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Montana schools, preschools receive Harvest of the Month mini-grants

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From MSU News Service

MONTANA — More than 25 institutions devoted to the care and education of children across the state have received Montana Harvest of the Month mini-grants to showcase Montana grown foods.

Montana Harvest of the Month is a joint program sponsored by the Montana Office of Public Instruction; the Montana Team Nutrition Program at Montana State University; the National Center for Appropriate Technology; MSU Extension; Gallatin Valley Farm to School; FoodCorps Montana; and the Montana Department of Agriculture. 

The grant recipients – including 14 Montana school districts and afterschool programs, as well as 12 early care and education programs – will work to implement and expand their Harvest of the Month programs. Efforts will include working with students to implement and expand taste tests and activities, expanding their reach to additional students or classrooms, improving outreach and using new Harvest of the Month videos.

The Harvest of the Month program showcases Montana grown foods in communities across the state. Its goals are to expose children and adults to new, healthy foods and to support Montana’s farmers and ranchers. Montana Harvest of the Month is open to K-12 schools, afterschool programs, summer food service programs, early care and education programs and healthcare institutions.

Each month, sites participating in Harvest of the Month promote one locally grown item, such as winter squash or apples, by serving the food in a meal or snack, offering taste tests and doing educational lessons and activities. Currently 122 schools and afterschool programs and 55 early care and education sites participate in the program.

Local mini-grant recipients include the Polson School District; Ronan’s Friends Forever Mentoring; and the Ronan School District.

The project is funded, in part, by U.S. Department of Agriculture grant funds awarded to the Office of Public Instruction, the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Northern Pulse Growers Association.

Montana Team Nutrition Program serves as the nutrition education-training arm for the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s School Nutrition Programs and is housed in the Department of Health and Human Development at MSU. For more information about the Harvest of the Month program, visit montana.edu/mtharvestofthemonth.

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