For two decades, Grow Montana has advocated for changes in policies to strengthen Montana’s food and agriculture economies. The coalition has led systems research, produced educational materials, and stewarded significant policy changes to support Montana’s food producers, processors, distributors, and consumers.

Our coordinated efforts framed progressive policies that successfully strengthened community based food systems. Though our organizations have offices spanning our large state, we have a proven record of mobilizing rapidly when threats or opportunities present themselves.

In recent years, it has become apparent that our Coalition needs new tools, knowledge, and perspectives to effectively advocate for progressive policies that improve lives at the community level. To be successful in our mission to help all Montanans overcome the food insecurity issues of our time, we must address the ways in which our current purpose and organizational structure have failed to engage key voices in our communities. We ask:

  • How do we invite new leadership into the coalition?
  • What research is necessary to inform future policy action?
  • What organizational structure should Grow Montana adopt to ensure ongoing statewide representation and diversity?
  • How do we institutionalize our local food system work to insure all Montanans have access to healthy nutritious food?

Our team is committed to embark on the creative journey to answer these questions. We believe it is the critical step to improve our goals as Montana’s Food Policy Council. That is why we are excited to pursue a funding opportunity through the Wallace Center’s Food Systems Leadership Network: the Gamechangers Laboratory.

Please check out this exciting video submission that outlines our goals for the future of Grow Montana – if you are excited by what you see, let us know! If you want to get involved, or know someone we should reach out to, tell us! Finally, if you have any feedback on what we have done well (or not so well!) in the past, or have suggestions for future work, we want to hear from you! We thank the Wallace Center for the opportunity to apply for this funding, and we thank you for your interest in Grow Montana!

In gratitude,
The Grow Montana Steering Committee

Bonnie Buckingham – Community Food and Agriculture Coalition (Missoula)
Lindsay Ganong – Alternative Energy Resources Organization (Helena)
Virgil Dupuis – Salish Kootenai College Extension (Pablo)
Steve Thompson – National Center for Appropriate Technology (Butte)
Jan Tusick – Lake County Community Development Corporation (Ronan)