Profile of the Week: Nourish the Flathead

Nourish the Flathead

Nourish the Flathead’s mission is to reconnect people to the sources of our food through education, outreach and market support. 


Nourish the Flathead runs a community garden behind Flathead Valley Community College, within that garden they run a youth program called Stand Up. Dig in. (SUDI).  The beds that SUDI works contain food that is donated to the Flathead Food Bank.


Nourish the Flathead works with youth programs in Kalispell; The Montana Academy, the Flathead Youth Home, Center for Restorative Youth Justice and the Sinopah House.

Currently, they have a dedicated board that helps make everything happen.  They hope to begin funding their projects through grants now that they have their 501c3.

They also run the SNAP booth at the Whitefish Farmers Market and work to promote local food and businesses that use local food through our website.



Nourish the Flathead strives to work to connect youth to gardening, local food and community service, thus they work with youth in both their community garden as well as our SNAP booth.  They also have 40 plots within the garden that are rented by adults in the Kalispell area and help fund their garden project.  They endeavor to involve the adults in the Nourish Community as well.



For more information, please visit:

Nourish the Flathead:

Nourish the Flathead on Facebook:

Their Partner Organization, Farm Hands:

Profile of the Week: Strong Women

Strong Women

The primary objective of the StrongWomen™ Program is to help communities nationwide to implement safe and  effective strength training programs for midlife and older women.

Women begin to show decline in muscle mass beginning at age 30 and if this condition is not reversed, women will have reduced strength and other severe consequences as they age. Women need to maintain a healthy level of muscle mass at all ages for optimal health through weight lifting two or more times per week,  but only 17.5% of women meet these recommendations. The Strong Women program, developed by Tufts University, is designed for women to increase muscle strength by strength training for 2-3 sessions per week for fourteen weeks. This strength training program is now being offered through MSU Extension offices in Montana, and the results have been inspiring.  Participation, improved functional strength and balance, and a strong sense of camaraderie and achievement are positive outcomes for Montana’s rural women. These trainings are conducted by Extension educators who have been certified to teach Strong Women programs.

About Strong Women:
The StrongWomen™  program is an evidence-based strength training program developed by the staff of  the Hancock Center at the Friedman School at Tufts University. The primary objective of the StrongWomen™ Program is to help communities nationwide to implement safe and  effective strength training programs for midlife and older women.

Who should attend trainings:
* Professional and community leaders who are working with a non-profit and are interested in the fields of public health, nutrition and exercise or wellness should attend.

* Potential program leaders should be regularly lifting weights/strength training, be in good physical health, and be able to collaborate with local agencies or organizations to provide the Strong Women program in their community.


For a list of all locations and contact information, click here


Yoga for Healthy Aging


 Yoga for Healthy Aging

Whitefish Community Center offers a free yoga program for people in the community. Yoga for Healthy Aging is an ongoing program every Tuesday at 9:30 am. This program is a gentle, slow-paced yoga practice that aims to improve  breathing, balance, strength, and flexibility. Yoga is a great way to stay fit and can be exceptionally beneficial for aging adults. Exercise is a crucial part of healthy aging, and yoga is a great way to get moving, improve flexibility, improve bone health and muscle density, and relive stress and depression. This free yoga program is a wonderful health resource for the Whitefish community!

Kathy Cozad, Site Manager and Activities Coordinator for the Whitefish Community Center explains the program further writing, “This program is open to men and women of any age or ability. Our instructor, Betty Kuropat, is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance and she teaches at multiple venues in the Flathead Valley. Betty believes “if you can breathe, you can do yoga”. She further states that “just because it is gentle, doesn’t mean it’s easy”. She encourages and helps each student with proper body alignment, balanced posture, mental focus, and acceptance. She uses props, such as chairs, blankets, pillows, and straps to help learn a posture and make it easier. Modification is the name of the game for those who are just starting out or may be recovering from illness, injury, or surgery. Committing to a regular yoga practice will help you breathe more fully, enhance your concentration and self confidence, and over time will improve your strength, balance, and flexibility. One of the best things about this program—-it’s free! Betty gratefully accepts minimal donations, but they are not expected.”


For more information about the Whitefish Community Center yoga program contact:
Kathy Cozad
Site Manager/Activities Coordinator for Whitefish Community Center
121 E. 2nd Street, Whitefish, MT 59937
MT CVD and Diabetes Prevention Program logo

Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Program

Diverse Montana Communities Deliver Lifestyle Change Program to Prevent Diabetes

Since 2008, Montana communities have been helping prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among adults at high risk through the Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Program (CVDDPP).  The 10-month CVDDPP is based upon research evidence that intensive lifestyle change can prevent or delay the development of diabetes by 58% among adults at high risk.1

Lifestyle coaches educate and motivate participants to develop and maintain healthier eating and physical activity habits, which lead to weight loss and control.  These lifestyle coaches are registered dietitians, registered nurses, cardiac rehabilitation nurses, and exercise specialists trained to deliver the CVDDPP.

Eligibility criteria for the CVDDPP are based upon risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Adults aged 18 years and over with a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥25 kg/m2, medical clearance from a doctor, a commitment to lifestyle change, and one of the following may participate:

  • History of pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, or impaired fasting glucose
  • History of gestational diabetes or birth to a baby weighing >9 lbs
  • High blood pressure (≥130/85 mmHg or treatment)
  • Dyslipidemia (triglycerides >150 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol >130 mg/dL or treatment, or HDL cholesterol <40 mg/dL for men and <50 mg/dL for women)
  • A1C between 5.7% to 6.4%


In Montana, an estimated 185,000 adults over age 20 have pre-diabetes.3 The rate of diabetes reported by adult Montanans increased from 2.8% in 1990 to 7.0% in 2010.4  Based on these rates, it is estimated that nearly 70,000 adult Montanans have diagnosed diabetes.5  Over 8% of deaths in Montana are diabetes-related.6


Participating in the program is an effective way to slow these trends.  Over 2,000 Montanans have participated in the prevention program since it began in 2008.  Here are the average 10 month program results:

  • Weight loss of 15.4 lbs
  • Blood pressure reduction from 133/81 mmHg to 127/78 mmHg
  • LDL cholesterol reduction from 123 mg/dL to 119 mg/DL
  • HDL cholesterol increase from 49 mg/dL to 51 mg/dL
  • Fasting blood glucose reduction from 102 mg/dL to 97 mg/dL


Fourteen sites and four telehealth sites currently deliver the CVDDPP in communities designated8 as

  • Urban: Billings
  • Rural: Missoula, Kalispell, Great Falls, Helena, Butte, Bozeman
  • Frontier: Libby, Choteau, Dillon, Baker, Colstrip, Ekalaka, Forsyth,  Miles City


Go to to contact the site near you, read news and journal articles, and learn more.  For more information, contact Diane Arave, the Montana Diabetes Project Quality Improvement Specialist in Prevention, at or (406) 444-0593.


References and Data Sources

1. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, Hamman RF, Lachin JM, Walker EA, Nathan DM; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group: Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med 2002;346:393–402.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Diabetes Statistics, 2007 fact sheet. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 2008.

4. Montana DPHHS, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

5. U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts.

6. Montana DPHHS, Office of Vital Statistics.

7. Vanderwood KK, Hall TO, Harwell TS, Butcher MK, Helgerson SD. The Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Workgroup. Implementing a state-based cardiovascular disease and diabetes prevention program. Diab Care 2010;33:2543–2545.

Foy’s to Blacktail Trails

FTBT logo

A popular community trail system just 10 minutes from downtown Kalispell.  Contains miles of beautiful forested trails suitable for all ages and nearly all abilities, from families with small children and seniors to serious athletes.


The Foy’s to Blacktail Trails at Herron Park, just 10 minutes from downtown Kalispell, provide hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians with miles of trails for healthy outdoor recreation.  Because of their beauty and proximity, these trails are popular year round with locals and visitors to the area seeking a walk or ride in the woods in a beautiful, natural setting. Many people use the trails for their daily exercise routine.


While the project is ongoing, an important capital campaign to purchase and permanently protect the most popular destination on the trail system is active through 2014.  Since 2010, Foy’s to Blacktail Trails, Inc.  (FTBT) has added 260 acres to Flathead County-owned Herron Park, and needs your help to buy the final 60 acres, including the beautiful Foy’s Overlook, and add it to the park by early 2015.


Easy access from town, breathtaking beauty, and a variety of trails suited to nearly all abilities make this project a success.  People enjoy walking, running and riding the trails because they are close to Kalispell yet feature beautiful valley views, wildflowers, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Several competitive running, cycling, and equestrian events are held on the trails each year. Each event attracts hundreds of participants, many of whom train diligently prior to the events.



On average, more than a hundred people enjoy the trails each day.  Montana Conservation Corps hosts volunteer work days twice annually, during which dozens of local volunteers turn out to help build and/or maintain the trails. Participants from Kalispell Rotary, Flathead Youth Home, and local businesses are among the volunteers who regularly turn out for these work days.



Since 2007, FTBT and its community partners have transformed the site from a series of haphazard, unsustainable, user-created trails on public and private property to a well-organized, well-constructed, signed and mapped trail system. The organization has purchased private land at risk for sale and development and permanently protected it by adding it to Herron Park. With continued support, FTBT can finish securing the final 60 acre parcel for the permanent enjoyment of the many walkers, runners, cyclists, equestrians, skiers and snowshoers who rely on this trail system for regular exercise.


Foy’s to Blacktail Trails attracts populations of all ages, and nearly all abilities. Wheelchair accessibility is currently envisioned, and will eventually be implemented!



Visit their website : 

For more information, please contact:

Joanne Tatro, Administrative Coordinator

P: 406-203-3939

P.O. Box 81, Kalispell, MT 59903

*All pictures displayed above were taken on the Foy’s to Blacktail Trails

Evergreen Fitness Program

“Our community takes pride in the uniqueness of our program, as we have recently garnered national attention. The Evergreen Fitness Team was recognized regionally by Action for Healthy Kids, and nationally by the National Education Association for schools taking action against childhood obesity.”

The first week each participant is given a pre-session evaluation. The evaluation includes strength and flexibility measurements, body mass measurements, cardiovascular tests, blood pressure readings, and a questionnaire of eating habits. With the pre-session test each student is given a health risk appraisal. The following six weeks, for 2½ hours a day, each student completes a personal workout program that is designed to fit his or her needs. The 2½ hour session is split into half physical training and nutrition education, with the other half fun activities or games that promote cardiovascular fitness. Some of the activities include: obstacle courses, a climbing wall, dodge ball, and human foosball.  During the main six-week portion of the program, students are required to complete a nutrition log of food they consume each day. The team members rate themselves daily on how they perform both physically and on their eating habits. At the completion of the program the students are given a post-session evaluation showing the gains in their fitness level, and the differences from their pre-session evaluation. A post-session health risk appraisal is given to the students so they can work on their year round fitness goals.

Because of the number of students that are participating in the program, our day is split into a morning and afternoon session. The 7th and 8th graders participate in the morning with the 5th and 6th graders making up the afternoon session.  While the program was originally offered only to the district’s 5th through 8th graders, the increasing popularity of the program has  allowed the program to expand to the district’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders.  Last year’s roster grew to 123 participants. In addition to the summer program, Evergreen Fitness now offers a Christmas and Spring Break program to encourage students to be even more excited about physical fitness.

Bigfork/Ferndale Community Square Foot Garden

Come Grow With Us

The St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Ferndale started a Square Foot Gardening system to provide members of the Bigfork and Ferndale communities along with the surrounding areas with a place to garden. The ground was made available by the St. Patrick’s Church. There are currently 72 plots and 62 of them were planted this season. The gardening method is all-natural in use of fertilizer and pesticides. A minimal fee of $20 is required to have a plot and to upkeep the garden. The garden managers offer early sign up discounts, special family plot pricing, and provides opportunities for “sweat equity” in lieu of payment.Many members of the church and surrounding community support this garden and make it thrive. This garden also plants and harvests 12 plots for the Bigfork Food Bank and donates all of the produce.

The Community Garden Project offers high school students the opportunity to mentor elementary school students as well as other service-learning projects through the LEAP program, which led America’s Promise Alliance to name Bigfork one of its 100 Best Communities for Young People in 2011. The garden also provides produce for LEAP food programs including healthy after-school snacks, free evening meals every Wednesday during the school year, and breakfast and lunch during the summer.

More information on the garden can be found on their website: or through Nourish the Flathead:



Kalispell Community Garden

The Kalispell Community Garden (KCG) allows locals, who don’t otherwise have the means, a location to grow their own vegetables to provide nutritious foods for their families. The Kalispell Community Garden has 50 gardening plots free to the community members.

As it resides near low-income housing, many rely on their plots for a fresh source of produce. However, there are also many community members that donate some or all of their produce to the food bank. The combined support of the Montana Conservation Corps, the city of Kalispell, and local youth groups keep this garden flourishing. The diversity of the community volunteers along with the location of the garden also help the garden be success.

The Kalispell Community Garden (KCG) is facilitated at Liberty and Hawthorn streets in Kalispell, Montana. To view the setup of the gardens, click for a site map. Gardeners are usually folks who don’t have the space or means to garden at home, and many live on limited incomes. The KCG has been in existence since the early 2000’s and will hopefully remain in existence for years to come. Key factors to making it a success are the partnerships involved with the city, nonprofit organizations, the Food Bank and local volunteers. Specific partner organizations include the City of Kalispell, Nourish the Flathead, and the Center for Restorative Youth Justice. Individual gardeners’ personal investment in the quality of produce and the appearance of the garden space also plays a vital role in the success of the gardens.

Involved participants span from families with small children, retired seniors, local youth programs, local high school students, and various volunteers. The story is a long one, but great credit goes to the City of Kalispell for providing the space, the water, and plenty of other resources to bring the garden to fruition. From there, partnerships with nonprofits like the Montana Conservation Corps and the Food Bank filled in gaps for maintenance. Gardeners donate all excess produce to the Food Bank.

Great gratitude and recognition goes to the volunteer garden coordinators who have taken on the role of being point people for the gardeners, coordinating work days, managing maintenance needs, and being excellent watchdogs for garden activities.

Additional resources include information about Composting and Kalispell’s Garden Rules.

For more information, visit:

Or contact:

Regional Supervisor
Kalispell - Gardening with Kids1

Kalispell City Parks & Recreation — Gardening with Kids

Kalispell City Parks & Recreation

“Gardening with Kids”

Kalispell’s “Gardening with Kids” program received funding from the Montana Rural Health Initiative Incubator Mini-Grant in 2011. The success and details of the program are outlined below.

Purpose: To increase awareness of healthy food choices, where food comes from, and gardening as a life skill.


  • Twice a week: Traveled to the community garden to plant, weed, water and harvest with 12 participants from Parks & Recreation.
  • Once a week: Provided a healthy snack at summer Day Camp and the After-School program from the end of June through September.

Outcome: Introducing gardening skills and healthy eating to kids in the community.


For more information please contact:

Jennifer Young



Montana FoodCorps & Grow Montana

Montana’s FoodCorps is a team of young leaders fighting the childhood obesity epidemic by helping K-12 schools serve more locally grown food, grow school gardens, and conduct hands-on nutrition education. The 2011-2012 team is focused on Montana’s rural communities, especially those with high levels of poverty or food insecurity.

In the summer of 2006, Grow Montana partnered with Montana Campus Compact to launch Montana’s FoodCorps, the nation’s first statewide team of VISTA volunteers trained to create and grow farm to cafeteria programs. Each FoodCorps member was trained, provided with mentors, and dispatched to a partnering institution. Since then, the six original Montana FoodCorps institutions have returned over $2.5 million dollars to local farmers and ranchers. This year the growing Montana FoodCorps team will work in a dozen communities state-wide to help schools serve local, healthy foods; build and tend school gardens; and educate kids about how and why to eat food grown closer to home.


In FoodCorps’ first year alone, Salish Kootenai College purchased 10 percent (up from 0) of its total food budget from seven tribal reservation-area vendors, Montana State University launched a diversified student-run vegetable farm, UM-Western bought so much local beef that a county commissioner is proposing to build a processing plant in the region, and Missoula County Public Schools actually saved money stocking local produce. Now, Montana’s FoodCorps is a model for a national FoodCorps, which launched this summer with 50 members in 10 states.

Montana’s FoodCorps depends on the hard work of many, starting with the host communities who In Ennis, Dillon, Red Lodge, Boulder, Livingston, Ronan, Glendive, Forsyth, Kalispell, Somers, Sheridan, and Potomac, we collaborate with community foundations, extension agencies, local colleges, school districts, non-profits, after-school programs, and more. In addition, FoodCorps members enjoy broad statewide support from the Grow Montana coalition, which aims to create a sustainable Montana-based food system.

While the emphasis of Montana’s FoodCorps is on K-12 students, our impact reaches far beyond. For example, on a recent sunny fall day in Dillon, middle school students jogged one mile to the UM Western Campus Garden, enjoyed a quick hands-on lesson on the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables from a UM Western student, then harvested a bounty of produce to share with the senior center down the road. This one simple project gets healthy food into the lives of sixth graders, college students, and retirees all at once.

But do the kids like it? According to teachers in Kalispell, even the pickiest eaters are gobbling up the local produce now being offered in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Snack program. And in Red Lodge, students so enjoyed the fresh veggies offered on a special meal day that they went to the farm to help harvest more. The fruits of our labor are disappearing into kids’ bellies, and that’s just the way we like it.

The key factor in our ability to create such innovative programs is our community-building process: All FoodCorps members share the same mission—to improve the health of children through Farm to School, school gardens, and nutrition eduction—but the strategies for achieving the mission is tailored to the unique strengths and opportunities of the local community.

Results:  Previous FoodCorps members have returned over $1 million to Montana’s farmers
and ranchers through local food buying programs, and reached thousands of
community members through educational programming.

Findings:  Evaluation data on FoodCorps for Rural Montana is still pending. Initial
summary of progress to date will be developed in fall/winter of 2012.

Farm to School programs across the state would benefit from:

                -Increased number of farmers and ranchers with the capacity to sell locally

                -Increased opportunities for community-based food processing

                -More opportunities to work with teachers on how to incorporate school gardens and farm-based education into their already full schedules

                -More research on which types of school gardens, farm-based education, cooking and nutrition classes have greatest impact, so that we can tailor our programs accordingly

Current Funding Sources: USDA Community Food Projects (NIFA) & Corporation for National and Community Service

Partner Organizations: Grow Montana, National Center for AppropriateTechnology, Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO), Montana Campus Compact VISTA, Montana Team Nutrition’s Farm to School Program, National FoodCorps, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, Community GATE, Montana
Farmers Union

For more information please visit :

 Or Contact:

Crissie McMullan, FoodCorps Project Director, National Center for Appropriate Technology and Grow Montana



Kevin Moore,  Grow Montana Project Director, Alternative Energy Resources Organization