Grow Montana is a broad-based coalition whose common purpose is to promote community economic development policies that support sustainable Montana-owned food production, processing, and distribution, and that improve all of our citizens' access to Montana foods. Read More >>
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In 2011, nationally-recognized food system analyst Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center was commissioned by Grow Montana members and others to do a series of studies on Montana's regional food economy. Meter identifies the purpose of our food system as being four-fold: to build health, wealth, connection, and capacity in our communities. The first Local Farm & Food Economy Study covered a five county area in western Montana—where Meter presented his findings at standing-room-only community gatherings in Kalispell and Ronan. According to Meter's study, area farmers earned $76 million dollars less by selling commodities in 2008 than they earned in 1969. He also highlighted that direct farm-to-consumer sales in that region are 3.5 times the national average, and that purchasing 15% of food directly from producers would generate $66 million in new income for western Montana farmers. Read highlights of his western Montana research [PDF/200KB], or view slides from Meter's western Montana presentation. [PDF/6.05MB]
Meter later completed three more studies of a 32-county area encompassing Montana's Golden Triangle, southeast of the Golden Triangle, and eastern Montana. He presented his findings at the Montana Farmers Union (MFU) convention in Great Falls. Research on the Golden Triangle covers one of the most productive grain growing areas in the country, and in particular, of hard red winter wheat that is shipped to export markets in Asia. MFU staff Sandy Courtnage explains "Meter did not propose that all farmers should entirely change what they do; but he was able to make a very convincing case that 'Finding Food in Farm Country' is a very difficult thing to do. If developing a community based food system is a goal of these areas, some planning and incremental adjustments are needed." Read highlights of his Golden Triangle [PDF/235KB] and southeast of Golden Triangle [PDF/230KB] and eastern Montana [PDF/233KB] reports.
Local Foods Video
Ever wonder why it can be so hard to find locally-grown foods in an agricultural state like Montana?
Grow Montana, Montana Farmers Union, and Community GATE Farm to Table Project put together this video to explore exactly that question. Enjoy!
Please click the arrow to watch the video.
Another Legal Win for Local Food Entrepreneurs!
The 2011 Legislature continues to support technical assistance for Montanans who want to develop our homegrown food and energy infrastructure. Please visit our Policies page to learn more.
Redeveloping a Montana Food Processing Industry: The Role of Food Innovation Centers
by Jessica Babcock
This professional paper aims to increase understanding of food innovation centers in order to contribute to the discussion surrounding the desired redevelopment of a Montana food processing industry. The eleven food innovation centers examined here offer facilities for food processing and testing, and many include technical assistance for marketing, business development, and regulation compliance. The research objectives are threefold: 1) explain both the historical and contemporary context of food processing in Montana, 2) describe and analyze what other states and provinces are doing with regard to food innovation centers, and 3) utilize the research findings to make recommendations for how food innovation centers may or may not address identified needs regarding food processing in Montana. The report concludes by outlining recommendations and options for establishing a food innovation center network in Montana. Read the Full PDF Report »» [PDF/575KB]
Find more Grow Montana Research.
Montana's Food System in ChangeThis 10-minute video tells the history of Montana's food system from a time when the state's farmers and ranchers produced most of Montanans' food--through agriculture's shift to commodity production for export following WWII. The story describes the rise of hunger in Montana and suggests a return to producing food for local consumption as a possible path to economic revitalization and food security.
This video was produced for the March 2007 Montana Governor's Summit on Food and Agriculture by the summit planning committee, with production completed under the auspices of the Montana Department of Agriculture by Murmax Productions of Power, Mont. To order copies of the DVD please contact debbier(at)ncat.org.
Please click the arrow to watch the video.
(Approx. 10min in length)
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Grow Montana Coalition Receives National Award
(9/24/07) Grow Montana, has been selected by the Glynwood Center as the recipient of its 2007 Glynwood Good Neighbor Harvest Award. Read more ››
Green Talk Radio, hosted by National Center for Appropriate Technology's Jeff Birkby, featuring Crissie McMullan discussing the ins and outs of local food purchasing by institutions. Listen »»
About Grow Montana
Grow Montana is a broad-based coalition whose COMMON PURPOSE is:
To promote community economic development policies that support sustainable Montana-owned food production, processing, and distribution, and that improve all of our citizens' access to Montana foods. Join our listserv to stay posted! Learn more »».
Grow Montana Steering Committee Members
Montana's Steering Committee also includes ongoing advisory participation from the Montana Department of Agriculture and the Montana Office of Public Instruction's Team Nutrition Program.
Did You Know?
If each household in Montana spent just $10 a week on Montana-produced food, we would redirect $186 million dollars each year to the state's food producers.
Want more facts like these about Montana's food system?
[PDF / 133KB]