Resilient Ideas: Processing Food Where the Food Is

Helping independent farmers process their produce builds local food security.
baskets of fruit

Photo courtesy of MMFEC Photo

Most farmers get pennies on each dollar that consumers spend on packaged food. While many growers speak wistfully of adding value to their product, it takes a huge investment in stainless steel machinery and certifications to make packaged apple juice from raw apples. The Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center (MMFEC) in Ronan, Montana, is a nonprofit food-processing center that helps farmers learn how to convert their produce to commercially viable higher-value packaged products, safely and legally. This not only gives them a bigger slice of the retail pie, but opens up new markets: Schools and hospitals are more likely to buy carrots if they’re pre-sliced. As these farmers shore up their financial security, the surrounding communities benefit from increased food security. The equipment at places like the MMFEC enables the preservation of local food for year-round consumption, while making agriculture more viable for smaller, independent, and new farmers.

Ari LeVaux wrote this article for A Resilient Community, the Fall 2010 issue of YES! Magazine.

More Resilient Ideas

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