Seven Montana Businesses Receive Grant Money to Encourage Farm to School Programs
New grants are flowing to seven Montana businesses in hopes of bringing healthier food to local schools and public institutions.
"The Department of Agriculture and Agriculture Development Council offered growth through agriculture funds that were targeted towards producers and processors of Montana agricultural products that were trying to access school and institutional markets, or increase those markets," said Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Angie Nelson. "The funds were specifically up to half of the cost, up to $10,000, for equipment specifically needed to access those markets.
The grants are designed to help Montana become more self-sustainable by producing more local food and distributing that food more efficiently.
Below are the grant recipientsas listed on the Growth Through Agriculture program website:
The Community Food Co-op, Inc.
$10,000 grant to assist the co-op in Bozeman, Montana, with the purchase of a walk-in freezer in order to expand their ability to purchase, process and store local produce from the area's growers in order to partner with Gallatin Valley Farm to School and provide school snacks for Hawthorne Elementary School.
Bear Paw Meats, LLC
$10,000 grant to assist the meat processor in Chinook, Montana, with the purchase of linker/stuffer equipment in order to expand its product line of meat products into Malta and Turner schools.
Todd Ulizio dba Ten Lakes Farm
$3,000 grant to assist the Eureka-Whitefish area vegetable producer with purchase of a mechanical barrel washer that will allow the farm to provide the first stage of processing carrots for the Whitefish Schools.
Lake County Community Development Corporation
$10,000 grant to assist the non-profit organization in Ronan, Montana, that houses the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, with the purchase of a walk-in freezer to increase the capacity for storing locally grown vegetables and fruit demanded from schools in Kalispell and Ronan. The produce is mostly raised by producers in the Western Montana Grower's Cooperative and other area growers and processed by the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center.
Bausch Potatoes Inc.
$3,000 grant to assist the potato producer and processor near Whitehall, Montana, with purchase of centrifuge equipment to increase processing capacity in order to supply hash browns, French fries and other specialty cuts to Livingston Schools.
Meat Montana, LLC / Germann Ranch, Inc.
$3,350 grant to assist the meat processing company in McAllister, Montana, with the purchase of vacuum packaging equipment to meet the requirements of supplying meat to Montana State University and increase capacity for market expansion into other school and institutional markets.
T.E.C.K. Corp., dba On the Rise Bread Co.
$10,000 grant to assist the bakery in Bozeman, Montana, with the purchase of a special oven to expand beyond their current artisan bread product line to supply Montana State University and Livingston Schools with additional baked items including sliced breads, buns, and cookies.