Farm Hands – Nourish the Flathead in Whitefish (Farm Hands) is a food security organization that also organizes a farmers’ market, a farm to school program, a school backpack program, and a couple of community gardens. They also work closely with FAST Blackfeet, which is an organization that supports food sovereignty and food access on the Blackfeet Reservation through their O’yop’ Food Pantry.
Farm Hands wanted to partner with several area farms to grow carrots and apples to be donated to the local elementary schools for their Farm Fresh Friday snacks to the O’yop’ Food Pantry. Carrots grow well in Montana and are also a crop that can be stored in the late fall and continue to be used for several months during the winter after the Montana outdoor growing season has ended.
Moss Farm, Two Bear Farm, North Shore Farm, and Raven ridge were given forward contracts using the MFEI mini grants. Farm Hands will organize community volunteers to harvest and then process carrots at their facilities. This project is considered two projects in one so that more producers could use the MFEI mini grant, and the projects are organized separately with the consumers. Two Bear Farm donated storage space for the carrots and apples. MFEI was able to offer Farm Hands financial travel support of the distribution plan on how the produce will get to the elementary school and over to the O’yop’ Food Pantry. Producers brought their product to The North Valley Food bank who then used their regular delivery route to take carrots to the schools and to the O’yop’ Food Pantry.