Multi-Farm CSA Shares Available Now!

 8 farmers from around the Bitterroot Valley have joined together to offer a unique Multi-farm CSA through the Loyal to Local Cooperative, now available for signups! The Cooperative is excited to offer it's 2 and 4 person box shares for the third season, as well as optional add-ons including meat, cheese, grains, and fermented foods. This weekly fresh produce box model supports seed buying and planting efforts for local farmers including Homestead Organics, Mill Crick, Myriah Farms, House of Ferments, Missoula Grain & Veg Co, Tucker's Family Farm, and Living River Farm. Find out more at our website or by contacting Amy at 406-544-7074, amy.hutton1@montana.edu.

 

On-Farm Food Safety & GAP Workshop - March 6th and 7th here at the Research Station

This farm-based workshop is an opportunity for produce growers to create a personalized on-farm food safety plan, learn cost-effective methods for implementing food safety on their farms, and stay current with  new regulations. A growing number of businesses and institutions are requiring food safety plans and GAP audits. Join us to learn how to best protect your business, your customers, and to open market opportunities!  Contact us for more information. 

 

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Growing Markets for Montana Produce Project
In spring of 2017, the Loyal to Local Community Agriculture Co-op will be launching it’s new online market and delivery service and continuing its third year offering Multi-farm CSA shares.  In addition to offering CSA shares and weekly bulk buying to Co-op customers, we are building relationships between wholesale buyers and community farmers through farm tours and outreach, and are working towards facilitating grower agreements for upcoming seasons to enable Co-op members to plan for, grow, and sell large, regular quantities of farm products.  


Our mission is to increase the market share and create new opportunities for Bitterroot Valley agriculture producers, and we are excited to collaborate with many growers, processors, and buyers to bring more local food to all sectors of our community. Our marketing efforts include general education and awareness-raising about the value of eating local food and supporting local farmers, and we encourage buyers to honor their commitments to their current local suppliers.


We are also promoting local farms by creating an updated farm directory and map which will be handed out to buyers and posted on the Research Center’s website, AERO’s Abundant MT Directory, and the Loyal to Local website.  If your farm information has changed since the Sustainable Living Systems and/or Homegrown Montana directories were published, or if you were not included in those directories, please send me your farm information to be included!


This project is supported by Montana State University, hosted by the Western Agricultural Research Center, and funded by a Specialty Crops Block grant.  All farmers who participate in the Co-op are voting members, and buyers may also opt in to membership if they wish to support the organization with active involvement.  All members are encouraged to participate in the Co-op’s ongoing development meetings, and to get involved with committees to help make this community resource as effective and equitable as possible. We also are offering ongoing support and training with on farm food safety plans and regulations to help local producers meet the need of Bitterroot institutions and expand their market opportunities. Loyal to Local is striving to collaborate with other Co-ops around the Valley and across the state, and looking forward to expanding our product lists and services by supporting other community-minded organizations.


How Online Ordering through the CO-op Works:
Participating farmers create a profile for their farm and list what products they will have available for the following next week.  Customers can browse by farm or by product, then select any available products and purchase online with a credit card or receive an invoice to pay by check.  Ordering is available 5 days a week, with two days closed to new orders for harvest and delivery. Each farmer will get a pick ticket at the end of the week’s order period to let them know what was purchased, and will deliver the following day to one of our two current drop off spots - Homestead Organics in Hamilton and the Western Ag Research Center in Corvallis.  (In future seasons, we’re planning to add additional drop off spots to better service farmers throughout the Valley.)  CSA customers can pick up their shares every week at four pick-up locations on Tuesdays afternoons.


Your feedback and ideas are always welcome - please contact Amy at amy.hutton1@montana.edu or on her cell 406-544-7074. 
Thank you very much, and we look forward to working with you building our local food system!
 

Read more about this project in the Missoulian!