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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.


Lentils: Montana Harvest of the Month

Montana Ag News

Governor Bullock Announces Support for Local Meat Processors, Small Businesses and Local Governments Across Montana

CARES Act funding will be used to put more Montana meat on shelves and reimburse local governments for COVID-19 related expenses

Governor Bullock Announces Support for Local Meat Processors, Small Businesses and Local Governments Across Montana

 

 

MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced funding through the federal CARES Act will be used to boost in-state processing and storage capacity for local meat processors, to provide additional financial assistance for small businesses, and to reimburse local governments for COVID-19 related expenses.

The Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant is available to aid small and medium-sized meat processors responding to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions by supporting local meat processing infrastructure and capacity in Montana.

“These grants will boost processing and storage capacity. They’ll help Montana businesses put more Montana meat onto more shelves. Plus, an increase in in-state processing means more direct sales, and better, value-added markets for producers,” Governor Bullock said. “These investments will bolster Montana’s food security, making us stronger in response to the pandemic, as well as long into the future.”

Due to interruptions in national supply chains, meat processing capacity throughout the US has been significantly impacted. Supporting in-state meat processing infrastructure and capacity will provide alternative market channels for Montana’s cattle, hog and poultry producers. Examples of eligible expenses include equipment and infrastructure that increases processing and/or storage capacity, costs associated with becoming state or federally inspected, and other business adaptation and diversification activities. Total funding available through the program is $2,000,000, with a maximum award of $150,000. Applications are being accepted now at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV. The deadline to apply is July 2, 2020 at 5:00pm.

 

Public Meeting Notice: MT Wheat & Barley Committee Board Virtual Meeting

Wednesday, June 24th at 9:00 a.m.

Public Meeting Notice: MT Wheat & Barley Committee Board Virtual Meeting

The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee Summer Meeting will take place on a virtual meeting format, on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. The meeting will start at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, and last until 12:00 p.m. 

To receive call-in information please contact the MWBC office with and provide your email address. As always, the public is invited to participate virtually in the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee board meeting.

For more information, please visit https://wbc.agr.mt.gov/, call (406) 761-7732, or email wbc@mt.gov.

Documents to download

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee Zoom Conference Call

June 9th at 9:00 a.m.

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee Zoom Conference Call

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet via Zoom teleconference at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9th. For more information, please contact Weston Merrill, at (406) 444-3407.

Zoom Meeting Information

To join by computer: https://zoom.us/j/91650348866 [zoom.us]

To join by phone: (877) 853-5247; Meeting ID: 916 5034 8866

Click to learn more about the Montana Pulse Crop Committee.

Documents to download

EPA Announces Grant Opportunity for Food Waste Management Projects

Applications are due on July 14, 2020

EPA Announces Grant Opportunity for Food Waste Management Projects

EPA supports diversion of food waste and other organic materials from landfills.  AD is an alternative to landfilling that results in environmental benefits in the form of renewable energy (biogas) and a product that can improve soil health (digestate). The goal of this funding opportunity is to accelerate the development of new or enhance/increase existing anaerobic digestion capacity and infrastructure in the United States.

The total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity shall not exceed $3 million in total grant funding. EPA anticipates awarding 10 to 40 cooperative agreements and individual grant awards may potentially be in the range of $50,000-$300,000.

Click to learn more.

To apply for this opportunity, search EPA-OLEM-ORCR-20-02 on www.grants.govApplications are due on July 14, 2020.

USDA Will Soon Begin Taking Applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

Producers will apply through their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office

USDA Will Soon Begin Taking Applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance program on April 17, 2020. CFAP will use funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and other USDA existing authorities. This $19 billion immediate relief program includes direct support to agricultural producers as well as the Food Box Distribution Program. This webpage has more information on the direct support for farmers and ranchers, which include:

  • CFAP will provide direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted.
  • CFAP will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19. 
Charsi Workman
Marketing Officer

Phone : (406) 444-5425  
Fax : (406) 444-9442  
E-mail : charsi.workman@mt.gov