Viewpoint: Montana farm to food bank bill a win-win
As a student intern at the Missoula Food Bank & Community Center during the summer of 2022, I saw the effects of the rising costs of food, gas, and household items as community members.
Each month, I saw an increasing number of customers at the food bank, seeking assistance for basic needs. Last year, an average of 38,000 Montanans per month accessed food pantry services while the median price per pound of food increased 12.5%.
One creative proposal, the Montana Farm to Food Bank Bill (HB 276, sponsored by Rep. Marty Malone R- HD 59), will help address these issues by providing grants to food bank hubs to purchase, process, store, and distribute Montana-produced foods.
Also, this approach bolsters local markets for Montana farmers and ranchers, ensuring they are paid adequately for their quality products. The program will strengthen partnerships between producers and local organizations that can get the fresh products to community members in need.
This bill is simply a win-win for Montana. I hope state legislators understand how important this bill is to producers, food pantries, and resilient Montana communities. I urge them to pass House Bill 276.