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Cha-Ching! It’s Commerce Day in Montana

January 25, 2010

LIVINGSTON, Mont. - They're shaking hands, showcasing products and ringing up sales. It's Commerce Day in Montana, where farmers and ranchers specializing in sustainable products are meeting up in Livingston with food distributors, processors and buyers.

Annie Conley, market connection program director with the Western Sustainability Exchange, is organizing the event, which recognizes that the conventional food sales system for local goods is not workable for most producers.

"It makes it possible for a producer to talk to 10 or 15 buyers that might be interested. It really streamlines bringing sustainably-produced local food to the marketplace."

She says their goal is not only to establish sales relationships that benefit local economies, but also to educate the public about the importance of not just "local" food, but sustainably-produced local food.

"It's extremely important for our region that this food is being produced in a sustainable manner that protects the environment, open space, and clean air and clean water."

Conley says Commerce Day and related programs they sponsor to hook up producers and buyers have resulted in more than $500,000 in local sales.

Commerce Day is 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Vince Grant Hall, Livingston.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT