• State Fellow: Mallory Stefan
  • State Partner Supervisor: Al Kurki

For more information, please contact Mallory.

Why Serve in Montana?

When students in Ronan, Montana were asked what their state is known for, they replied, “big sky, wilderness, and lentils.” Undoubtedly, these students captured the essence of Montana. Known for its endlessly starry sky, multiple national parks, and rich agricultural history, Montana is an ideal place to serve.

Despite the short growing season, Montana’s agricultural economy is thriving. In fact, Montana is the top producer of lentils in the nation! Montanans pride ourselves on our agricultural heritage and strong rural communities, yet our contemporary rural food producers and low-income food consumers face a mutually-devastating disconnect. In 1950, 70 percent of the food Montanans ate was grown and processed in Montana. Today that number is 10 percent. Meanwhile, raw Montana-grown agricultural commodities ship to distant markets, providing little return for the state’s rural producers and communities. The result is that by 2007, seven of the nation’s ten poorest counties were in Montana. All were agricultural. However, with a marked return to sustainable agriculture, the time is ripe for service members to connect farmers to schools as a market for their produce.

Our service sites span from the shadows of the Rocky Mountains to the plains of eastern Montana and serve diverse communities, including three Native American reservations. As food insecurity rises across these suburban and rural communities, service members have a direct impact on their communities by connecting them to fresh, local food.