Farm to Institution

Why Farm To Institution?

MMFEC’s Farm to Institution Program is a result of the 2008 Flathead Indian Reservation Food and Fitness Project. Increasingly schools and other institutional settings are being asked to provide more and more of our youth’s dietary needs. A recommendation that emerged from the initial two-year community assessment was that increasing health education and access to nutritious fresh foods in the schools is an important and necessary next-step in improving the health of our community members.

In 2011- 2012, MMFEC began developing the Farm to Institution program. MMFEC worked with the Western Montana Growers Cooperative (WMGC), a regional marketing and producer cooperative, and Kalispell, Ronan, St. Ignatius, and Polson School Districts on the pre-planning, production, and processing of five fruit and vegetable products. The project focused on purchasing second standard fruits and vegetables. MMFEC cut carrots and wedged apples for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program (FFVP), pitted and froze sweet cherries, wedged and froze apples and blanched and froze squash cubes for the school breakfast and lunch programs. During this time MMFEC evaluated production needs and purchased equipment for peeling, dicing, slicing and packaging produce in order to develop efficiencies in processing. MMFEC also collaborated with the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center on the development of the Montana Lentil Burger.

 

What We Do

Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center's (MMFEC) Farm to Institution program connects schools, colleges, hospitals and other food service establishments to Montana producers and processors to expand market opportunities for Montana businesses. MMFEC works to increase access to healthy, local food by processing local fruits and vegetables and developing value-added products that make it easier for institutions to serve local foods.  The Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center provides a USDA/FDA fully inspected food processing facility that helps meet the processing needs of food service programs.  We offer value-added products sourced from local growers in partnership with the

Western Montana Growers Cooperative.

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Products & How to Order

MMFEC staff regularly creates fresh-cut fruits and vegetables for schools that serve in-classroom snacks through Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. A few examples of the snack products are:

  • Cut carrot coins
  • Cubed Dixon Melons
  • Bell Pepper Rings
  • Cut Cucumbers

At MMFEC we also process frozen products to help schools provide local produce year-round.  These products are also a means for local growers to sell their second-grade crops and create non-seasonal market opportunities. Some examples of these frozen products are:

  • Pitted, sweet Flathead cherries
  • Butternut squash cubes
  • Roasted pie pumpkin puree
  • Blanched green beans
  • Diced onions
  • Diced peppers
  • Shredded zucchini
  • Shredded carrots

To learn more about our processed and frozen products, including how to order them, check out our Farm to School Ordering Guide! Questions? Contact Rosie Goldich, Program Coordinator, at rosie.goldich@lakecountycdc.org or 406-676-5901 ext. 123.

F2S ordering guide (pdf)

MMFEC Products

Lentil and mushroom balls with beef

  • Montana beef blended with mushrooms and Montana lentils – 80% Montana ingredients
  • Fully cooked, heat and serve product
  • Serve over pasta, in subs, or any other meatball recipe
  • Delicious served with Montana ‘Mato Sauce!

Montana ‘Mato Sauce

  • Full of Montana grown vegetables: carrots, butternut squash, leeks, onions, garlic
  • Can be made with local tomatoes or canned tomatoes
  • Each 3.5-ounce serving credits as 3/8 cup of red-orange vegetables (for schools)

Montana Breakfast Bars

  •  91% Montana grown ingredients
  •  3 flavors:
  •  Apple Pie
  •  Apple-Cherry
  •  Very (Flathead) Cherry
  •  1 oz equivalent whole grains and whole grain rich (for schools)
  •  Individually wrapped for grab & go breakfasts

 

 

Montana Beef-Lentil Crumble

The Beef-Lentil Crumble was developed to help Montana Schools utilize local beef in recipes without compromising nutrition, flavor, or budgets. The blending of beef and lentils offers a versatile, fiber and protein rich addition for sauces, Sloppy Joes, or Mexican food.

  • 100% Montana product
  • Fully cooked, heat and serve product
  • Helps meet legume and protein requirements
  • Versatile protein addition to soup, sauces, Sloppy Joes, burritos, tacos, nachos, and so much more!

The Montana Lentil Burger

The Montana Lentil Burger was developed to meet the increasing needs of public institutions to provide alternative protein items that support the values of a localized food system.  The burger provides a unique center-of-the-plate item that features one of Montana’s staple crops – lentils. Lentils are a significant source of protein, iron, and folic acid, making them a highly nutritious ingredient.

The Montana Lentil Burger also incorporates many other Montana grown ingredients such as oats, barley, organic eggs, flax seed, bell peppers, onions, and Safflower oil. The combination of grains and legumes, plus the additional protein source of eggs, makes this vegetarian burger a complete protein.

The Montana Lentil Burger is hand-made at the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center. The proceeds from this burger supports farm-to-institution services and also a facility for western Montana food entrepreneurs so that wholesome food can continue to reach the tables of our communities.

To learn more about MMFEC products, including how to order them, check out our MMFEC Product Guide!

MMFEC Product Guide (pdf)

Questions? Contact Rosie Goldich, Program Coordinator, at 406-676-5901 ext. 123.

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Resources

 Local Farms, Local Kids: A Montana Farm to School Movie

 

The movie follows the path of a butternut squash from the field to school, and as it goes along, viewers will learn about the close working relationships between the Western Montana Growers Cooperative, the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, FoodCorps, and local schools. 

The educational infographic pairs well with the movie or can be used as a stand-alone educational tool. If you are interested in using this file, please contact us.

A Culture of Health: Farm to Hospital in Montana

 

A celebration of local chefs, farmers, processors, and distributors in Montana working together to increase access to nutritious food, improving the health of hospital patients, communities, and the land. Produced in partnership with LCCDC and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), this film is an official selection of the 2017 Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC). Can be viewed

Farm to School Posters

Apples in Schools

 These posters were designed by a USDA Specialty Crop Grant and feature 13 specialty crops of Montana:

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cherries
  • Dark Greens
  • Lentil Patty
  • Melons
  • Peas 
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes


If you are interested in any of these posters for your school or organization, please contact us at 676-5901.

A Coloring Book of Montana Fruits and Vegetables


 

Farm to Institution Partners

The Western Montana Growers Cooperative

(WMGC) provides critical services to meet the procurement needs of our k-12 partners. WMGC is a coalition of growers in the Flathead, Jocko, Mission and Bitterroot Valleys whose goal is to provide the market in our region with fresh, quality products from our farms. To reach that goal, the Cooperative provides a wholesale marketing and delivery service for its members. The WMGC strives to improve the local food system of our area by enhancing the sustainability of local farms and contributing to local economic growth while reducing the demand of produce being shipped here from long distances. 

 

 

 

 

 

FoodCorps

FoodCorps is a nationwide team of leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy. FoodCorps Montana is hosted in the state of Montana by the National Center for Appropriate Technology. FoodCorps is a national nonprofit modeled after Montana's team of Montana Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers instituted in 2006 to grow farm to cafeteria programs. FoodCorps had its first class of service members in 2011 and FoodCorps Montana joined FoodCorps national in 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Farm to Cafeteria Network,

The Farm to Cafeteria Network developed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology is a group of Montana food producers, processors, food service professionals, and community members who collaborate to share best practices and resources about Farm to Cafeteria Programs across the state.

 

 

 

 

 

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