The Big Idea


Did you know that if people in western Montana spent $4.60 every week on locally produced food, it would generate $66 million dollars for local economy?


In the Golden Triangle, it takes just $4.50 per week to bring in an additional $32 million!

So where does all of that money go now?  To out of state corporations, businesses, and distribution companies, meaning that your hard-earned money is leaving Montana and not buoying our local economy.

The Montana Food Economy Initiative is working to change this – one farm, one purchase, one connection at a time.

MFEI is based on regional food networks, which work to develop solutions to issues that specifically relate to their region.  Montana is such a large state, with so many variables across regions, that the best answers come from the local level.


Collaboration, communication, and cooperation are the keys to success in re-developing our local food system. While regional networks address local issues, working groups can tackle larger statewide obstacles. Regional networks can discuss what has worked in their area, potential roadblocks, and opportunities for development – meaning each region can move forward more quickly and not have to reinvent the wheel each time a project emerges.

MFEI has already completed successful projects in Glacier Country including Choose Local materials for in-store display, which have helped increase sales of locally-made products across the region.  A dairy feasibility study illustrated the unmet demand for locally-produced dairy products, while the beef working group successfully got Montana beef into schools.

Chick“What does this mean to you?”


The Montana Food Economy Initiative website is designed to encourage exchanges about real time issues and opportunities, at the regional and state level.  Think of it as a place to get advice on particular challenges, share expertise, spark new ideas and opportunities with other community members, and find information and connections to grow the local food system in your area and across Montana.