Real Food at the Summit
In the 1950s, 80 percent of Montana’s food was grown and processed locally. Now it’s only 10 percent. The Governor’s Food and Agriculture Summit, March 22-23, focused on restoring our self-reliance—and with it, our food security—that we enjoyed not so long ago.
The Helena event hosted about 200 food activists, including government employees, college students, farmers, ranchers, food inspectors, Native Americans, food service directors, professors, artists, community organizers, retailers, a mayor and food bank employees. Ten attended from our store.
“Who’s your Farmer?” was the Governor’s opening question. He wants to improve Montana’s economy by using and adding value to local food products.
We heard a talk on Montana’s economic decline in the last 30 years, followed by success stories: getting food stamps and funds to needy people; accepting food stamps at farmer’s markets; getting our universities to buy local food.
At a tasty lunch featuring Montana-grown food, Bill Yellowtail warned that global warming will triple the number of food-insecure people (think hungry), and that’s not something you’ll find on the websites of many large food producers. On the other hand, farms and forests reduce greenhouse emissions and may be able to profit by offsetting pollution.
The working groups came up with specific requests for Governor Schweitzer.
For more information about The Governor’s Summit please contact Nancy Matheson at the National Center of Appropriate Technology at 406 227-0389 or AERO at 406 443-7272 or www.foodandag.mt.gov.