Organic Farming in Montana
June 29th, 2013 by Emily Wachsman
With a long history dedicated to the preservation of the stunning outdoors, it is no wonder that Montana is also involved in the organic, farm-fresh, and local food movement sweeping the nation. The Montana agricultural sector historically has grown much of the food eaten in the state. In the 1930′s, food processing was our state’s top occupation. According to Grow Montana, in 1950, about 70 percent of the food we ate in Montana was actually grown in the state.
However, in today’s modern society, only 15% of the $3 billion dollars spent on food is actually grown in Montana. In an effort to reverse these trends, organizations like Grow Montana, local food co-ops, and farmers throughout the state are joining together to build a local, Montana-based sustainable food system that can provide long-term, viable, and healthy solutions for our state’s economy, land and people.
At the Paradise Gateway Bed and Breakfast and Vacation Homes, we are strong supporters of our local farmers, and do our best to prepare local foods as often as possible in our homemade, gourmet breakfasts. Book your stay at our Montana bed and breakfast now, and let us help you discover some of the great farm-fresh products from our region.
We believe that organically-grown food is better for our bodies, our environment and our communities for a number of reasons. Organic produce is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and other products linked to health and environmental degradation. Perhaps more important than that, is that organic growers use renewable resources and sustainable growing methods that support soil sustainability, respect regional water quality, and contribute to conservation and biodiversity. In recent years, there has been remarkable growth in the organic foods industry, growing up to 17 percent annually in 2005. Organic foods are certified by USDA accredited independent agencies, and must follow strict guidelines in the production of crops and livestock. Purchasing locally grown and produced food when possible ensures that you get the freshest, best-tasting food possible. In additional to that, purchasing locally sourced foods helps to support family farms instead of large-scale industrial agriculture, it helps keep monies in our local communities, thereby supporting the health of the local economy, and it supports healthy environmental policies by promoting land stewardship and reducing the amount of fuels needed to transport foods long-distances. A final benefit not to be forgotten is that you have the opportunity to know the farmer(s) that produced and harvested your food, and you know the land that it came from.Montana Organic Farming
When you stay at the Paradise Gateway Bed and Breakfast and Vacation Homes, there are many nearby locations where you can buy organic and/or locally-produced foods throughout your stay in Montana. Start by visiting the Livingston Farmer’s Market each Wednesday from 4:00-7:30 p.m. for some of the best regional products around. The Community Food Co-op in Bozeman is the largest natural foods cooperative in Montana, with over 22,000 member-owners. The Community Food Co-op supports a large Farm to Market program, supplying customers with local, fresh, seasonal goods produced by members of their own region.
The Community Food Co-op is a huge success, nationally recognized and awarded, and still committed to its original mission to environmental awareness, nutritional advocacy, and support of local agriculture. Also located in Bozeman is Market Day Foods, where you can join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A CSA is an arrangement between the farmer and customer that provides money in advance to the farmer during the planning and planting season when there is no cash flow to operate the farm, in exchange for a weekly box of produce throughout the growing season.