Helena, Mont. – October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate connections happening all over the country between schools and local food producers. From the Trout to Tray program in Livingston, to the Garden to Cafeteria program in Hindsale, to Harvest of the Month taste tests in Geyser, there are great farm to school partnerships in every region of Montana.
“We congratulate Montana’s producers, students, food service staff, and community partners for the amazing local food partnerships that have been formed across the state,” said Ben Thomas, MDA Director. “Procuring Montana food products for schools can be tricky business, and we applaud the dedication of farm to school programs for finding innovative ways to source food from Montana farmers, ranchers, and food companies.”
Farm to school programs enhance the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education settings. Students gain access to healthy, local food 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.
In Montana, 40% of school districts, which include 115 schools serving over 9,000 students, participate in farm to school activities each year. Read about Montana farm to school success stories at www.montana.edu/mtfarmtoschool. Farm to school celebrations will be happening all over Montana, including Crunch Time in the Montana capitol rotunda on October 24.
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.