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A warm hello to you all,

HB478 SigningIs it spring yet? According to Emma Fernandez, the FoodCorps service member in Red Lodge, spring is here, despite the occasional snow flurry suggesting otherwise. Read on for her article "Seeds and Other Spring Miracles" about planting seeds with preschool students. Also featured in this edition of the Dirt are details on the success of the Cottage Food Bill in the legislature (great work, Grow Montana!) and a profile of the Farm to Food Bank program in the Gallatin Valley. Thank you for reading about NCAT's continued efforts to support local farmers and ranchers, Montana's agricultural heritage, and access to fresh, healthy food for all.

Happy Spring!
The Montana Healthy Food and Communities Initiative Team

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Farm to Food Bank: Gallatin Valley Food Bank Brings Clients the Best in Local Food

Food Bank Logo

One of the goals of NCAT's Farm to Cafeteria Network is to highlight innovative strategies and exciting developments in institutions around the state that are seeking to provide fresh, healthy, and local food to the people they serve and support local farmers in their area. This month, we took some time to visit with Jill Holder at the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and Deb Davidson from the Bozeman Community Food Co-op about their Farm to Food Bank program, which is accomplishing that very goal. Read on to learn how this innovative program is bringing the highest-quality food to people in need in Park and Gallatin Counties.

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Montana Legislature Creates Cottage Food Law, Streamlines Other Regulations

With supporters calling it "manna from heaven" and "food freedom," the Montana Legislature recently passed legislation implementing cottage food in Montana and streamlining regulations related to mobile and temporary food vendors. House Bill 478 creates an avenue for food entrepreneurs to test the market for their products, while also providing more consistent enforcement of food regulation through clear definitions. The bill easily passed the Montana Legislature and Governor Steve Bullock signed it into law in mid-April. Montana becomes one of about 30 states to have a cottage food law. Read on.

Montana Food News

Did you miss out on the "Selling to Institutional Markets" training webinar produced and hosted by NCAT? View it here! The University of Montana Farm to College Program provided information and technical assistance to Montana farmers, ranchers, and food processors interested in accessing larger foodservice markets. The webinar was followed by a Q/A with a panel of buyers from the school, college, and hospital markets.

Montana producers: show off your products at this summer's School Nutrition Association Conference!

Registration is now open for the Exhibitor Show being held in conjunction with the 39th annual Montana School Nutrition Association summer training conference June 17 - 18, 2015 in Billings. This is the main conference and training for school food service professionals and is a great opportunity to build connections to grow farm to school programs. Vendors can register online here.

This just in!
Made and grown in Montana food producers and businesses can receive a discounted exhibitor fee of $250 and may be eligible for additional support from Montana Department of Agriculture. Contact Linda Howard at with answers to the following questions prior to registering: What Montana raised or grown ingredients are utilized in your products? Have you sold products to any schools previously?


Food CorpsSeeds and Other Spring Miracles

As I write this, snow is blowing outside my window, BUT yesterday it was almost 70, and a little snow can't stop me from declaring it spring! The hoop house is weeded, the soil is cultivated, and seedlings are growing in classrooms! My FoodCorps service year has been filled with heartwarming moments with kids, but planting seeds with preschoolers definitely ranks high on the list. Read more.

Featured Recipe: Simply Snazzy Salad

In honor of the warmer weather and thoughts of gardens, here is a salad that can feature any type of green. This salad is an easy and fun recipe for families or classrooms and was developed by Kirsten Gerbatsch, the FoodsCorps Montana Fellow when she was serving as a FoodCorps service member. Experiment with different types of greens or mix them for more colors and flavors!

Servings: 8 - 10


  • 1 lb any type of salad greens or mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey

  1. Place greens, carrots, cranberries, and walnuts into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and honey. Whisk ingredients together using a fork or a whisk until smooth and evenly mixed.
  3. Right before serving, pour dressing over the salad in the large mixing bowl. Gently toss the salad to coat all the ingredients.

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Thanks to the Foundation for Healthy Montanans for its support.
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Copyright © May 2015
The National Center for Appropriate Technology

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