About

The Office of Public Instruction sponsors the Montana Farm to School Leadership Team. The team is facilitated by the Montana Farm to School Coordinator at Montana Team Nutrition Program.

Mission

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.

Purpose

Fostering a spirit of collaboration to support farm to school efforts in Montana. Through this collaboration we will:

  • Build a strong foundation for innovative approaches to increase the use of locally grown products in our schools, prevalence and use of school gardens, and nutrition and agriculture educational  opportunities thus contributing to healthier children and a stronger Montana economy.
  • Facilitate a rich pooling of ideas and resources that can result in more effective communication and ultimately positive results that could not be done by any one partner, all while reducing the burden of leadership on any single entity.
  • Build upon success of past collaborations that we anticipate will lead to successes that can be a model for other states.
  • Optimize the current fiscal realities of our economy and the ever-evolving resource allocation priorities offering new opportunities that are best executed through strong partnerships.
  • Support innovation at the local level and embrace respectful, transparent communication with Montana communities.

We believe Montana farm to school programs have a vibrant future ahead and we acknowledge that partner priorities may change and new partners and leaders will emerge as the work evolves. We recognize that by partnering, we provide a state level platform of collaboration to achieve shared goals.

Membership

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. Visit the Partners page for a list of Montana Farm to School Leadership Team member organizations. 

Projects

The Montana Farm to School Leadership Team has the following projects and goals for 2016:

Farm to School Distribution

Goal: Expand local foods distribution to schools throughout Montana.
Progress as of February 2017: This working group has created a pilot project plan and has applied for funding to support this project at 4 school districts in Montana.

Farm to School Grant Program

Goal: Increase farm to school purchasing that supports schools by creating a grant/funding program that provides schools funding to purchase local foods. 
Progress as of February 2017: This working group is researching other programs in the nation, developing a pilot plan, and seeking funding for a pilot.

Communication

Goal: Relevant, timely communication to the team and to larger farm to school stakeholder community.
Progress as of February 2017: The team shares information through a bi-weekly email (when announcements are needed) and is increasing collaboration between member partners to streamline and increase information distribution.

Resources

Goal: Create a central farm to school resource (website) that includes current information from team and all stakeholders.
Progress as of February 2017: If you’re reading this page, then you are seeing our current progress! The Montana Farm to School website was launched spring 2016 and combines resources from Farm to School Leadership Team member organizations, Montana organizations and agencies, and national organizations into a comprehensive resource for Montana farm to school projects. The website is now complete and is continually updated as needed.

Early Care and Education

Goal: Increase stakeholder awareness of, access to and participation in farm to early care and education initiatives across the state.
Progress as of February 2017: The group has mapped farm to early care and education stakeholders to determine organizations and resources that are in this field, held an in-person meeting in September 2016, and will map out priorities for 2017.