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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

Public Meeting (Via Zoom): MT Oilseed Advisory Committee

September 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Public Meeting (Via Zoom): MT Oilseed Advisory Committee

The Montana Oilseed Advisory Commmittee will meet via Zoom at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

 

Zoom Meeting Info:

To join using a computer:  https://mt-gov.zoom.us/j/94801685895?pwd=bk8xcjNEcVdxNlFObkI4d0dmZHYyZz09

To join by phone: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 406 444 9999; Meeting ID: 948 0168 5895; Password: 145405

 

For more information, please call (406) 444-2402 or email danielle.jones@mt.gov

Governor Bullock Announces over $7.5 Million of Coronavirus Relief Funds Awarded through Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grants

Bullock, MDA award grants to over 60 businesses for meat processing

Governor Bullock Announces over $7.5 Million of Coronavirus Relief Funds Awarded through Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grants

MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock and the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) today announced that over $7.5 million in grant funding has been awarded through the Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant (MMPIG) programs. The grants are designed to aid small and medium-sized meat processors in responding to the COVID-19 crisis through the adaptation and advancement of meat processing infrastructure and capacity in Montana.

 

“The impacts of COVID-19 have highlighted how fragile the nation’s supply chain can be, especially when it comes to meat processing,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “It’s crucial that our producers have viable options for getting their meat to market. Investing in meat processing infrastructure will help our Montana producers, strengthen local food systems, and bolster food security for Montanans in communities across the state from Plains to Circle.”

Click to view the list of recipients

FDA Investigates Outbreak of Salmonella Newport: Red Onions (July 2020)

Do not eat, sell, or serve onions from Thomson International, Inc.

FDA Investigates Outbreak of Salmonella Newport: Red Onions (July 2020)

The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections. FDA’s traceback investigation is ongoing but has identified Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, CA as a likely source of potentially contaminated red onions. Although the investigation has determined that red onions are the likely source of this outbreak, Thomson International, Inc. has notified FDA that it will be recalling all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. This recall would include red, white, yellow, and sweet onions from Thomson International, Inc. Recall information will be made public as soon as it is available from Thomson International, Inc.

Click to learn more and see recommendations.

Click to view map of reported cases.

USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicited Seeds from China

USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicited Seeds from China

USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.

MDA Asks Public to Report Receipt of any Unsolicited Packages of Seeds

Call (406) 444-3950 to report unsolicited seed packages

MDA Asks Public to Report Receipt of any Unsolicited Packages of Seeds


 Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) has received multiple reports from Montana residents that have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have been shipped from China. Individuals are urged to contact the department if they receive a package matching this description. Please contact the Seed Program at (406) 444-3950 or bballensky@mt.gov.  
 

Documents to download

Charsi Workman
Marketing Officer

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