Farm to school is rapidly growing in Montana despite a short growing season and long distances between towns. Through partnerships, networking, and a strong dose of Montana-style resourcefulness, schools throughout the state are overcoming barriers to serve local foods, provide farm to school education, and grow school gardens. The state is home to many farm to school partnerships and programs, including:
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. 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
Montana is still home to more cattle than people, so it makes sense that schools throughout Montana are serving local beef in their school meals. The Montana Beef to School Coalition works together to helps schools serve Montana beef in school meals. The coalition studies successful programs and in 2016 published the Montana Beef to School Case Study Report.
The Montana Harvest of the Month program showcases Montana grown foods in Montana schools and communities. Each month, participating K-12 schools and afterschool programs (early care and education programs will be included soon) focus on promoting one locally grown item (e.g., winter squash) by serving it in at least one meal or snack, offering taste tests to students, and doing educational lessons and activities.