Edible Schoolyard Project Boulder, MT


Boulder Elementary School

October is farm to school month which recognizes the importance of having fresh fruits and vegetables and, in turn, supporting local farms.  The aim of The Edible Schoolyard Project is to use outdoor and greenhouse agricultural gardening for the classroom and community as a means for education. In school, cross-curricular education as well as adult education can offer local families with tools to help them produce their own food, learn about local food networks, and provide educational opportunities including nutrition and healthy lifestyles. For the past 10 years, Boulder Elementary School’s 21st century afterschool and summer school programs have used gardening as a means to educate our students and community.

Boulder’s 21st century garden program started as a service project to help local elders with their gardens. The program has flourished and includes year-round garden education allowing students to follow the garden in a full circle.

During the afterschool program, the youth plan and prepare the garden beds then plant seeds indoors in spring. The students transplant seedlings, care for the garden, and harvest throughout the 8-week Summer Program. Harvesting and preserving continues into the fall. A fall harvest festival follows to celebrate the successes of the year. Through programming, students have the opportunity to learn how to prepare and preserve the fresh produce from the gardens during the summer and afterschool programs.

Learn more here!




Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flathead County


Big Brothers Big Sisters is not your typical organization. They help children realize their potential and build their futures. They nurture children and strengthen communities.

They believe that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters live in low-income and single-parent families, or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).

Evidence suggests that Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) reduces delinquent behavior and improves school outcomes among mentees. Community-based BBBS can reduce youth’s aggressive behavior, improve relationships with parents, prevent boys from initiating illegal drug use, and improve girls’ academic performance.

Looking for a way for your community or organization to start Big Brothers Big Sisters in your community? Become a community partner.

National Bike to Work Week!


May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.

National Bike to Work Week 2016 will be held on May 16-20. Bike to Work Day is May 20!

As a national sponsor, the League provides resources to help you plan an event in your area, and each year the number and diversity of Bike Month celebrations continues to grow, accelerating the momentum around bicycling nationwide.

Check out their website for tips on getting your community involved in National Bike Month.

For a chance to be featured on our website and Instagram page, snap a photo of yourself or your co-workers biking to work and post it to your Instagram or Facebook and tag RHI with @montanaruralhealthinitiative . Dont forget to spread the word about Bike to Work Week with the hashtags #bikemonth and #biketoworkweek


Farm to School


The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and preschools.

With Farm to School, students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.NFSN-6Seeds-Graphic



For resources on bringing Farm to School to your area visit the Montana Farm to School website!

Supermarket Tours

Super market tours kids

 Program Information:

Rebecca Morley, MA, CLC, with the Missoula City-County Health Department, has created a unique program aimed at improving the health and nutrition knowledge for its citizens. Under the umbrella of the Eat Smart Missoula Program, Supermarket Tours are used as a valuable tool to teach families and individuals how to shop for and prepare healthy food on a limited budget. These classes are done in a classroom setting with power-point and displays or in the local grocery stores with smaller groups. Rebecca has done tours at the University level, in classrooms from k-12, with  scouts, church groups, senior citizens, WIC clients, parent groups, new moms, and worksites. The list is endless!

“Participants always tremendously enjoy the experience. I emphasize avoiding highly processed food and share the reasons why. Label reading is an important component and we share simple preparation techniques for more unusual foods or when participants ask how to incorporate certain foods in their diet. I find many are excited to share their food stories and are truly interested in making healthier choices. They are astounded by the amount of sugar, fat, salt and preservatives on many common items on the grocery shelf.” – Rebecca Morley, MA, CLC

Shoppng MattersEat Smart Missoula



Program Description

Did you know that the average grocery store has over 30,000 food choices? Discover how to choose healthy, tasty foods that won’t break your budget. By participating in an Eat Smart Shop Smart tour, you’ll learn to:

  • Read and understand nutrition information on food labels.
  • Identify meaningful health claims.
  • Shop to prevent or manage health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes.
  • Find the healthiest food choices in every section of the store – from breads to frozen dinners.


Tips for starting Supermarket Tours in your area:

  • For on-site Supermarket Tours, especially for new community programs across the state, Rebecca  recommends using COOKING MATTERS (Share Our Strength standard curriculum). Families on a tight budget report that the cost of healthy groceries is their biggest barrier to making healthy meals at home. Food skills, like smart shopping, can help overcome that barrier. Cooking Matters at the Store is a free program of the No Kid Hungry campaign that empowers families to stretch their food budgets so their children get healthy meals at home. http://cookingmatters.org/at-the-store
  • When leading on-site supermarket tours with adults, ask the store to donate $10.00 gift certificates and at the end of the tour, challenge shoppers to use this money to buy a healthy meal for a family of 4. (This meal can be breakfast, lunch or dinner). For children, encourage the group to provide a small sum of money for each child to purchase their own healthy snack.
  • Plan ahead, engage the audience with interaction, and ask for participant in-put.
  • If leading a tour, it is best to pre-schedule a larger group to compensate for no-shows.
  • Include all age groups from children to seniors.


For questions or more tips for starting Supermarket Tours in your area contact:

  • Rebecca Morley, MA, CLC
  • Eat Smart Missoula Program with the Missoula City-County Health Department
  • Phone: 406-258-3827
  • Email: rmorley@co.missoula.mt.us
  • Mailing Address: 301 W. Alder Missoula, MT 59802

Farmers, Foodies, and Fun


Farmers, Foodies, and Fun 

Kohl’s Cares and Bozeman Deaconess Health Services have teamed up to help you and your kids grow your own vegetables this summer. They will help with free seedlings (for the first 200 children), gardening hints, recipes, tips on healthy eating, and more.
Contact Info:


Price: Free

Location: Bogert Park Farmers Market       Bogert_Market_Logo_4c-e1299220269179Registration Type: No Registration Required

Address: 325 N Church Ave
Bozeman, MT 59715

Freedom Gardens

Freedom Gardens is a non-profit organization, working to develop a food production and education center in the heart of urban Missoula, MT. Our goal is to demonstrate innovative, climate-adaptive agriculture, while providing low-income families with freshly harvested, locally grown produce and nutrient dense value-added products.

freedom gardensFreedom Gardens is developing an innovative, climate-adaptive agricultural model that will serve concurrently as production and education center. We strive to exemplify community building and the positive health benefits associated with soil interaction. Our income-based classes teach individuals innovative and sustainable methods of seed sprouting, transplant/grafting, harvest, food preparation, food and seed preservation, seed storage, composting, aquaponics, and animal husbandry. The success of our ongoing program lies within our many volunteers. Our volunteers range in ages from pre-teens to the elderly – no hand is too nimble and no mind too feeble. While our success stories continue to grow, our top three to date include: teaching simply by doing, receiving a 4800 gallon aquaponics system donation, and developing over 2000 square feet of underutilized urban space into productive edible landscaping. Perhaps the greatest success story of all is that we’ve done this in under a year and our entire infrastructure to date has been 100% volunteer driven!


Partner Organizations: Missoula’s Sustainable Business Council [SBC], Community Food Agriculture Coalition of Missoula County [CFAC], and the Missoula County Fairgrounds.


Contact Information:

Heath N. Carey

• Co-Founder – Freedom Gardens
• 406.396.5147
• hncarey@gmail.com
• 1650 S. 10th W. Missoula, MT 59801


Chris Carlson

• Co-Founder – Freedom Gardens
• 406.370.3239
• chcarlson@gmail.com
• 319 S. 5th W. Missoula, MT 59801


Check out their blog at missoulaedibles.blogspot.com and watch for their up and coming website,  freedomgardens.us, to launch!


Community Food and Agriculture Coalition

CFAC logo new copy [Converted]Get involved this summer through our various volunteer workdays. Connect with community member and farmer friends while having fun in the sun!


The Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, CFAC works to strengthen Missoula County’s food system. We aim to achieve this through promoting sustainable agriculture, building regional self-reliance, assuring that all have equal access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food, and advocating for local, state and national policies that promote our local food system.


Our volunteer opportunities vary depending on current projects and the season. Every community member interested in volunteering has experience that can benefit our mission. We strive to connect these interested parties to opportunities that will provide them with a rewarding volunteer experience.


Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Monday, July 7th, 9 am-3 pm – Volunteer workday at a Hamilton farm. Lunch and unlimited coffee with be provided.

Location/Directions: Carpool from the Cabela’s parking lot in Missoula.

TO RSVP: Contact Kate at 406-273-8740  

  • Tuesday, July 22nd, 9 am-2 pm – Crop Mob! Join us for this fun volunteer workday at three different farms. As the name suggests, a mob of fellow community members will be looking to get their hands dirty while helping out farmer friends. Free lunch will be provided.

TO RSVP: Contact Kate at volunteers@missoulacfac.org for more information.  

  • Wednesday, July 30th, 5-8 pmConserving Soil and Water – examples and stories of putting good tools to use at Foothill Farm.

Cost: $5, includes light supper

Location: 61240 Foothill Rd, St. Ignatius

Have you been wondering about ways that you can add innovative soil and water conservation practices into your operation?  Join us for this event partnering with NRCS to see some great tools in use at Foothill Farm and hopefully, a few more (more details to come!)

TO RSVPcontact Annie Heuscher at annie@missoulacfac.org or 406-763-6862 by Monday, July 28th.

  • Tuesday, August 12th, 2-5 pm Gap & On-Farm Food Safety – farm walk through with food safety experts at Fresh Roots Farm

Cost: $5, includes snacks

Location: 41041 Mountain View Rd, Polson

We know that the rules are changing on food safety, but what do they mean?  On this field day, we’ll do a walk-through of Fresh Roots Farm with Karl Sutton and Darci Jones as well as two food safety experts, Jan Tusick and Nancy Matheson.  Together, you’ll be able to see the farm through the experts’ eyes:

  1. What are the problem areas?
  2. What are possible easy fixes?

We encourage you to bring your challenges and have the group help you brainstorm cheap and easy ways to make sure you’re being safe and careful with your products! This field day is occurring in partnership with the Western Montana Growers’ Coop and their group GAP certification pilot program.

TO RSVP: Contact Annie Heuscher at annie@missoulacfac.org or 406-763-6862 by Friday, August 8th


Health Fair Dates: July 7th and July 22nd

Partner Organizations: Various farmers in Missoula and Bitteroot Valleys


For more information, contact Katie Zuck, Volunteer Coordinator, or Bonnie Buckingham, Executive Director

Katie Zuck: P:406.273.8740 E: volunteers@missoulacfac.org

Bonnie Buckingham: P: 406.880.0543 E: bonnie@missoulacfac.org

Or visit their website at www.missoulacfac.org




Helena Community Gardens


Helena Community Gardens (HCG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to making garden space accessible to all Helenans.

 HCG currently manages seven different gardens throughout Helena. These gardens provide more than 200 individual garden plots for community gardeners. Each garden also has designated plots for volunteers to help grow and harvest produce for Helena Food Share.


In August 2012, HCG donated more than 4,000 pounds of vegetables to Helena Food Share. Helena Community Gardens builds gardens, provides the tools and knowledge to grow food and increase access to healthy and affordable food. HCG also organizes summer courses on a variety of topics including canning, cooking from the garden, and fermentation.


HCG strives to connect neighbors and communities through community gardens. In turn, these gardens provide environmental benefits by encouraging organic practices and reducing the amount of fossil fuels needed to access food.


HCG also partners with a few other organizations in Helena including Golden Years Gardening, Inside Edge Design, and the City of Helena. Home Depot, Helena Food Share, Plymouth Congregational Church, and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church have all helped with construction costs of various gardens as well.


For more information on volunteer opportunities, class sign ups, or garden plot rentals please their website:  www.HelenaGardens.org


Contact the HCG Coordinator, Kim Degner at:

 helenacommunitygardens@gmail.com or (406) 438-6049.