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August Challenge for Montanans: Eat Local Every Day

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021   

BILLINGS, Mont. - Montanans are being challenged this month to eat locally grown foods, every day of August. The Northern Plains Resource Council is hosting its sixth annual Montana Local Food Challenge.

Annika Charter-Williams, a rancher outside of Billings and a Northern Plains member, said it's a revelation for many customers when they have local food for the first time.

"Those products, I find, just are so much better than anything you can find in the grocery store," she said. "Half of it, I think, is the distance - it doesn't have to travel as far. But also, there's just something nice about knowing that it's coming from people in your community."

Charter Beef is a founding member of the Yellowstone Valley Food Hub, which has switched to online ordering because of the pandemic, and Charter-Williams said it's been popular - especially last year, when COVID-19 caused supply-chain glitches and grocery stores ran out of some foods. She noted that local sources of food didn't have this issue.

Farmers and ranchers also have faced challenges from the extreme drought striking much of the West. Charter-Williams said that's another reason it's important for people to shop and support local producers right now.

"When we see that feedback of people want local products and they want local food here," she said, "it makes more business sense to be like, 'You know what? Let's put money towards this, rather than more into the commodities market.'"

Along with eating locally every day, the monthlong event includes new local food challenges every week, and people can sign up to win a $250 local food gift card. The Northern Plains Resource Council website has resources for folks who want to find local foods.

Disclosure: Northern Plains Resource Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Rural/Farming. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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