Readfield

The colors on the farm were extensive today, with the promise that bright intensity brings to the future.

Inside the smaller greenhouse, the Red Bordeaux spinach was beginning to bolt. It seemed like a short time ago that Craig was planting, and now the plants are making seeds for the future. Yellow blossoms on collard greens contrast with the warm red barn siding. Orange azaleas float their colors against the green –brown cattails. Soft green leeks and garlic are seen through the profusely blooming pink crab apple. Nature’s palette potential is everywhere.

Con Leche has delivered a new kid to the goat herd. Although the littlest, Kale spent her time frolicking at will; bouncing on the other goats with abandon and clambering onto her mother’s back. She clearly enjoyed the sound of her hooves on the tin roofing and jumped into the air, kicking her heels high. Some of the other kids are now chewing on the smaller carrot pieces I bring, while still nudging their mothers for milk.

Craig has only a few weeks to go before the primary campaign and is busy making signs at voters’ requests. He understands that personal endorsements mean voters are looking for what he has to offer as a representative and is working hard to honor those requests.

If elected, I feel that the stewardship he shows for the land will extend to his constituents. Planting more seeds for the future...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We Can Do Better

Craig Hickman Announces Another Bid for the State House

WINTHROP — Craig Hickman, organic farmer, small business owner, chef and author, is making another bid to serve the residents of Readfield and Winthrop in the Maine House of Representatives.

“I’m stepping up again because I want to take the work I’m doing in the community to the next level and serve the people in the Legislature,” said Hickman. “When I ran last time, I said I didn't want to sit on the sidelines but I know you don't have to run for the Legislature to do something for your community. However, in order to create lasting change in our communities, we need policy in Augusta that enhances the work we do on the ground.”

Inspired by his father, a Tuskegee Airman who worked first shift in the mailroom at Pabst Brewing Company for 30 years after the war, and his wise mother who held a string of part-time jobs to help put food on the table, he has spent most of his life serving his community and feeding people. He is President of the Rotary Club of the Winthrop Area and Secretary of the Winthrop Hot Meal Kitchen. He has also served on the boards of the Annabessacook Lake Improvement Association, Maranacook Local Foods Buying Club, Theater at Monmouth, and Washburn-Norlands Living History Center.

“We can do better. When 1 in 5 children go to bed hungry every night, we must do better. When the government thinks pink slime is food and pizza is a vegetable, we must do better. When our teachers don’t have the resources to provide a world-class education for our children, we must do better. When parents can't afford to send their kids to college and the ones who graduate are saddled with decades of debt, we must do better. When energy policy intensifies our addiction to fossil fuels while our winters continue to warm and farmer's struggle with drought, we must do better. When the tax code rewards giant corporations and the wealthiest among us at the expense of small farms, small businesses and Maine’s hardest-working families, we must do better. When our representatives tamper with voting laws instead of creating jobs and restoring a strong middle class, I know Maine can do better.”

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hickman was the first member of his family to graduate from college when he received an honors degree in government from Harvard University. He lives in Winthrop with MaineGeneral Health physical therapist Jop Blom. They own and operate Annabessacook Farm, a bed and breakfast and CSA farm that raises organic produce and hosts the Winthrop Community Gardens, a fresh food bank, and provides free hot meals once a week for people in need. His work feeding people earned him a Spirit of America Foundation Award from the town.

“To be sure, Representative Pat Flood will be a tough act to follow, but if the voters of Readfield and Winthrop give me the chance to try to fill his shoes, I promise I’ll do my best. If you believe we need a lawmaker in Augusta who listens, who stands up for what he believes, who thinks outside the box and offers creative solutions for our toughest challenges, a lawmaker who will work tirelessly for the people and never be for sale, then it’s time we step up again. I’d be humbled to represent you.”

Hickman can be reached at 377-FARM or