X

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 Signs Order to Protect Montana Sugar Beet Farmers

Executive order signed by Governor Bullock allows increased weight limitations on transportation vehicles to protect Montana sugar beet farmers

Governor Bullock Signs Order to Protect Montana Sugar Beet Farmers

Governor Steve Bullock  signed an executive order on October 28, 2020 allowing increased weight limitations on transportation vehicles in order to protect sugar beet farmers in Montana.

“Record setting cold temperatures and early winter storms have limited the harvesting season for Montana’s farmers and workers,” Governor Bullock said. “Montana producers have already overcome many challenges due to the pandemic. Today’s order ensures farmers can harvest their crops in time and avoid unnecessary losses.”

 

Documents to download

Public Meeting Notice: MT Oilseed Advisory Committee

Zoom Conference on Wednesday, October 28th at 8:30 a.m.

Public Meeting Notice: MT Oilseed Advisory Committee

The Montana Oilseed Advisory Committee will meet via Zoom on Wednesday, October 28th beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Please contact Dani Jones to receive information to join the meeting at (406) 444-2402 or danielle.jones@mt.gov.

Documents to download

Tourism Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

2021 Tourism Grant Program application cycle open from October 12 - November 30, 2020

Tourism Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

The application cycle for Tourism Grants is now open. The 2021 application cycle will accept applications from eligible entities from October 15 - November 30, 2020.

The Tourism Grant Program funds projects that strengthen Montana’s economy through the development and enhancement of Montana’s tourism and recreation industry. A total of $750,000 is available for projects that develop and enhance tourism and recreation products that have the potential to increase non-resident visitation.

Click here to learn more or to apply for a grant.

Montana State University's 2021 Crop & Pest Management School Canceled Due to Pandemic

Other virtual events this fall and winter available for pesticide applicators to receive credits

Montana State University's 2021 Crop & Pest Management School Canceled Due to Pandemic

Montana State University’s annual Crop and Pest Management School will not be offered in 2021 due to the pandemic, but pesticide applicators can attend other pest management events for pesticide license credits.

To search for other online pesticide education credit opportunities for private and commercial applicators across the state, visit the Montana Department of Agriculture at mtplants.mt.gov/PesticideApplicator/MeetingSearch.aspx and the MSU Extension Pesticide Education Program at pesticides.montana.edu/events/index.html.

EPA Application Period Open for Local Foods, Local Places Program

Application Deadline is October 30, 2020

EPA Application Period Open for Local Foods, Local Places Program

Local Foods, Local Places helps communities revitalize neighborhoods through development of local food systems. In 2020, the program is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Local Foods, Local Places aims to support projects that do all of the following:

  • Create livable, walkable, economically vibrant main streets and mixed-use neighborhoods.
  • Boost economic opportunities for local farmers and main street businesses.
  • Improve access to healthy, local food, especially among disadvantaged populations.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Charsi Workman
Marketing Officer

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