Track 2 – Farm to Folk: Positive Economic and Health Benefits of Communities Becoming Markets for Local Food

Track 2 has reached its capacity and will not be accepting any more registrants.

This track will look at efforts to help Montana producers access new markets in local communities. It will examine best practices for building relationships and networking between local producers and local institutions, along with examining what resources are still needed and what barriers still exist. The track will provide information and tools both to relatively-new operations and to midsized producers looking for ways to scale up and access larger markets. There has been so much good work done since the 2007 Governor’s Summit to try and get more nutritious, locally-grown food served in schools and other institutions, in addition to efforts to address child nutrition overall. This track will highlight how connections between Montana producers and communities can be done successfully.

Track Leader

Aubree RothAubree Roth, HHD;MSU photo by Kelly Gorham
Farm to School Coordinator
Montana Team Nutrition Program

Aubree has worked with Montana Team Nutrition Program since 2010 supporting Montana farm to school projects and is the Montana Farm to School Coordinator. She also serves as the Montana State Lead for the National Farm to School Network. She is a graduate of the Sustainable Food Systems Master’s program at Montana State University. Aubree provides training and guidance for farm to school initiatives statewide.

Track Keynote Speaker

Michael McCormickmccormick
Executive Director
Livingston Food Resource Center

Michael completed a successful career of more than 30 years in the for-profit corporate arena. He joined the Livingston Food Pantry as executive director in January 2009. After managing the Pantry’s response to double-digit increases in the demand for emergency food services during the great recession, he began the development of a vision that would serve the community in many ways to address the root causes of hunger and poverty in Livingston and Park County. The effort came to fruition in December 2014 when the Livingston Food Pantry, which had been operating out of a refurbished automotive garage on the outskirts of Livingston, became The Livingston Food Resource Center, located in downtown Livingston.


Laura Garberlaura_garber
Homestead Organics Farm

This past year Laura started a pilot program in cooperation with the Ravalli County Council on Aging. The program, Cultivating Connections, brought on eight paid, high school students as interns on the farm to grow food over the summer for the Meals On Wheels Program. In addition to working with youth, Laura has also focused on cooperatives. She formed the Loyal to Local Community and Agriculture Cooperative in 2014 and manages its Multi-Farm CSA. Working with the Montana Poultry Growers Cooperative, Laura was a key player in building the first cooperatively managed poultry processing facility in the country. The new facility is located at Homestead Organics Farm and is the first publically-available poultry facility in Montana.

Martin LewisMiller dining hall grand opening August 17, 2015. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham
Executive Chef for MSU
Montana State University

Martin’s culinary passion was first discovered over 20 years ago with his first steps into a restaurant job. Shortly thereafter, he formalized his training with a degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. His current project is completing a second new dining hall, which when combined with an already-finished new dining hall, is set to feed 11,000 meals daily.

Mark S. LoParcomark_loparco
Director of UM Dining/Executive Director of the UM Foodservice Management and Purchasing Consortium
University of Montana

Mark has spearheaded sustainability initiatives on the University of Montana campus, including local food procurement, waste reduction, diversion and composting, on-campus gardens, innovative food production techniques, and engagement of students, faculty, staff, and community stakeholders. These initiatives have garnered UM Dining six international sustainability awards, multiple grants, and local and national acclaim. A frontrunner in collegiate foodservice sustainability, a National Association of College and University Food Services past president, TEDx presenter, and International Food Manufacturers’ Association Silver Plate Award winner, Mark frequently presents at regional and national conferences across the country.

Maria Pacemaria_pace
Boulder Elementary School

Maria holds a Master’s Degree in educational leadership from Montana State University, a Master’s Degree in special education from SUNY New Paltz, and her Bachelor’s of Science from Montana Tech. She has been the superintendent/principal in Boulder, MT, for the past four years, and prior to this was the reading coach and special education teacher. She began her teaching career in rural Alaska. Maria has worked closely with several FoodCorps service members, the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and other local champions of farm to school.

Dave Pratherdave_prather
General Manager
Western Montana Growers Cooperative

He first joined Western Montana Growers Cooperative as a member/producer in 2007 in order to find a market for his root vegetables. He joined the staff in 2008 as the Assistant Manager/ Delivery Driver. Dave holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana and has been pursuing interests in agriculture and resource management for over 15 years. He has completed HAACP training as well as On Farm Food Safety/GAP training.

Bryan Ulringulring
Yellowstone Grassfed Beef

Bryan is a founding partner and Co-Chief Ruminator of Yellowstone Grassfed Beef. He is also the General Manager of the J Bar L Ranches. The J-L ranches and Yellowstone Grassfed Beef are a fully vertically integrated business model that raises grassfed cattle from conception to consumption within the state of Montana. Bryan graduated from MSU-Bozeman in 1999 with a degree in Business.

Jessica Wilcoxjessie_wilcox
Registered Dietitian/Food and Nutrition Services Manager/Diabetes Education Program Coordinator
Livingston HealthCare

Through the Corporation for the Northern Rockies (now the Western Sustainability Exchange), Livingston Healthcare joined the Farm to Restaurant campaign in October of 2007. Since then it has been Jessica’s mission to incorporate local and sustainable food products into the hospital’s menu. Jessica has a Bachelor’s Degree in both Restaurant and Resort Management and in Dietetics from Colorado State University, and she graduated from Montana State University with her Master’s in Nutrition in 2006. Jessica is also a member of the Park County Food System Council, a board member for the Livingston Food Pantry, and a preceptor for the Montana Dietetic Internship.