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What is Farm to School?

Farm to School enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. Farm to school implementation differs by location but always includes one or more of the following core elements: 

Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test
Education: Students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition
School gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.
 

National Farm to School Network

The National Farm to School Network is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing, school gardens and food and agriculture education into schools and early care and education settings. The mission of the National Farm to School Network is to increase access to local food and nutrition education to improve children’s health, strengthen family farms, and cultivate vibrant communities.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is a National Farm to School Network Montana Supporting Partner.

Montana Farm to School Network

Farm to school is rapidly growing in Montana despite a short growing season and long distances between towns. Through partnerships, networking, and a strong dose of Montana-style resourcefulness, schools throughout the state are overcoming barriers to serve local foods, provide farm to school education, and grow school gardens. The state is home to many farm to school partnerships and programs, including:

The Montana Farm to School Leadership Team works through partnerships across the state to build farm to school initiatives that help kids eat healthy, connect kids with agriculture and nutrition through education, support Montana farmers and food producers, foster economic vitality, and strengthen communities. This team is formed of agencies and organizations with statewide focus and influence that are key to the success of farm to school in Montana. The Montana Department of Agriculture is a member of the Montana Farm to School Leadership Team.

Montana is still home to more cattle than people, so it makes sense that schools throughout Montana are serving local beef in their school meals. The Montana Beef School Coalition works together to help schools serve Montana beef in school meals. The coalition studies successful programs and in 2016 published the Montana Beef to School Case Study Report. 

The Montana Harvest of the Month program showcases Montana grown foods in Montana schools and communities. Each month, participating K-12 schools and after school programs (early care and education programs will be included soon) focus on promoting one locally grown item (e.g., winter squash) by serving it in at least one meal or snack, offering taste tests to students, and doing educational lessons and activities.

Montana Farm to School Summit

August 11 - 12, 2021 in Helena, MT

Learn and share how Montana schools and programs are cultivating success through the core elements of farm to school--serving local foods, school gardens, and nutrition, agriculture, and food education. Workshops, field trips, and networking opportunities will provide inspiration and skill building. The conference will feature national and Montana farm to school champions who will share their stories and experiences. The summit will feature Montana Harvest of the Month successes and resources.  

Register for the Montana Farm to School SummitClick here to view the agenda

Click here to register

Click here to view the Farm to School Summit website


Lentils: Montana Harvest of the Month

Montana Ag News

USDA Disaster Assistance is Available for 2021 Livestock Forage Losses in 14 Montana Counties

Affected producers are encouraged to contact local FSA offices for more information

USDA Disaster Assistance is Available for 2021 Livestock Forage Losses in 14 Montana Counties

Livestock producers in 14 Montana counties are eligible to apply for 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) benefits on small grain, native pasture, improved pasture, annual ryegrass, and forage sorghum.

The following Montana counties have triggered the 2021 LFP drought criteria: Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Phillips, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley and Wibaux. Producers must complete a CCC-853 and the required supporting documentation no later than January 31, 2022, for 2021 losses.

For additional information about LFP, including eligible livestock and fire criteria, producers should contact their local FSA office.

Public Meeting Notice: Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council Meeting - July 28th

Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council will meet July 28th in Phillipsburg

Public Meeting Notice: Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council Meeting - July 28th

The Montana Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council will meet on July 28, 2021 from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. in Phillipsburg, MT. An agenda will be posted soon. 

For more information, please contact Greta Dige, Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant Coordinator, at (406) 444-7882 or Greta.Dige@mt.gov.  

 

Gov. Gianforte Issues Executive Order Declaring Disaster in Five Eastern Counties

Disaster declared in five Eastern MT counties: Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Richland, and Roosevelt

Gov. Gianforte Issues Executive Order Declaring Disaster in Five Eastern Counties

Governor Greg Gianforte issued an executive order declaring a disaster in five Eastern Montana counties: Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Richland, and Roosevelt.

On June 10, 2021, a series of severe thunderstorms – with hail as large as three inches in diameter, recorded wind speeds of 70-90 mph, and winds up to 115 mph – caused damages to over 800 power poles and lines across the East Central portion of Montana.

With the disaster declaration issued, the State of Montana will proceed with requesting federal disaster assistance on behalf of the affected counties and electric cooperatives.

The governor’s executive order may be found here.

Documents to download

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 22nd

MT Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually on Tuesday, June 22nd at 2:00 PM

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 22nd

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, June 22nd beginning at 2:00 p.m.

To receive meeting information, please contact Dani Jones at Danielle.Jones@.mt.gov.

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 14th

MT Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually June 14th at 9:00 AM

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 14th

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually via Zoom on Monday, June 14th beginning at 9:00 a.m.

To receive meeting information, please contact Dani Jones at Danielle.Jones@.mt.gov.

Marty Earnheart
Marketing Officer

Phone : (406) 444-2402
E-mail : MEarnheart@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9442