About Montana's FoodCorps
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Montana FoodCorps?
In the summer of 2006, Grow Montana partnered with Montana Campus Compact to launch Montana's FoodCorps, the nation's first statewide team of VISTA volunteers trained to create and grow farm to cafeteria programs. Each FoodCorps member was trained, provided with mentors, and dispatched to a partnering institution. Since then, the six original Montana FoodCorps institutions have returned over $2.5 million dollars to local farmers and ranchers. In 2011, the growing Montana FoodCorps team started working in a dozen communities state-wide to help schools serve local, healthy foods; build and tend school gardens; and educate kids about how and why to eat food grown closer to home.
In FoodCorps' first year alone, Salish Kootenai College purchased 10 percent (up from 0) of its total food budget from seven tribal reservation-area vendors, Montana State University launched a diversified student-run vegetable farm, UM-Western bought so much local beef that a county commissioner is proposing to build a processing plant in the region, and Missoula County Public Schools actually saved money stocking local produce.
Currently, AmeriCorps VISTAs serving with the FoodCorps team work to increase nutrition education in schools and the community, facilitate the building of school gardens, and help school food services procure locally grown, healthy food for cafeterias. Members are working in 9 rural communities, state-wide, and we hope to expand the program to even more communities in the near future.
Meanwhile, FoodCorps alumni have used the experience to launch food systems careers in farming, non-profit administration, federal environmental policy, health, nutrition, and international food aid.
And, Montana's FoodCorps was used as a model for a National FoodCorps, which launched in the summer of 2011 with 50 members in 10 states!
Who can I talk to for more information?
Contact information for current members is listed on teh following website:
Who is sponsoring FoodCorps? FoodCorps is a unique partnership between Grow Montana, Montana Campus Compact VISTA Program, select Montana colleges and universities, and community organizations with a mission to develop Montana-based food systems. Grow Montana is a broad-based coalition whose common purpose is to enable Montana's food producers to meet more of our state's food needs.
Grow Montana's founders include:
Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO);
Artemis Common Ground;
Lake County Community Development Corporation;
National Center for Appropriate Technology;
The University of Montana Environmental Studies Program;
UM Dining Services and the UM Farm to College Program.
The Montana Campus Compact (MTCC) is an organization committed to fostering a renewed vision for higher education, one that supports civic engagement through community service and volunteerism. MTCC is a coalition of Montana college and university presidents, chancellors, and deans committed to the civic purposes of higher education.