We are excited about the recent great achievements in building local food systems that benefit our children, our farmers, and our communities. Here are some success stories about the Beef to School Coalition, our FoodCorps Montana work, and the upcoming Governor's Food and Agriculture Summit.
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Montana Healthy Food and Communities Initiative Team
Grow Montana Helps Plan "Governor's Food and Agriculture Summit"
Nine years have passed since former Governor Brian Schweitzer convened his Governor’s Food and Ag Summit. At that time, one major topic was how more of the food grown and raised in Montana could be used in the state to benefit our communities. An incredible amount of work has happened on that front since Governor Schweitzer’s event. There is, however, plenty of work that still needs to be done. Read on to learn about plans for the upcoming 2016 summit. http://growmontana.ncat.org/2016/05/03/foodagsummit
A Taste of Montana: FoodCorps National Staff Visits
Two FoodCorps National staff members paid a visit to Montana in early April to become more familiar with FoodCorps programming in the field. Portland, Oregon-based staff Leah Klaproth, Western Regional Program Manager, and Derryck Rosalez, Finance and Operations Manager, also had the opportunity to get a flavor for the service member experience in Montana.
FoodCorps Fellow Mallory Stefan and Host Site Supervisor Al Kurki led the staff on a tour of FoodCorps' two eastern sites: Red Lodge and Hardin. The sites were showcased for their unique relationship with FoodCorps: Red Lodge is graduating from the program in July 2018, and Hardin was welcomed as a new service site in September 2015. Leah and Derryck witnessed first-hand the daily life of a service member as we toured around Red Lodge and Hardin, hosted by service site supervisors and service members. In Hardin, service member Elle Ross demonstrated her classroom skills by leading a high school lesson on granola and smoothie-making, followed by a tropical taste test. Students delighted at the opportunity to try new fruit — passion fruit — during lunch, and Elle's contagious energy made even the wariest of students warm up to the idea of trying the peculiar fruit. The Red Lodge visit highlighted service member Beth Williams' handiwork in the garden, where spinach leaves were making their debut. In the classroom, the visitors participated in Beth's Harvest of the Month: Wheat lesson, assisting kindergarteners with grinding local grains.
In true Montana fashion, the visit concluded with a hike in Red Lodge's rugged wilderness. After three days of touring, Leah and Derryck returned home with an understanding of how Montana's service members serve their communities and the deep commitment members have to the FoodCorps program.
Beef to School Project Highlights
NCAT and the Farm to Cafeteria Network are excited to be partnering with Montana State University (MSU) on the Beef to School research project, which is finishing its first year. Funded by Western SARE, the project aims to increase the availability and consumption of local beef in Montana’s schools and communities and help improve Montana beef producers’ and meat processors’ viability and sustainability. The project is moving right along, and we are excited to share the latest news with our Dirt readers. Read the full report here.
Below is a recipe featuring lentils, the May Harvest of the Month item. Registration is now open to all schools and after school programs to participate in the Harvest of the Month program for the 2016-2017 school year! Visit www.montana.edu/mtharvestofthemonth/ for more information and to sign up.
Lentil Squash Hummus
Source: Jenny and Luca Montague and Jessica Manly, Kalispell Public Schools
This hummus is a quick and healthy snack. Offer this dip with a variety of veggies and take a poll to determine the child’s favorite combination. Peas or beets can be substituted for winter squash.
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp tahini
1-3 cloves garlic (to your taste)
3/4 tsp salt
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup cooked lentils
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups baked pumpkin or winter squash
1 tsp ground cumin
Optional spices: dash of paprika, black pepper, or za’atar
1. Pulse lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt together in a food processor or blender until smooth.
2. Add garbanzo beans, lentils, and olive oil. Pulse until smooth. Add squash, cumin, and spices. Process until well blended. If hummus is too thick, add 2 tablespoons of water or an additional tablespoon of olive oil.
3. Transfer hummus to a container with a lid and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
4. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.