AERO and MOA started this project six months ago, with one clear intention: help our neighbors by procuring food from MT ranchers and farmers to minimize pandemic sales impact and providing that purchased food to Montanans in need.
The hope was that the effort would also make new connections and invite new partnerships, and that it has certainly done. The gift has been the joy and delight these new connections have brought those of us facilitating the project and, as we learn, the folks engaging in its implementation.
In six months we carried out six projects around the state, and at least three more are in the works for the coming winter. The projects come together organically, through word of mouth, contacts, inspiration. Each project invites more creativity for engagement and connection. Click below to see the full map (pictured left) of our project partners around the state. Want to get involved? Just go here.
Soft Landing Missoula works with refugee families from Syria, Iraq, and Eritrea. MFPP and Soft Landing collaborated to identify culturally appropriate grains and beef cuts that could provide support to 45 families. Our first delivery included 100 lbs Timeless Seeds lentils, 100 lbs Lifeline Farms grass-fed beef, and 50 lbs MT Milling flour. Next on the list: goat meat!
Helping Hands in Hardin, serves the residents of Big Horn County. The original collaboration was a Farmers Market “gleaning” project: supporting HHH in buying excess produce from the farmers at the end of market for distribution to folks in need in their community. When the River Valley Farmers Market closed early this summer, HHH purchased directly from the local farms.
Delpine Farms in Martinsdale, MT provides CSA shares and a pop-up weekly solo Farmers Market in Martinsdale and Harlowton. MFPP and Delpine Farms collaborated to partially sponsor eight CSA shares and make available more quality MT-made foods in their pop-up solo Farmers Market.
Terrapin Farms in Whitefish, MT has been providing 65 organic produce bags each week for two summer months to North Valley Food Bank, who delivers them to seniors and shut-ins in the Flathead Valley.