[montanafood_ag] MFU Awards Grant to Ag Academy

Sandy Courtnage scourtnage at montanafarmersunion.com
Tue Jan 19 13:15:48 MST 2010

I have been encouraged to share the following news release, which announces
a local food project  we were able to fund through a grant recently
received.  We are excited at the education and collaboration such a project
offers to the Great Falls area.




PO BOX 2447











January 13, 2010


Contact:  Sandy Courtnage, MFU

                 Jodi Koterba, CMR, 268-3378


MFU Provides Grant to Electric City Agriculture Academy


GREAT FALLS, MT (Jan. 13, 2010) - The Montana Farmers Union is pleased to
award a grant to the Electric City Agriculture Academy Program housed within
CM Russell High School, in Great Falls, for a hoop house greenhouse project.
The grant, in the amount of $13,500, will be used to purchase the greenhouse
as well as associated materials, supplies and equipment.  


"We are excited about the interdisciplinary educational opportunities and
the community outreach that will be achieved through the Agriculture
Academy," said MFU President Alan Merrill, "and we are particularly happy to
be able to provide the means for area students to learn about growing and
marketing food locally."


This project is intended to be a pilot that may be used as a guide for other
schools or interested groups who may want to learn how to extend their
growing season, explore opportunities for growing more fresh, local food,
and to promote local food system development.


Jodi Koterba, Agricultural Academy Coordinator at CMR High School, said that
she is particularly excited about the outpouring of community support for a
greenhouse and garden project.  "We have plans to work with the school
district's food service, meals-on-wheels and the community food bank.  We
also have assistance commitments from River City Harvest community garden
and can count on the help of the Co-op Extension Service master gardeners."


Greenhouse construction will take place in the spring of 2010 by the applied
landscape and construction tech classes offered at CMR High School.  The
greenhouse can be tied to the wind generator that was erected in 2008.  In
addition, opportunities for solar power and solar heating systems will be


The greenhouse will produce cold crop vegetables that will be utilized in
the high school salad bars when possible.  This project will help connect
students to the sources of their food and increase the availability of
healthy, locally produced food in the school cafeterias.  It will also raise
community awareness and involvement in area students' education.


Students expected to participate in the project include Ag Science and
Biology students who will work on vegetable production as well as conduct
growing experiments in a greenhouse environment.  Students working on power
structure modules will have the alternative energy sources, heating systems
and irrigation systems to utilize in their studies.  Other student
involvement possibilities include business and marketing applications.





Media advisory:  The check presentation will be made Wednesday, January 13,
2010, at 10:30 a.m. at the Great Falls Public School District Office in the
school board meeting room.  Local news media is invited to attend.







Sandy Courtnage, Communications Director

Montana Farmers Union

PO Box 2447

Great Falls, MT  59403




For almost 100 years MFU has worked for strong family farms & farmer
cooperatives, has presented the organization's policies to lawmakers & has
provided education for all ages.  If you're not a member, please join!




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