This next-level food systems work is gathering momentum. Our incredible advisory board made the time to gather this spring and summer, clarify the group’s vision and values as a team, and outline priorities for short-term projects that participants can select and bring back to their farm and/or community to carry out.
Each project comes with mini-grant funds, advisory board mentorship and support, and opportunities to report out and share learnings at MFEI Network Meetings. Projects are designed to build on the assets within a community food system, develop partnerships and connections across the system, provide technical support (engagement, facilitation, outreach, digital storytelling), and enhance community leadership.
The design for the MFEI 2020 Project came out of the regional food system assessment work AERO did between 2016-2018, where a big gap identified was a lack of cross-sector engagement. We like to think this 2020 Project design also has its roots in the AERO Farm Improvement Clubs of the 1990’s. We certainly hope it is as successful. You can learn more about the MFEI 2020 Project here and here.
Our Network of distinguished and leading thinkers in the movement who care and advocate for a better Montana (affiliation descriptions provided by AERO; any errors or omissions are AERO’s error alone):
ANNA JONES CRABTREE
Vilicus Farm & Training Institute, Havre
Quinn Organics, Farmer, Big Sandy
MSU Extension Food & Nutrition Specialist
Helping Hands Food Bank & Farm to School, Hardin
MSU Food Product Development Lab Graduate Student
Native American Studies Graduate Student & Teaching Assistant
Timeless Seeds Agronomist, Ulm
KATE BURNABY WRIGHT
Open & Local Coalition Chair, Non-profit Consultant, Bozeman
Montana Local Foods Specialist, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Butte
Indigenous Food Sovereignty Specialist, Bozeman
LYNN CLIFF JR.
Ft. Belknap Indian Community
AERO Board of Directors & Montana Institute on Ecosystems, Bozeman
Canyon Cattle Ranch, Craig
Milton Ranch Apprentice, Roundup
Western Ag Research Center, Horticulturist, Corvallis
SHANNLYN SPOTTED ELK
Dietitian-to-be, Northern Cheyenne
SLOANE REAL BIRD
Big Horn Valley Health Center & Absaalooke Abundance is Here, Crow
Charter Ranch Apprentice, Billings
Two Bear Farm, Farmer, Whitefish
Director, MSU Food Product Development Lab
Blackfeet Ag Resource Management Plan, Food Policy Planner
The full project list and details on how to apply to participate will roll out at the upcoming virtual Expo. Stay tuned for details.