The Montana Farm to School Leadership Team met at Cowboy Cricket Farms for our first quarterly meeting of 2020! Cowboy Cricket Farms Inc. has been educating Montanans on entomophagy, the age old practice of eating insects, since the company was founded in 2016. Kathy Rollin, the company’s founder, was a nutrition student at Montana State University when the idea for the business was first incepted. Today, the company produces a range of value-added and wholesale products from Chocolate Chirp Cookies to 100% Cricket Powder. Kathy boasts that compared to beef, crickets contain 2 times more iron, 43 times more omega 3’s, and 2 times more protein. Crickets also make excellent sustainable food protein alternatives, using 200 times less land, 2060 times less water, and 14 times less feed than their beef counterparts. These are just some of the fun facts anyone can learn at the Cowboy Cricket Farms and Education Center, which recently opened its doors to the public in Bozeman.
Members of the Montana Farm to School Leadership Team were as snug as a bug at the facility, and began our meeting by providing updates on projects, actions, or information related to farm to school from their organizations and agencies. We toured the bug barn, learned about cricket farming techniques, sampled roasted crickets, held some intimidating insects, and discussed farm to school action steps moving forward.
The Montana Farm to School Leadership Team works through partnerships across the state to build farm to school initiatives that help kids eat healthy, connect kids with agriculture and nutrition through education, support Montana farmers and food producers, foster economic vitality, and strengthen communities. The purpose of the team is to foster a spirit of collaboration to support farm to school efforts in Montana; and through this collaboration, the team’s members are dedicated to:
- Building strong foundations for innovative approaches to increase the use of locally grown products in our schools, prevalence and use of school gardens, and nutrition and agriculture educational opportunities thus contributing to healthier children and a stronger Montana economy.
- Facilitating a rich pooling of ideas and resources that can result in more effective communication and ultimately positive results that could not be done by any one partner, all while reducing the burden of leadership on any single entity.
- Building upon success of past collaborations that we anticipate will lead to successes that can be a model for other states.
- Optimizing the current fiscal realities of our economy and the ever-evolving resource allocation priorities offering new opportunities that are best executed through strong partnerships.
- Supporting innovation at the local level and embrace respectful, transparent communication with Montana communities.
Thank you to our leadership team and Cowboy Crickets Farm for making it all possible!