By: Billy Mitchell & Tricia Wancko

Montana Farmers Union took root in their state as homesteaders—a classic way to say local food producers—who discovered the necessity of working collaboratively to create a regional and sustainable food system. With a similar purpose, the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center (MMFEC) works to grow Montana’s local food economy by supporting food entrepreneurs using their food processing facility. Montana Farmers Union and Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center are working together to bring their long history of farmer-focused work back to the Local Food Safety Collaborative (LFSC). Jan Tusick, a longtime board member of Montana Farmers Union and the center director of MMFEC, is glad to be back working alongside the collaborative. Fans of LFSC may remember Tusick’s earlier work with the Lake County Community Development Corporation (LCCDC).

For Tusick, the assistance MMFEC will be able to provide through LFSC is important because they work alongside “food entrepreneurs and agricultural producers who are adding value to their production. Food safety is critical to their success.” These producers consistently show her how crucial food safety is to small businesses. One big food safety-takeaway? “It’s common sense.” She helps ensure it’s also practical, working to reduce barriers to establishing “good on-farm practices in food safety.”

Tusick has seen a lot of new and renewed interest in value-added products and local foods on the consumer side; that shows her that there is strong support in Montana “for increasing local food access.” Providing producers with the tools they need to supply that local food to their regions is why Tusick is excited about the work they’ll do as part of LFSC. MMFEC will also be partnering with the Local Food for Local Families Initiative and are delighted by the opportunity to learn from and with other LFSC partners.

Interested in food safety resources? Please visit the Local Food Safety Collaborative website along with the Food Safety Resource Clearinghouse for a curated source of food safety guides, factsheets, templates, and more. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the latest food safety news.

This project website is supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award 1U01FD006921-01 totaling $1,000,000 with 100 percent funded by FDA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by FDA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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