To help inform voters about where Montana’s legislative candidates stand on Montana food and agriculture issues, the Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition today released survey responses provided by 53 legislative candidates. The survey results indicate strong bipartisan support for strengthening Montana’s resilient food system and increasing Montanans’ access to healthy Montana-grown foods. Despite this broad consensus, there were key differences among candidates that may be important to voters before they cast their ballot.

“Our coalition is pleased by the responses we received from legislative candidates across the state, and we encourage voters who care about Montana’s food systems to find out where their candidates stand on the issues,” said Maura Henn, coalition coordinator.

The survey’s eight questions focused on the following areas:
● Increasing access of Montana students to beef and farm products grown in Montana.
● Expanding mid-scale meat and other food processing in Montana.
● Policies that encourage farmers to invest in management practices that build soil carbon, reduce erosion, and improve water retention
● Opportunities to strengthen equitable food access and food security for all Montanans.

Forty-six House candidates and seven Senate candidates responded to the survey.

The public can access survey results and learn where their candidates stand HERE.

The complete list of candidates the survey was sent to is available HERE.

HERE are graphs representing responses to three of the questions posed.

Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition formed in 2005 to advocate for state policies that would strengthen Montana’s food and agriculture economies. The coalition has since led foods systems research, produced educational materials, and stewarded significant policy changes to support Montana’s food producers. Its past successes include leading legislative campaigns to 1) authorize the Montana Department of Livestock to inspect mobile meat slaughter units, 2) authorize the creation of Montana’s Food and Agricultural Development Centers, 3) create more flexibility for public institutions to buy Montana-grown or processed food, and 4) implement cottage food in Montana and streamlining regulations related to mobile and temporary food vendors.

In 2020, Grow Montana is comprised of the following members and supporters:

● Alternative Energy Resources Organization
● Blackfeet Agricultural Resource Management
● Community Food & Agriculture Coalition
● Farm Hands – Nourish the Flathead
● FoodCorps Montana
● Governor’s Office of Economic Development
● Intertribal Agriculture Council
● Lake County Community Development Corporation
● Montana – No Kid Hungry
● Montana Cooperative Development Center
● Montana Department of Commerce
● Montana Farmers Union
● Montana Food Bank Network
● Montana Office of Public Instruction
● Montana Organic Association
● Montana Team Nutrition
● National Center for Appropriate Technology
● Natural Resources Defense Council
● Northern Plains Resource Council
● Open & Local
● River Valley Farmers Market
● Salish Kootenai College Extension
● Western Montana Growers Co-op

Grow Montana is coordinated by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, based in Butte, on behalf of a 9-member steering committee. For more information on NCAT see www.ncat.org.

Helena farmers market.