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Welcome to the newest issue of our DIRT newsletter, bringing you up-to-date information about local foods efforts around the state. Read on to learn about how our FoodCorps members are wrapping up their year of service, plans the food policy coalition members are making for the next legislative session, and the newest efforts in farm to cafeteria involving beef.

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Have a wonderful summer and productive growing season!
The Montana Healthy Food and Communities Initiative Team

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It's All About the BEEF TO SCHOOL!

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"Mooo"ve over veggies, farm to school in Montana has a new face, and it looks a lot like a cow. Thanks to funding from a Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program grant, several partners from across the state of Montana will be working together to understand the ins and outs of sourcing local beef for K-12 schools. Read more about the effort to connect producers and schools. Read on.

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Grow Montana Sets Ambitious Goals for Next Two Years

The steering committee for the Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition, which is housed at and coordinated by NCAT, met in mid-June to recap recent victories and set some priorities for the future. Among its victories over the past two years were passage of the Cottage Food law by the 2015 Montana Legislature and the Montana Office of Public Instruction creating a full-time Farm to School staff position. These successes helped motivate and inspire the group's discussion about priorities for the next two years. Learn more about the coalition's goals here.

Food CorpsFoodCorps Service Ends


Member Jessica Manly is finishing her second year of service. Read her thoughts about Growing Community: Looking back on two years of FoodCorps service in Kalispell

This year in Kalispell it seemed the calendar turned straight from winter to summer. The early thaw lifted a thick blanket of snow from our school gardens and left them bursting with green garlic shoots in what felt like a matter of days. This early summer has been a bit of a mixed blessing; it extended the growing season enough that my students were able to plant seeds and watch them grow to purple and pink radishes before the final school bell rang (quite a feat here in the northwest corner of Montana!), but it also meant there wasn't much prep time before our new production garden at the Central Kitchen needed to be, well...producing. Read more.


Do you love real good food, working with young people, lifelong growth and education? Have you ever wanted to promote the health and prosperity of your fellows? Then we want your help with our Growing Leaders Youth Summits.

It's been nearly two years since the last youth summit, and you're going to love the ideas that have been cooking since then! If you need a refresher on just how impactful the 2013 Youth Summit was, check out the video here.

This year, we will be having regional summits in target cities like Kalispell, Helena, Livingston, Billings, and Havre. The expected dates are in October and November, and there is plenty of time to shape up the opportunities that will build high school students' sense of leadership and capacity to educate and organize their peers and communities around healthy eating and living. This is no small task, and we can't do it alone.

We are looking for help, first with finding partner organizations that might be willing to host such a gathering in each region. If you have any thoughts on such a host organization or want more information in regards to what we are looking for, please call or send us an email. We are also seeking volunteers to assist with the planning. If you're interested in being a part of the steering committee that makes the magic happen, please send us your contact information and location to get plugged in and involved in creating change today!

To get involved with the 2015 Growing Leaders Youth Summits, call Demetrius Fassas at 406-494-4572 or email

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Featured Recipe: Beef, Pepper & Mushroom Kabobs

ExplorationMake sure to use local Montana beef in this colorful entrée that is quick and easy to prepare. The recipe is courtesy of the Montana Beef Council.

Total Recipe Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound beef Top Sirloin Steak boneless, cut 1-inch thick
  • 1 large green, red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces
  • 12 large mushrooms
  • 1 package (6.0 ounces) long grain and wild rice blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Seasoning:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Trim fat from beef steak; cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces. In large bowl, whisk together seasoning ingredients; add beef, bell pepper and mushrooms, tossing to coat. Alternately thread pieces of beef, bell pepper and mushrooms on each of four 12-inch metal skewers.
  2. Prepare rice according to package directions; keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile place kabobs on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill kabobs, covered, 8 to 11 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 11 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally; season with salt. Serve kabobs with rice.

Nutritional information per serving: 359 calories; 32 g protein; 37 g carbohydrate; 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat); 5.2 mg iron; 781 mg sodium; 76 mg cholesterol.

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

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Butte, MT 59702

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