One of the things that oftentimes gets overlooked when we consider how the food gets from farm to plate, is making sure that good food gets to everyone's plate!
One of our favorite definitions of "good food" comes from the Michigan Good Food Charter:
Good food means that it enhances the condition of its consumers and growers; its production maintains the health of the environment while generating a profit for the grower.
Because local food is generally processed less than industrial food, it maintains more of its nutritional value and enables people to thrive. Good food is an essential element of youth development and the health of us all. That's why it's critical that we all have access to good food.
From our beginnings, food access has been an issue at the heart of our work at CFAC. We set up Montana's first EBT (food stamps) machines at two Missoula farmers' markets. In its first year, the EBT program resulted in over $5,000 in sales of fresh, local food to low-income families and has more than quadrupled since then!
This year, we collaborated with the Missoula Farmers Market, Clark Fork River Market, Missoula Food CoOp, and the Western MT Growers CoOp to bring the Double SNAP Dollar Program to these markets! It has far exceeded our expectations as people are eager to take advantage of this great opportunity to double their buying power and help support our local farmers while enjoying locally grown nutritious foods direct from the farmers!
As a special note, we are currently hiring a food access program coordinator to oversee this program in the coming year. See this link for more information.
We also partnered with Missoula County Public Schools to establish the Farm to School program in 2005. The National Association of Counties (NACO) featured our school meal program as a "best practice example" in a major report. Most Farm to School programming in the state has since been taken over by Food Corps, an awesome group working to bring healthy, local food to schools across the state!
Our Food Systems Committee continues to work on ways we can increase access to good food at all tables - join us!