Current Food Policy Work
Grow Montana also works with a broad range of allies that are working on growing a more robust and vibrant local food system in Montana. Some of the efforts that we helped support during the 2013 session were:
Defending protections for agricultural land:
Past legislatures had the wisdom to give local governments the legal tools necessary to protect the agricultural land base of their communities. SB 147 aimed to weaken those protections by taking away communities’ rights to consider the impacts on agricultural land when reviewing proposed subdivision developments. Grow Montana supported the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, Montana Farmers Union, and other allies in standing up for ag land, eventually garnering a veto from Governor Bullock. As the Governor’s veto letter rightly explained, “Agriculture is a vital part of Montana’s economy and culture. When evaluating a proposed development, a local community must be able to consider both short and long term agricultural impacts.
Streamlining Montana’s food safety regulations:
Grow Montana worked on numerous bills this session that addressed Montana’s current patchwork of confusing and complicated food safety rules. One of the most exciting and forward thinking of these was HB 630, sponsored by Kathleen Williams (D-Bozeman), which passed the legislature this spring. The bill established the Montana Food Safety Modernization Project. Headed by the Montana Department of Agriculture, this initiative will bring state agencies, sanitarians, producers, consumers, and others together during the legislative interim to streamline and craft food safety regulations that protect the public’s health but that also allow producers to access new markets and local businesses to thrive. Grow Montana enthusiastically looks forward to coming to this table, and will continue looking for ways to make food safety policies work for all Montanans.