Short Video Highlights New Beef to School Movement in MT
Do you know where the meat in your child’s school lunch comes from? Does he or she know? With national-scale food distribution systems the norm, it can be difficult to know the place of origin of the beef or chicken served in school cafeterias. In Montana, a movement is underway to take the mystery out of meat by bringing more local livestock into the lunchroom. A new video produced by National Center for Appropriate Technology’s FoodCorps Montana highlights the burgeoning Beef to School movement that serves to connect students with Montana’s rich ranching heritage, support local economies, and unite Montana communities through food.
In the video, Kalispell Public Schools Foodservice Director Jenny Montague explains how her district’s local beef purchases contribute to the economy in the Flathead Valley. “We have been able to spend $35,000 locally that would have gone to a national distributor,” she says of the 2012-2013 school year and the district’s new business partnership with local meat processor, Lower Valley Meats.
Fifth generation rancher Cole Mannix understands the motives behind Montana’s Beef to School movement perhaps better than anyone. In the video, Mannix says, “Good food and responsibly produced food is very important. We need to prioritize that. We need to prioritize it with our checkbooks. We need to prioritize it with our policies. We need to put our money where our mouth is. And where else to do that but in our schools?”
FoodCorps Montana is one program helping to establish the crucial partnerships between school foodservice directors, processors, and producers that will bring more Montana beef to school lunch trays, more money to local economies, and more Montana communities together around good food. Another is the Montana Beef to School Coalition, a group of various stakeholders that are working together to increase the amount of local beef that is served in school lunches across the state.