I hope this finds you delighting in springtime! At NCAT in Montana, we've been busy the last few months planting, teaching, and helping to get local food into institutions' cafeterias. For example, Nicki Jimenez, our FoodCorps member in Ronan, recently guided a healthy, local product from the farm into schools and classrooms on a large scale. Our Farm to Cafeteria Network recently hosted an interactive workshop for Montana farmers, ranchers, and food processors interested in selling to institutions, and Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition is gearing up for the 2015 legislative session (just around the corner!) by learning from Farm to School policy successes in other states. In this issue of The Dirt, you can also read my notes from the recent National Farm to Cafeteria Conference about Montana's place in the national local food movement.

We're excited to share these updates with you, and we encourage you to share your events and good news!

Nancy Moore
National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)
Montana Healthy Food and Communities Program Manager

Farm to Cafeteria Network

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Powering Up from Montana to Texas — Notes from the 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

2013 Youth Summit

A man's Texas accent swirled from the speakers and into the ears of 1,100 people seated in the Hilton conference center in downtown Austin. "The person who says it can't be done...shouldn't interrupt the person who is doing it." The room full of local food "do-ers" erupted in applause. The 2014 National Farm to Cafeteria conference was aptly themed "Powering Up." As Anupama Joshi, Executive Director of the National Farm to School Network, pointed out, in 1997 six Farm to School programs existed in the U.S. Now, more than 22 million children are served by 38,000 such programs. Want to hear more about the conference and how Montanans were involved?
Read more.

Grow Montana

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Innovative policies support healthy kids and prosperous farmers

Across the country, Farm to Institution efforts are blossoming in myriad ways. And the diversity was evidenced by the 1,100 attendees of the 2014 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference held recently in Austin, Texas. One topic that seemed to interest—and to impact—everyone was policy. Policies to support Farm to Institution take many forms and can provide us a lot of food for thought as we work on policy in Montana. Here's a roundup of some of the most exciting policy models that were represented at the conference, as well as information about how you can get involved in Grow Montana's Farm to Institution work here in Montana. Read more.

Montana Food News

Coming this Summer: Four Cover Crop Farm Tours

Pre-registration is open for four summer farm tours to explore cover cropping. Each event will include a tour and a workshop. Two tours will take place at certified organic farms: Vilicus Farm in Havre hosted by Doug and Anna Jones-Crabtree and Terrapin Farm in Whitefish hosted by Judy Owsowitz, a long-time organic producer with extensive knowledge of cover cropping in diverse vegetable production systems. Dr. Clain Jones will discuss a longer-term on-farm cover cropping research project at a farm in Conrad and Grif Bye will discuss his unique cover cropping and livestock system at a farm in Toole County.

For more information and registration visit:

Questions? Contact Jeff Schahczenski, or 406-494-8636.

These tours are sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, the Montana Organic Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Montana State University, and Montana Farmers Union and supported by USDA Risk Management Agency.

Food Corps Beef On the Menu


Beets Galore: The Full Circle of Farm to School

"I have finally discovered it," writes Nicki Jimenez about the essence of being the FoodCorps service member at Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center (MMFEC) in Ronan, Montana. Nicki tells the story of how she leveraged her access to MMFEC's fully inspected and certified community-based food processing center as well as the staff's vast knowledge and experience in food safety and product development to guide a healthy, local product from the farm into classrooms on a large scale. Read more.

Featured Recipe: Salsa Lentejas

Recipe provided by USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council

We met many wonderful folks in Austin, Texas recently at the 7th National Farm to School Conference, including the kind people from the Northern Pulse Growers Association and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council. The Northern Pulse Growers Association is a non-profit association representing dry pea, lentil, chickpea, lupin and fava bean growers from Montana and North Dakota that strives to increase the profitability of pulse producers through education, research, marketing, and government relations. The USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council is a national non-profit organization with a similar mission. To boot, they bestowed upon us this amazing recipe for Salsa Lentejas, or Lentil Salsa for all you gringos out there. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup cooked USA regular lentils
  • 1 cup cooked USA red lentils
  • 8 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon Tabasco® Sauce

  1. Mix all ingredients in a serving bowl
  2. Serve as you wish

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Copyright © May 2014
The National Center for Appropriate Technology

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