Even though we have snow on the ground, perhaps the groundhog was correct and spring is coming early this year. If so, those of us working on the Montana Healthy Food and Communities Initiative are ready to meet it with programs for planting, educating, and helping connect farmers and ranchers with local institutions. Keep scrolling to see more of our success stories this past winter.
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Thanks for reading,
Montana Healthy Food and Communities Initiative Team
Harvest of the Month Pilot Ends
February marked the conclusion of the year-long Montana Harvest of the Month pilot project, and the 11 participating schools have been sharing stories and successes from their participation. Over the course of the year, students at these schools were exposed to a Montana-grown food each month through school meals, educational activities and taste tests. Now new schools can start signing up to participate in the Harvest of the Month in the coming school year. Read on for some highlights from the pilot and to learn how you can sign your school up for the Harvest of the Month project, launching statewide in September!
New Dairy Fees Withdrawn
Faced with opposition from dairy producers and processors, the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) agreed in early February to kill its own proposal to increase milk inspection fees. In addition to opposition from the dairy industry, the DOL faced the prospect of a legislative committee blocking its ability to implement its proposal. Ultimately, the DOL declared its own idea unworkable and said it would go back to the drawing board. Read the full story.
Local Beets Highlight of February Food
How do you like your beets? Roasted with thyme or shredded raw with an apple cider vinaigrette? How about painted on a page with a love note? Students across Montana voiced their opinions for their favorite Harvest of the Month recipe and played with their food along the way. In celebration of local beets, service members encouraged students to engage with the vibrant root vegetable creatively, including stamping Valentine's Day cards with beet shapes, writing with beets as markers, and painting pictures with beet dye. Nothing "beets" a nutritious meal, beautiful artwork, and happy, healthy kids!
Read on to see how FoodCorps service member Lexie Gallegos is making a difference for kids and their school food.
Join us for a webinar to learn about the Montana Harvest of the Month program and how you can get your local products served in Montana schools! Scheduled for Thursday, March 31, at 11 a.m., this webinar is geared towards producers who would like to sell their products in schools, as well as everyone interested in learning about this great farm to school program that will be starting in September 2016 across Montana. Visit http://farmtocafeteria.ncat.org/harvest for more information and to register.
Featured Recipe: Beef and Broccoli Bowl
This recipe can be made with the help of young children. They can take turns measuring the ingredients and reading the steps and will be excited to share the finished product with family members! Use Montana beef!
Adapted from: Cooking Light
Cooked rice, soba noodles, or rice noodles
1⁄4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 (12 oz) boneless sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
2 tsp canola oil
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup vertically sliced red onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1⁄2 cup water
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1⁄3 cup sliced green onions
1. Cook rice or noodles according to the package directions.
2. Combine soy sauce, cornstarch, and hoisin sauce in a medium bowl to create a marinade. Add beef, toss to coat, and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet on high heat, swirl to coat.
4. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, move beef to pan, reserving marinade. Cook 2 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove beef from pan.
5. Add broccoli, onion, and carrot to pan; cook 4 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute.
6. Add beef and cook 1 minute, or until thoroughly heated.
7. Sprinkle with green onions. Serve over rice or noodles
Makes 4 Servings