Getting Montana Food to Montanans
April 2, 2020
When farmers and their partners in food production see people in need of nourishment and assistance, their first impulse is to give food and keep selling food to their customers who can afford it. That’s a good impulse, and Montana food providers are taking action. That impulse, however, won’t build a more robust food system by itself. The Montana Organic Association [MOA] and Alternative Energy Resource Organization [AERO], two of Montana's premiere organizations focusing on sustainable agriculture and food, are therefore spearheading a project to build partnerships and to raise funds to address a dual reality: many people in Montana need food now, and we need to accelerate efforts to build a resilient regional food system, NOW. This double task of short- and long-term strategies cannot fall entirely on the backs of farmers and local food processors and purveyors. The broader community can and must help.
Here is what we are suggesting for a start, and we aim to build on this beginning to pursue the long-term goal of reducing our dependence on vulnerable national supply chains and vulnerable national agricultural systems.
The COVID 19 crisis is an ugly and difficult awakening, but it is also an inspirational one. The virus will diminish in the coming months (or years?), but its economic impact and other vulnerabilities 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, then our collective learning must cross those boundaries as well.
AERO (Alternative Energy Resource Organization), Montana’s longstanding sustainable ag group, will serve as the 501c3 to accept tax-deductible donations for this project. AERO has created a separate bank account to track these funds.
Are you a supplier of healthy, Montana-grown and/or processed food? We want to hear from you. The goal of this project is to shoulder the burden of donating food. Please let us know what you have to share and its fair value.