The PEAS Farm MissoulaWelcome to The Dirt,
NCAT's e-newsletter with fresh updates from our food and agriculture programs in Montana.

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Farm to Cafeteria Network

farm to cafeteria logo

Spreading the seeds of a
Youth Food Revolution

Over 100 high school students, educators, and activists converged in Missoula October 6-8 to diversify the future of food at the Growing Leaders Youth Summit. It was the largest event of its kind in Montana and featured field trips, workshops, guest speakers, and delicious local food.

The knowledge and ideas shared at the Growing Leaders Youth Summit will help these young leaders build what we heard described as a "youth food revolution." See photos and read a review by a member of the Youth Planning Committee.

The Panel Scarlet Kaplan from Hellgate High School in Missoula, MT, Ayisah Yusef from the Rural Coalition in Washington, D.C., and Phil Nguygen from The Food Project in Boston, MA speak at the Growing Leaders Youth Summit.

Montana Food News

USDA has released its Farm to School Census data! In school year 2011-2012, schools nationwide purchased and served over $350 million in local food and many plan to buy even more local foods in the future.

Of the Montana schools that participated in the census, 37% are bringing the farm to school right now. According to census data estimates, local food purchases invested nearly $1 million into Montana communities! Learn more about how Montana schools are bringing healthy, local foods into their lunchrooms by visiting the Montana Farm to School Census page.

Information is incomplete for some school districts! If you submitted information to the census, please check your school district's record and submit any changes to Matt Benson at

Grow Montana

grow montana logo

Speak out today on the Food Safety Modernization Act!

If you eat food - that's all of us- you should be concerned about the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new food safety laws! The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and its members, including NCAT, are leading the nationwide campaign to submit comments to the FDA before the November 15th deadline. We need your voice to explain to the FDA that local food and diverse farms here in Montana are part of the solution, not part of the problem. Learn more and take action here »


Food Corps

Montana "Crunch Time" in the Capitol

Montana students participating in Crunch Time on October 24, 2013
Montana students participating in Crunch Time on October 24, 2013
As the clock struck two on October 24, a collective crunch brought the state of Montana together to celebrate Food Day and National Farm to School Month. Biting into crisp Montana-grown apples, school kids across the state got yet another opportunity to taste healthy food grown close to home thanks to "Crunch Time." The statewide event was the vision of many amazing organizations including the Montana Office of Public Instruction, Montana Team Nutrition, Eat Right Montana, and two of NCAT's Montana food programs - Farm to Cafeteria Network and FoodCorps Montana.

Out of sheer luck, during "Crunch Time," I had the privilege to actually be in Montana's historic capitol building in Helena presenting to the governor-appointed Montana Commission on Community Service.
Read more »

Featured Recipe: Butternut Squash and Apple Salad

Food Corps


  • 1 butternut squash, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, cut in happy smiles
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 red apples, cored and cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3-1/2 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 T chopped mint
  • 10 dates, roughly chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel squash, halve it lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Place on a large-rimmed, metal jelly roll pan with onions, and pressed garlic. Toss with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, and spread in a single layer.
  4. Roast squash, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 30-40 minutes. Cool completely.
  5. Core apples and cut in 1/2 inch pieces. Toss in lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, and mint.
  6. Add cooled roasted squash and dates to the apple mixture and toss to coat.
  7. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve cold.

Serves 6-8

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Copyright © November 2013
The National Center for Appropriate Technology

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