Local Food Challenge commences as farmers, ranchers, and consumers find more opportunities to connect
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2021
BILLINGS, Mont. – Northern Plains Resource Council is hosting the sixth annual Montana Local Food Challenge. The event is held online during the entire month of August, where Montanans are encouraged to eat something local every day of the month, participate in weekly online challenges, and earn a chance to win a local food gift card. Sharing recipes and photos over social media is also part of the month’s festivities.
As more opportunities arise for Montanans to safely gather at farmers markets and other venues to meet directly with local food producers, this year’s event takes on new significance.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Montana’s economy, and we’re especially happy to see farmers markets bustling and more local food restaurants safely opening right now,” said Northern Plains member and family farm/ranch partner in Rosebud County, Jean Lemire Dahlman. “We know we aren’t out of the woods yet with this pandemic, but we are cautiously optimistic and encouraged that Montanans can connect more easily with farmers and ranchers as well as businesses that sell locally-raised products.”
Dahlman points out that local foods build rural economies while supporting farm and ranch families, preserving genetic diversity, and sustaining a clean environment. Local foods also promote better health because they do not lose nutritional value during long storage and transport times. She says the Local Food Challenge is an opportunity to enjoy delicious foods while supporting agricultural producers during an especially difficult summer.
“There’s no way around it – the extreme drought we’ve experienced over the past several months has been really tough on local ag producers. But farmers and ranchers are a resilient bunch, and providing quality, nutritious foods directly to friends, neighbors, and small businesses lifts everyone’s spirits despite having to adapt to what is probably the new ‘normal,’” continues Dahlman.
“That’s what the Local Food Challenge is all about – making connections and solidifying relationships between people who love great food, love their communities, and appreciate how important family farming and ranching is to Montana,” concludes Dahlman.
All Montanans are invited to participate in the online event. Go to NorthernPlains.org/LocalFoodChallenge to sign up and take the challenge. The website provides helpful resources, including information about where to buy local foods across the state.