[montanafood_ag] Montana food systems council highlights great local examples

Crissie McMullan crissiem at ncat.org
Mon Jan 18 15:25:54 MST 2010

FROM: Cindy Owings, Montana Food System Council member
petunias at 3rivers.net

The Montana Food System Council announces our first posting to this list-serve. In anticipation of the rollout of our website expansion, we will be sharing good food, farm, and people stories over the next few months. So, what's happening in your neck of the woods or sweep of the prairie? We welcome your stories. Send to Jessie Williams, or Diana Taylor, both MFSC members. The three of us will be wrangling the website. Thanks and please, keep in touch, Cindy Owings

Success in My Neck of the Woods by Jessica Williams

“Success is a relative term” according to Dan Hardy, the Food Service Director for Livingston School Districts 1 and 4. Before being hired with the school, Dan was the chef/owner of Second Street Catering a company that used lots of high quality, local foods. Dan’s passion for food and a growing family encouraged him to leave the catering business and start a new career in school food service. Working within a very tight food budget, Hardy has managed to find economical sources for local food. Mark Rehder, director of the non-profit Farms for Families, supplies most of the fresh produce, Hardy and his staff figure out how to fit these foods into the school lunch menu. For most local foodies, we would think this is a great success, but according to Hardy, comments have not all been positive. When he put local broccoli salad on the menu, he had half a dozen calls from parents complaining that broccoli is not a kid friendly food. So far, support has come from the teachers, finding local zucchini casserole and fingerling potatoes a welcome change. Another barrier Hardy has discovered is convincing the kids to try new foods. A cucumber salad was offered, made with local cucumber slices, tomato and red onion and some of the kids had never seen sliced cucumbers. Rehder suggests bringing farm food to the kids before they see it in the cafeteria. Expose them to broccoli in the field, let them pick a spear and munch on it in the garden, perhaps they will be more likely to try unfamiliar foods in the lunch line if they could see how it grew and where it came from. Change can be difficult, but Hardy says he’ll keep taking baby steps towards incorporating as many local foods into the schools menu as possible. 

Cindy Owings: petunias at 3rivers.net
Jessica Williams: Jessica.williams at livingstonhealthcare.org
Diana Taylor: dilota at yahoo.com

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