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.

The development of Montana's Farm to School Leadership Team including our mission and purpose were inspired and adapted from Minnesota's Farm to School Leadership Team.

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 working groups to achieve our specific goals. These working groups are now open to public participation! Contact the working group chairperson listed below if you wish to join in statewide conversations on the following topics:

Farm to School Distribution

Goal: Expand local foods distribution to schools throughout Montana.
Working Group Chair Contact: Kei Matsunami, keim@ncat.org

Farm to School Grant Program (funding)

Goal: Increase farm to school purchasing that supports schools by creating a grant/funding program that provides schools funding to purchase local foods. 
Working Group Chair Contact: Aubree Roth, aubree.roth@montana.edu

Communication

Goal: Relevant, timely communication to the team and to larger farm to school stakeholder community.
Working Group Chair Contact: Sarah Penix, sarah.penix@montana.edu

Early Care and Education

Goal: Increase stakeholder awareness of, access to, and participation in farm to early care and education initiatives across the state.
Working Group Chair Contact: Kei Matsunami, keim@ncat.org, and Christine Lux, christine.lux@montana.edu 

Education

Goal: Increase stakeholder awareness of, access to, and participation in farm to school education (K-12) initiatives across the state.
Working Group Chair Contact: Charsi Workman, charsi.workman@mt.gov

Beef to School

Goal: The Montana Beef to School Coalition’s goal is to provide education and resources to make connections between beef to school stakeholders with the ultimate goal of increasing Montana beef served in Montana schools.

Working Group Chair Contact: Aubree Roth, aubree.roth@montana.edu, and Gary Hamel, ghamel@mt.gov