MFU Foundation Awards $10,000 in Grants

MFU Foundation Awards $10,000 in Grants

MFU Foundation Awards $10,000 in Grants

Second round applications due Sept. 1

Montana Farmers Union Foundation has announced $10,000 in support to projects across the state through the organization’s grant program.

“It’s exciting to see so many people working on so many great things,” said Jan Tusick, a Montana Farmers Union board member who serves on the board’s Foundation committee.

The recent awards were the first grants given by the Foundation, the mission of which is to create new opportunities and contribute to the growth and enhancement of Montana agriculture and rural communities.

“A lot of it is projects that benefit Montana’s rural communities, which are mostly our agricultural communities, and the projects that were supported I think definitely reflected that,” Tusick said.

The grant awards are the first of two award cycles this year and included:

— $1,500 to Choteau County Schools to expand their garden area that contributes to their food service program with the purchase of supplies and signage. The project aims to educate students about the basics of soil science and a simple irrigation system, while using the food they grow as part of the Farm to School program that is already in place at the school.

— $2,000 to Belt School for the purchase of new shop equipment to provide students with hands-on learning experiences relevant to agriculture. Currently, the state of some shop tools prevents students from doing more advanced projects.

— $6,500 to North Star Schools for a four-season greenhouse to use for hands-on experiences for elementary and high school students and for use in the food service program.

“Montana Farmers Union’s mission aligns directly with what we’re trying to do – grow agriculture and grow it beyond doing it in the field,” said Jessica Myers, North Star’s Family and Consumer Sciences teacher who submitted the grant.

Despite the Hi-Line community’s proximity to agriculture, disconnect exists between people and the food they consume versus grow and then ship elsewhere for additional processing. In contrast, students will be able to grow, harvest and prepare produce from the greenhouse on campus.

“They will understand that I can make something and I can grow something in my backyard or in a pot – and not just having it, but what to do with it when you have it,” Myers said.

Students at both the elementary and high school will benefit from the greenhouse, which will teach hands-on lessons integrated across the curriculum while providing sustainable, quality produce and opportunities to partner with other community organizations.

Myers said she hopes to have the greenhouse operational by the fall of 2023 and is pursuing additional grants and community support to finish raising funds.

“I’m excited about the opportunities that this brings not only to the school but to the community and the classroom,” she said, adding she’s grateful for MFU’s early support.

The Foundation is looking for more projects to support and currently is accepting a second round of applications, with submissions due Sept. 1.

Qualifying applications must align with the Foundation’s goal of contributing to the growth and enhancement of Montana agricultural and rural communities. One of the Foundation’s major focuses is further education about agriculture and rural issues for Montanans of all ages. The Foundation also focuses on enhancing rural prosperity through economic and cooperative development.

“Here is something that can really truly support our small communities we have throughout Montana and help them learn about Montana Farmers Union’s real commitment to our small communities in helping them do what’s important to them,” Tusick said, adding she’s looking forward to the next round of applications.

Funding of up to $10,000 can be requested. The brief application is available at montanafarmersunion.com/mfu-foundation/. 

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Press Information: montanafarmersunion.com/media-press-kit/

MFU President Walter Schweitzer: 406-799-3782

Montana Farmers Union has worked more than 100 years for family farms, ranches, and rural communities. MFU supports its members through: Strong education programs for both youth and adults, by advocating member-driven policies and legislation at the state and federal level, and cooperation through producer-owned co-ops. For more information, visit www.montanafarmersunion.com. 

 

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