Dawson County Healthy Communities Coalition

Dawson County Healthy Communities Coalition works to promote and ensure a healthy, sustainable community. It is comprised of volunteers dedicated to identifying community issues and needs and working together to coordinate supportive community activities.

Dawson County Healthy Communities Coalition (DCHCC) has been serving the Glendive community since 2001.  Comprised of volunteers who work collaboratively to “Promote and Ensure a Healthy Sustainable Community,” DCHCC was established by a group of concerned citizens.  “Inclusion, sustainability and asset based activities” were the original core values of the coalition. Put simply, everyone is welcome to participate in the coalition which is committed to making changes for the long haul, focusing on the positive not the negative.

DCHCC received federal funding through a Drug Free Communities Grant (DFC).  The DFC was issued in 2004 and is providing funds for operating expenses until October of 2010.  In order for continued assistance to be granted, the coalition has begun designing a Sustainability Plan so the coalition may continue on with its mission to “Promote and Ensure A Healthy, Sustainable Community.”

Dawson County Healthy Communities Coalition works to promote and ensure a healthy sustainable community via several avenues.   Reducing substance abuse among Dawson County’s youth, enhancing protective factors in the community, and promoting the increase of collaborative and cooperative efforts among all sectors of Dawson County are core goals of the coalition.

The coalition works to identify community issues and needs, and encourage the sharing of resources, knowledge and information.  The coalition has brought a network of committed community members together to work on collaboration and program development to support and coordinate ongoing community activities.  The group meets monthly, on the 4th Wednesday at 8:00 am in the basement of the courthouse.
Opportunities are abundant for those wanting to become involved.  Several committees including the Beautification, Positive Rewards, Evaluation, and Sustainability committees, are open to volunteers.

The coalition works hard on several programs and projects within the community including Character Counts, Community Champions, Farm to Table, Parent Education, Positive Rewards, and Women’s Health.  For more information on any of these projects, visit the webiste http://prevention.mt.gov/resource/coalitions/view.php?id=2169.


Dawson County Farm-To-Table

Farm-to-Table is a project of Community Giving Assistance Towards Employment (GATE), a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Glendive, MT.

The mission of the project is to develop a sustainable local food system in Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota and therefore increase the vitality of our rural communities.  All areas of the local food economy such as growers, value-added producers, restaurants, stores, food services, and individual consumers work together with Farm-to-Table to achieve the goal of obtaining a local food system.

The Farm-to-Table project works to educate the public about the economic, environmental, and social benefits of local food systems through special events, and media outreach and their website.  The project also works to increase access to locally grown and produced food through promoting farmer’s markets and creating a Local Buyer’s Guide which lists farms and food producers in the area.  As far as long-term goals, the hope of the coalition is to open a Farm-To-Table Restaurant featuring an all-local menu.

Several projects are currently happening at the Farm-to-Table headquarters including; compiling a local buyers guide to help consumers find local food in their region, forming the Farm-to-Table Co-op that will market member’s produce and products to local stores, restaurants, and food services, and the formation of Western Trails Food, which is a value added food business featuring hulless barley in pancake and soup mixes.

In addition, Farm-to-Table also assists the Dawson Community College in their planning process for a Culinary Arts program that would train chefs to work with local growers and producers, and they are working on developing plans for a shared use Commercial Kitchen that will increase opportunities for value-added food production in the region.

*New: A current project is designing a local buyers guide to help individual consumers find nearby farms and other sources of locally produced food. Currently, there is a list of Farmer’s Markets and future plans include listing growers and producers and stores and restaurants that carry and buy products locally.

For more information, visit the Farm to Table Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/glendivef2t

Campus Corps Volunteer Katie Lyons mows a trail below the dike in the Black Bridge Fishing Access.

Greater Glendive Walking Paths

The Greater Glendive Walking Pathways was a 2012 RHI Incubator Mini-Grant Recipient. The walking paths help ensure a healthy community by connecting the Yellowstone River, Black Bridge Fishing Access, parks, ball fields, and schools surrounding Glendive, Montana. The goal of the project was to improve and reestablish the Black Bridge Fishing Access trails that were flooded in 2010. With the use of a walk-behind string trimmer mower, maintaining these trails became a possibility.

 The walk-behind trimmer mower was used to reestablish natural dirt trails by mowing trails along the river and dike in trail access areas. This project’s success was due in large part to partnering organizations such as the Rotary Club of Glendive, the Montana Rural Health Initiative, and the walking path committee consisting of a county planner, healthy communities coalition, county commissioner, mayor, school superintendent, runners club, and engineering firm. This committee has worked together to compile a Safe Routes to School grant.

The schools and county have applied for a Safe Route to School grant because the narrow Jefferson School Road is so busy from Highland Park.  Although they didn’t get the grant in 2012, the county cleared over-grown trees from a future path area.  Later, two college-bound students mowed the area to expose tree roots which were removed by a contractor.  Funds for the root removal came from memorial money in memory of John Johnson, a former principal and legislator.

Dawson Community College Campus Corps volunteer Katie Lyons also helped maintain trails during the summer of 2012 in the Black Bridge Fishing Access west of the Bell Street Bridge in Glendive.  The Rotary Club of Glendive used the Rural Health Initiative Incubator Mini-Grant to purchase a walk-behind trimmer mower to help maintain trails wherever work was needed.

Campus Corps Volunteer Katie Lyons mows a trail below the dike in the Black Bridge Fishing Access.

Since walking on top of the dike in the early morning can start a chorus of barking dogs from the Casitas Del Rio Trailer Park, the lower trail is another alternative.  Additional trails follow along the Yellowstone River from the three parking areas along the Fish Wildlife & Park maintained road to the Black Bridge boat ramp. The Rotary Club of Glendive is adding to the Glendive trails annually.  The city and county have committed $300,000 in Community Transportation Enhancement Project (CTEP) funds for trails. Construction will start in the spring on a trail from the city to Makoshika Park Visitor Center.

For more information or updates about the Glendive Walking Paths project, please contact:

Peggy Iba


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 : www.montanafoodcorps.blogspot.com

 Or Contact:

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

406-531-5162 crissiem@ncat.org


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

406-443-7272  kmoore@aeromt.org