Montana Public Radio

food

After years of declining, Montana’s food insecurity rate is up more than 50 percent. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 165,000 people in the state could go hungry this year. That’s an estimated 56,000 more people than before the crisis. Now, a rancher from Park County is rallying support to do something about it.

Matt Pierson recently delivered a banana box filled with 100 pounds of frozen hamburger to a walk in freezer in Billings.

The meat will be given out at no cost to veterans and their families.

Young children eating in a school cafeteria.
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Montana has distributed more than $20 million in federal aid to keep school-aged children fed during pandemic. State health and education officials are urging more families to apply for nutrition assistance.

Montana families who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to school closures during the 2019-2020 school year have about a month left to apply for money to help repay the costs of meals.

Squash.
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August had just begun when a friend delivered my first hand-me-down squash of the summer: a round, green variegated giant that had reached the size of a jack-o-lantern seemingly overnight, just the way squash like to do.

Later in the kitchen, I eyed down the squash and started my perennial should-I-grill-it-or-make-zucchini-bread debate. I suspect some version of this dilemma could be ages old.

Recipe: Salmoriglio Sauce

Jun 14, 2020
Marco Verch. CC-BY-2.0 foto.wuestenigel.com

Salmoriglio (sal-more-EEL-ee-yo) is an Italian lemon and olive oil sauce, marinade and dipping condiment for fish, chicken and practically any vegetable. Once you make it, you’ll wonder why you'd never heard of it before. That’s what happened to "Food Guy" Greg Patent: he lived for an entire year in Italy without ever learning of salmoriglio.

The same nutrition program that provided needed meals to Montana students during the school closures this spring will continue to feed hungry children this summer.

Recipe: Morel Mushroom Lasagna

May 31, 2020

For Montanans, the 2017 summer of wildfires led to a 2018 bonanza of morel mushrooms. Food Guy Greg Patent found some for sale and put them to use in morel mushroom lasagna, a delicious and light alternative to meat lasagna.

While restaurants, tap rooms and bars in Montana are allowed to provide take out and delivery service during the governor’s stay-at-home order, many business owners say they’re making a fraction of their normal sales.

Columbia Falls School District staff deliver free breakfast and lunch to students just outside of town Wednesday, April 8. The district is providing free meals to any child 18 and younger under a federally funded program it typically uses in the summer.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Many parents of public school students across the state are struggling with reduced pay or unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic. School officials say that’s contributing to a spike in demand for free meals from school districts. In order to provide some relief, the federal government and the state are allowing more districts to use a program that nomally provides free meals to children in the summer.


The first of the month is when many low income families have access to monthly benefits for supplemental food programs. People grocery shopping with these monthly benefits are navigating more than empty shelves.

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Pressure is mounting on Montana’s food pantries. The demand for their food assistance is spiking as more people find themselves out of work due to the spread of COVID-19. Food banks need help and need it now.

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