Today at 3 pm the Senate Natural Resources Committee will hear SB180. Tune in at this link to watch the hearing and listen to the many reasons why farmers, ranchers, agriculture & conservation organizations, and government agencies across the country support strengthening soil health. It’s not too late to reach out to your representatives and the committee members to let them know why you care about soil health and encourage them to support SB180. You can contact them through this form here.
Archive for year: 2021
Double SNAP Dollars is a Win-Win for Families, Farmers and the Economy:
- Farms: Nearly 50% of farms in Montana are small farms less than 180 acres. Double SNAP Dollars helps these farms reach more customers. Double SNAP Dollars operates at 26 sites across 13 Montana counties, directly benefiting Montana farmers.
- The Economy: SNAP is an effective economic stimulus, with each dollar generating between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity (5). Since 2015, $500,000 has been spent on local foods through Double SNAP Dollars, representing an economic impact of up to $895,000. With the requested investment in state funds, that economic impact could increase by an additional $358,000.
- Families: 6,000 low-income Montanans have benefited from the program since 2015. In a survey of 140 Double SNAP participants, 96% reported consuming a greater amount of fresh fruits and vegetables as a result of the program. Improved access to nutrition means: 1) children are better learners, 2) seniors and people with disabilities have better health outcomes, and 3) reduced healthcare spending in Montana.
The soil health bill (SB180) has been scheduled for a hearing with Senate Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, 2/17 at 3 pm in room 303. This bill, sponsored by Senator Pat Flowers, will establish a subcommittee within the Environmental Quality Council Interim Committee to study how MT can promote and support soil health! Show your support and reach out to your legislators using this link or provide public testimony through this link. If you’d like to submit written or virtual testimony, you must submit your information and testimony by Tuesday at noon prior to the scheduled hearing. Check out the legislature’s FAQ on how to provide testimony here.
Don’t forget to check out the bill’s fact sheet and FAQ on our 2021 Policy Priorities page and stay up to date on Grow Montana’s policy priorities by signing up for legislative updates and alerts at https://growmt.org/action-alerts/.
Farm to School focuses on three areas of implementation: procurement, education, and school gardens. One way that Farm to School education is implemented in Montana is through the Montana – Harvest of the Month Program. Harvest of the Month is an easy to follow framework that provides educational resources to early care facilities, K-12 Schools, Health Care, and Business & Community Organizations. Registration is required, but the program and materials are free. Each month, a Montana grown or raised food item is featured through promotional materials, recipes, and educational videos. Harvest of the Month is a grant funded program that helps provide educational resources to accompany the procurement practices of schools. The Farm to School Bill, supported by Grow MT, would help schools with funding to purchase of many of the local fruits and vegetables that are featured through Harvest of the Month. To learn more about Harvest of the Month, visit https://www.montana.edu/mtharvestofthemonth/
House Bill 235 requests appropriation of $200,000 to support the statewide nutrition incentive program, Double SNAP Dollars, at farmers markets, community supported agriculture sites and grocery stores throughout Montana. Double SNAP Dollars is a nutrition incentive program that helps food-insecure Montanans afford more local fruits and vegetables, while directly supporting Montana farmers Currently offered at 23 farmers markets, 2 Community Supported Agriculture (farm share programs), and 1 retail grocery store across 13 Montana counties SNAP customers have spent $500,000 on local foods through Double SNAP Dollars, since 2015. To learn more about HB 235 check out the fact sheet: https://mfbn.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/DSD-Advocacy-Fact-Sheet-2021.pdf
The Soil Health Subcommittee Bill draft, sponsored by Sentor Pat Flowers (SD32), is available for review on the session’s website here. Find your representatives here and contact them about supporting the soil health bill, and consider asking your agricultural organization to actively support legislation for soil health. You can also find the bill fact sheet on our website at https://growmt.org/policy/.
The Country-of-Origin Labeling Bill, or also known as the COOL Bill, will allow consumers to know where their beef and pork was born, raised and harvested. There is a federal effort underway to address provisions within the federal “Product of USA” bill to address definitions for beef and pork that are born, raised and harvested in the United States. Grow Montana supports the COOL bill because consumers have the right to know where their meat comes from and ranchers deserve a fair market price for their products.
The COOL Bill is sponsored by Rep. Frank Smith of HD31 and you can find the draft of the bill on the session’s website here. To keep up to date with any news on the COOL Bill, please sign up for our legislative updates and action alerts at https://growmt.org/action-alerts/.
Grow Montana is committed to supporting initiatives that focus on local food procurement that encourages consumption of healthy Montana-grown food. That is why Grow Montana is sponsoring the Farm to School Bill in the 67th Legislative Session. Farm to School has many benefits for students, local producers and their communities, and school food service programs. And farm to school isn’t just in Montana – it is a national initiative with an expanding network of partners that provide insight into best practices and national impact. To learn more about the national impact of Farm to School, read the Benefits Fact Sheet: http://www.farmtoschool.org/Resources/BenefitsFactSheet.pdf
Since 2005, Grow Montana has advocated for changes in state policies that would strengthen Montana’s food and agriculture economies. The coalition has since led projects on food systems research, producing education materials, and stewarded policy change to support Montana’s food producers.