UMW GardenThis month's edition of The Dirt is chock-full of examples of how people across Montana are supporting local agriculture — and ideas for how you can, too! Read on to learn about burgeoning farm to college programs in Dillon and Kalispell and how one FoodCorps member helped lentils achieve superhero status in Butte schools. There's also an update on food safety and farm to school policy priorities that you can help support in coming months. We hope you enjoy the update, and as always we'd love to hear any feedback and ideas you have for future features and projects!

Take good care,
Nancy Moore
National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)
Montana Healthy Food and Communities Program Director

Farm to Cafeteria Network

farm to cafeteria logo

Veggie Trailers and Dunk Tanks: Budding Campus Gardens and the Kitchens They Supply

2013 Youth Summit

School is out for the summer, a quiet time of year for college campuses around the state. However, NCAT has found several Montana colleges that are abuzz with activity all summer as they plant, grow, and harvest fresh food for their student bodies. At Kalispell's campus farm at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) and Dillon's community garden at the University of Montana Western, you'll find people hard at work so students will get the freshest food their school can offer when they return. Want to learn more about these homegrown farm to college programs?
Read more.

Montana Food News

SIFT Farm Summer Workshops

The SIFT demonstration farm is the home of the Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program at NCAT headquarters in Butte, Montana. SIFT hosts no-cost workshops throughout the year that teach people how to sustainably produce high-value, nutrient-rich food on small parcels of land. Through July and August, SIFT will host workshops on raising chickens, composting, cooking with local food, and season extension.

For more information about the upcoming workshops and to register, please visit:

Questions? Contact

Grow Montana

grow montana logo

Grow Montana's 2015 Policy Priorities—and how you can be involved!

Members of the Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition have spoken with stakeholders, allies, and decision-makers across the state during the past year, gathering ideas about how to help local food producers and their communities prosper. Inspired by those conversations, Grow Montana will focus on three priorities for the next year: pursuing state-level support for farm to school projects that will nourish Montana's children while building healthy communities; ensuring that impending changes to our food safety laws are friendly to local producers and businesses; and educating Montanans about opportunities to weigh in on policies that impact our food system. Ready to get involved? Read more.

Food Corps Beef On the Menu


It's a bird, It's a plane, It's a... Lentil?

Lentils are the new superheroes at West Elementary School in Butte, Montana, thanks to the "Harvest of the Month" program that highlighted lentils during May. In December, the Butte School District started serving one local item each month for our "Harvest of the Month" program. It has been a great way to teach food and nutrition to kids one item at a time and to get kids really excited about trying new fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. Starting a program like this one is also a great way for schools to begin buying local foods to prepare and serve for lunch. Want to learn more about how to transform a lentil into a superhero? Read more.

Featured Recipe: Summer Steak Salad

Recipe by Kate Cooper, Pitchforks & Pomegranates — a Montana Food and Farming Blog
Reprinted by permission

Kate Cooper shares her love of food and farming through Pitchforks & Pomegranates, a blog she writes from her family's ranch in Willow Creek, Montana. Kate sees the blog as a way to share recipes that pursue the seasons and the bounty of the land. She also has a page dedicated to ranch life where she tries to celebrate the cycle of the seasons on the ranch. Later this month, the Cooper family hosts their first Farm to Table Dinner at Cooper Hereford Ranch, which will feature their Hereford beef along with other seasonal delicacies from local farmers. Featured on the blog last summer, this recipe is inspired by the spinach and pea shoots coming up now across the state. "This is a great summer salad," writes Kate. "The steak and cornbread make for a filling meal and as a salad it is fresh, light, and perfect on a hot summer evening after a day's worth of work." Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS // Serves 5-6:

  • 1 Top Sirloin Steak
  • 1 Bunch of Spinach
  • 1 Bunch of Pea Shoots
  • 3 Garlic Scapes (the shoots that grow out of the ground from hard-neck garlic varieties)
  • Corn Bread cut into cubes, for topping
  • Shaved Cheese, for topping (Kate recommends a blend of Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano)

Salad Dressing
  • ¼ cup Grape Seed Oil
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Water
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Ranch Dressing

  1. Whisk together all ingredients of salad dressing until well combined.
  2. Preheat grill. Generously salt and pepper steak. Grill steak to liking. After grilling, cover with tin foil and let rest while preparing the salad.
  3. In a large bowl tear spinach and pea shoots. Dice garlic scape (do not use bulb) and add to bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat all greens. Remove foil and thinly slice the steak. Plate salad and top with steak, corn bread cubes and sprinkle with cheese.

Follow NCAT on Facebook Follow NCAT on Twitter ATTRA's Youtube Channel ATTRA's Pinterest Profile
Copyright © July 2014
The National Center for Appropriate Technology

NCAT mailing address:
P.O. Box 3838
Butte, MT 59702

Please consider a donation to NCAT. Your support helps NCAT promote sustainable solutions.

Become an E-news Subscriber

Pass it on

If you know someone who may be interested in receiving this newsletter, please forward it to a friend. Thank you!

Helping people by championing small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources.

Unsubscribe || Privacy Policy