Bitterroot Valley - - Community Food Project (CFP) Coalition

Bitterroot Valley Food System

Food processing used to be Montana's #1 employment, and Montanans produced 70% of the food they consumed. Now the food processing industry is nil in the state, and we consume less than 10% of our own state produced food. We depend on a tremendous amount of fossil fuel, extensive transportation networks, and a small number of food distributors, retailers, and food services to move food from afar to our plate.     But how secure is that food system?

The Mission of the Community Food Project (CFP) is
to Improve our Community Food Security.

Sustainable Living Systems received a grant in the fall of 2007 for a Community Food Project (CFP).  A CFP grant is from the USDA and is for communities to plan and create a local food system that improves community food security.  This grant was a Planning Project, which is the first step in the Community Food Security process.

Community Food Security means that....
...all people in the community at all times have access to
safe, healthy, and affordable food through a sustainable food system.

    With this grant we formed a team (Coalition) of individuals and organizations, including low-income residents, that workedtogether to complete an Assessment of a broad range of the community’s food related assets, opportunities, needs and challenges. We documented and analyzed those factors that hinder local production and processing of food and its distribution to those in our community who need or want it. We wrote a Report that presents what we have learned in a succinct format and then entered into facilitated discussions and arrived at a Plan.

The Plan consists of very specific goals and recommendations for actions, programs, facilities and policies to ensure that the food needs of low-income people are met, to increase the food related sustainability and self-reliance of the valley, and to create an economic environment where diversified farming and processing of locally produced food is stimulated and encouraged. It is oriented toward establishing a permanent Food System Council to encourage project continuity and sustainability. This Plan, when implemented, will improve food security for all in the community and is consistent with the goals of the USDA grants program.

This Planning Project was completed in the spring of 2009 and the next grant proposal has been submitted, for funds to impliment the Plan.

Our Objectives