HELENA — Agriculture is a big industry in Montana bringing in billions of dollars annually and employing tens of thousands of Montanans.
On Thursday, a Harvesting Helena workshop showed people how to get locally grown food into their communities and schools.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology Collaborates with Montana Team Nutrition and businesses like Old Salt Co-op, and non-profits like the Helena Food Share for these workshops.
The goal is to train people how to incorporate Montana-grown food into the community and agriculture lessons into schools.
“The goal of these is to get more people procuring local food, but also spreading awareness about local food,” Molly Kirkham, a Montana local food specialist at the National Center for Appropriate Technology and a co-coordinator of the event said.
Participants received lessons in procuring local food, making educational activities and implementing what they learned out in the community.
“So we're teaching short activities that you can do at farmers markets and youth outdoor events, the community fair in the area and were teaching longer activities that you can do in classroom and meet those educational standards,” said Kirkham.
She also explained why buying locally is beneficial for everyone in the community.
“It puts a lot of money into community. The producers get more income if people are buying local food and we’ve seen when there’s local food in school lunch that more kids are buying the lunch. Parents are more inclined to have their kids purchase school lunch because its healthier,” Kirkham said.
They also traveled out in the community to tour sites, like Old Salt Co-op Meat Processing, that show how area-grown food can be utilized.