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NCAT staff members are taking advantage of our (short) summer season to experiment with different crop varieties, teach sustainable growing techniques, and help Montana folks practice energy efficiency and conservation methods along with preparing for the new crop of FoodCorps AmeriCorps members. Read on to see what we have accomplished.

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New FoodCorps Members Arrive

carrot toast

With carrots raised high, FoodCorps CEO Curt Ellis offered a welcoming “cheer” to over 200 FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members who will be serving across the country for the 2017-2018 school year. In Montana, we welcome aboard eight new service members and three returning service members. The members are serving in Columbia Falls public schools, Kalispell school district, Lakeside / Somers and Bigfork school districts, Polson school district, Ronan school district, Philipsburg and Drummond public schools, Anaconda school district, Butte school district, Gallatin Valley Farm to School programs, Livingston school district, and Hardin school district.

Why are our service members eager to be part of FoodCorps and serve up change in their schools and communities? According to Columbia Falls service member Alekya Prathivadi: “Food is deeply rooted in the human experience, and I believe everyone should have access to it. I want to arm young students with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead healthy and happy lives. Serving with FoodCorps helps me put this into action by giving me the opportunity to work in an educational setting where I can serve the nation’s children.”

As school starts across the state, our service members bring passion and commitment to their service sites and are ready to “dig in” for the year.


We Have A Truck!

SIFT farm has a truck

Thanks to a financial contribution from an anonymous donor, we recently purchased a pickup truck for use on our small-scale demonstration farm behind our headquarters in Butte, Montana. We bought a used but well-kept Ford Ranger as well as a flatbed trailer.

According to John Wallace, our demonstration farm manager, the truck is a most welcome addition to the farm. “We’ll use it for a host of reasons, including transporting vegetables, signs, and other materials to markets. We’ll also be able to haul supplies onto the farm. The trailer will also be of use, especially in building our composting operation.”

Many thanks to our donor and everyone involved in making this happen.

More information about the demonstration farm can be found at the farm website, www.sift.ncat.org.


Energy Corps - Making It Happen

Rachel Sussman

"Sustainability is a long-term game. Changes tend to be slow and far between, taking months or years or decades to accumulate into notable cultural shifts. Standout moments of significance are even rarer. Therefore, when I was asked to write a letter to the Mayor of Whitefish recommending he sign onto the Paris Climate Agreement, I knew I had to nail it. What does it mean for a City to adopt the Paris Climate Agreement goals? Frankly, very little. However, it is a symbolic statement of the prioritization of sustainability. It is one of those standout moments that pave the way for making those small, slow changes a little bigger and a little faster. I had about 20 minutes to capitalize on the moment." So writes Rachel Sussman, Energy Corps AmeriCorps member serving as a sustainability educator for the city of Whitefish. Read her full blog post at https://www.energycorps.org/a-hard-rain/.


Featured Recipe

Summer Squash is the Montana Harvest of the Month (HOM) item for September. HOM showcases Montana-grown food such as lentils, carrots, squash, beets, kale, leafy greens, beef, and wheat in school and other institutional cafeterias. Participating institutions are provided with educational resources including recipes, nutrition facts, buying tips and learning activities based upon one featured produce item each month. Click here to learn more.

Celebrate local summer squash by preparing this easy and delicious recipe:

Garden Stuffed Summer Squash

Makes: 6 servings
Nutrition Highlights: Summer squash is stuffed with even more nutrient-rich veggies. Bell peppers are filled with fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, plus lycopene, potassium and fiber. stuffed summer squash recipe


  • 6 medium yellow summer squash (crookneck or straightneck varieties; adjust baking time slightly if using pattypan squash)
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup small dill sprigs
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled*
  • ⅔ teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch seasoned salt
  • butter (for sautéing)
*Simply omit the bacon for a vegetarian version of this recipe.
  1. In large pot, cover squash with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash are tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Drain squash and cool slightly. Trim stems and cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove pulp, then chop it into small pieces. Reserve squash shells.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute bell pepper and onion in butter until soft. In a separate pan, saute squash pulp (about 1 cup) until soft. Combine squash pulp with onions, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, bread crumbs, bacon, and seasoned salt.
  3. Place hollowed squash shells in a baking dish, and sprinkle the inside of each with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon squash mixture into each shell. Top with additional bread crumbs and drizzle top with melted butter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tops are golden.


  1. Wash the herbs and greens.
  2. Melt butter in a frying pan until it sizzles. Add almonds. Sauté over low heat, until the almonds are golden and the butter is browned. Lift out almonds and drain on paper towels, reserving butter. (Butter can be kept for 1 day. Melt and cool again before assembling salad.)
  3. When ready to serve, place greens in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes, almonds, cooking butter, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss gently, season to taste, and add your favorite protein such as locally raised chicken, steak or fish (optional), then serve immediately.


Montana Healthcare Foundation Special thanks to the Montana Healthcare Foundation for its generous support.

A portion of the work about which this newsletter reports is funded, in whole or in part, through a grant awarded by the Montana Healthcare Foundation. The statements and conclusions of this newsletter are those of the Grantee and not necessarily those of the Montana Healthcare Foundation. The Montana Healthcare Foundation makes no warranties, express or implied, and assumes no liability for the information contained in the succeeding text.

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Copyright © November 2017
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