AERO has partnered with the Montana Department of Agriculture on a food system mapping project. We are collaborating to produce an interactive database and maps that shows market information relating to local food, such as the names and locations of direct marketing farms, businesses storing, processing, and distributing local foods, farmers markets, and restaurants, institutions, and grocery stores that serve local. Through a map-based format, we will identify where the existing opportunities and gaps are, and where we need to prioritize our efforts for improvements.
We began building our database by tapping into our networks and partner organizations to accumulate lists of farmers and other businesses that we know are participating in local food value chains. Then, we added comprehensive lists of all of Montana’s food businesses, and are in the process of sorting through these and identifying the ones that are participating in local commerce.
THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN! We need you to share your knowledge of the local food businesses in your area by sorting through the database by your county, and marking the businesses that are playing a part in building local food value chains. After this step, we will print initial maps, and take them to communities around the state so local people can double-check them for accuracy, and to add any businesses that are missing. Your knowledge about your local food system can play an important role in develop the most accurate and useful maps as possible.
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity, or if you would like to get started. Contact: (406) 443-7272 or email [email protected].