[montanafood_ag] Act today to support Farm to School in Montana!

Stephanie Potts stephaniep at ncat.org
Wed Mar 6 07:42:25 MST 2013

Greetings friends, 

HB-471 , a bill to support Farm to School programs in Montana, will be voted on tomorrow (Thursday) in the House Agriculture Committee. 

HB-471 would support a competitive grants program for Montana K-12 schools to help them purchase Montana products for school lunches. 
The majority of grant funding would be used to purchase local products, going directly back into Montana’s food and farming economy. 

Can you call or write the members of the House Agriculture Committee TODAY to ask for their support of HB-471? 

You can contact Representatives in three easy ways: 
1) Call (406) 444-4800 to leave a message for legislators, or the entire House Agriculture Committee . 
2) Send a written message using this online form . 
3) Click here to find any Montana State Representatives using zip codes, and contact them directly. (Or click here to find your representative using a map) 

Reaching out to any member of the House Agriculture Committee (click the link for a full list) is valuable, but we especially want to reach out to the following representatives, who seem interested in the bill, but are wavering because they need to hear that the people of Montana support it: 

Chair Lee Randall, HD 39-Broadus 
Dennis Lenz, HD 50, Billings 
Mike Lang, HD 35-Malta 
Wylie Galt, HD 83-Martinsdale 
David Halvorson, HD 37, Sidney 
Krayton Kerns, HD 58, Laurel 

Especially if you live in these districts, please reach out to these representatives and urge them to vote YES on HB-471. 

Tell them: 

* Farm to school efforts are good for Montana’s farmers, ranchers, processors, and distributors. 

* Montana’s public K-12 schools spend approximately $19 million annually on food products-- a significant and consistent market for Montana’s agricultural producers. 
* The grant program would make it possible for schools to pay the difference between local food & cheaper out of state product. 
* Grants are seed money so schools to seek relationships with local producers. The relationships will continue after the grant money ends. 
* Schools could be a significant & consistent market for Montana farmers. 
* Oregon has found that $1 invested in FTS, resulted in around $2.16 circulating in the local economy. 
* Food service directors have only $1 to spend per child per meal, giving them very little leeway to seek out and buy from local farmers. 
* We are working with the Appropriations Committee to find funding. Please pass this bill so we can work on funding it. 

Thank you for making your voice heard! The vote is likely to take place Thursday afternoon, so it is important that these calls happen between now and tomorrow morning . Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about HB-471 or need any other information. 

Have a wonderful day, 

Stephanie Laporte Potts 
Coordinator, Grow Montana 

P.S. Please consider contributing to Grow Montana’s efforts to build a more robust and vibrant Montana food system during the legislative session and beyond. We still have $2,000 left to reach our legislative action goal. Can you help us get there, and make bills like HB-471 a reality? 

Stephanie Laporte Potts 
Grow Montana Coordinator 
National Center for Appropriate Technology 
stephaniep at ncat.org 
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