MOA (Montana Organic Association) and AERO (Alternative Energy ResourcesOrganization), two of Montana’s premier food sustainability organizations committed to healthy agriculture, are spearheading a partnership to raise funds, supplies and awareness for addressing a dual reality underscored by the current COVID-19 crisis:
We’re calling the partnership MONTANA FOOD PROVIDERS PROJECT.
And we’re asking you to help make it happen.
We are starting with specific short-term distribution goals that address the immediate crisis by getting Montana food products in the hands of the MontanaFood Bank Network (MFBN) for distribution across the state.
Past the crisis, we intend to build long-term infrastructure and means for thoroughly engaging communities to build resilient regional food systems across our state.
Short term: We need funds to purchase the goods and get them where they need to go. Your
contribution will pay the food providers and get food in the hands of Montanans in need.
Many farmers are donating food on their own (and have been for years), but they cannot shoulder the
lion’s share of donations moving forward if we expect them and the food system to grow and thrive. Only
by jointly assessing and addressing the needs will we be able to help the communities that are
underserved when supply lines are fragile. These destinations could include tribal communities, remote
rural areas, urban neighborhoods in need, and other people without access to healthy food.
Long-term: Building truly resilient, healthy food systems around the state will need enhanced distribution
infrastructure, including constructing strategically located distribution hubs, and continued community
education and engagement. Your participation as a working parter and/or contributor of tax-deductible
funds here will keep Montana on a path of true sustainability.
We all understand that every community’s sustainability is tied to its access to a healthy food supply. And that, the more local the healthy food, the more accessible and resilient the supply.
What we are learning is that resilient food systems need everyone to participate: producer, processor, purveyor, AND consumer. Up until now, we’ve tended to let the producer, purveyor, and processor take care of things. It doesn’t work. In the words of the Incredible Edible Network: “If you eat, you’re in!” That means every single one of us has a role to play in community access to healthy food.
The COVID 19 crisis is an ugly and difficult awakening, but it is also an inspirational one. While the virus will diminish in the coming months (or years?), its economic impact and the other vulnerabilities it highlights in our food supplies won’t just fade away. Montanans’ concerns reach across many boundaries, and we expect that long-term solutions will, too, even if individual projects begin very locally. Urban or rural, Native American or not, affluent or poor- we all have different experiences with adversity. To build statewide resilience, our collective learning must cross those boundaries as well.
This moment reveals the importance of strengthening and expanding existing supply chains within Montana and ensuring that Montana providers can put Montana-made nourishing foods into the hands of Montanans even in, but not only in, times of national or international disruption.
Join the Montana Food Providers Project and be a part of your food system.
Montana food is going to pantries across the Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN)
Additional supplies are added frequently. Click below if you have goods/services to offer.
Are you a supplier of healthy, Montana-grown and/or processed food who would like to participate? We want to hear from you.
We’ve opened an account just for this project. In addition to a tax receipt and thank you from us, you’ll be able to track where the funds are going and who is benefiting. Contribute online here: https://aeromt.org/montana-food-providers-project/ or mail a check to Montana Food Providers Project, ℅ AERO, PO Box 1158, Helena, MT 59624.
To join as a working partner in the longer-term projects that strengthen the resiliency of Montana’s food systems, contact MOA Executive Director, Jamie Ryan Lockman [email protected] or AERO Co-Executive Director, Lindsay Ganong [email protected]
Check the growing list of partners at https://montanaorganicassociation.org/montana-food-providers-project/
Thank you! Reconnecting our communities so we can care for one another while COVID-19 continues to cause suffering is the most important thing we can do together.
Be well –
Jamie Ryan Lockman, Executive Director MOA
Becky Weed, Chair, MOA
Robin Kelson, Co-Executive Director, AERO
Lindsay Ganong, Co-Executive Director, AERO
Jim Barngrover, Procurement & Grower Liaison, Timeless Natural Food
Dave Prather, General Manager, Western Montana Growers’ Coop
MOA advocates for policies that protect the environment, promote healthy living, and support individuals, farms, and businesses that are actively engaged in developing sustainable businesses and communities. Since its founding in 2002, MOA has worked to build connections and relationships between Montana’s organic farmers and ranchers with markets and other opportunities that strengthen organic agriculture.
AERO’s mission is to empower communities to nurture and promote a more sustainable Montana. Since 1974, we have been helping build resilient farms and community food systems, linking producers, consumers, distributors, and processors across the state to provide healthy, local products to Montanans.