A statewide grassroots sustainability nonprofit is offering a free workshop to help home-based growers understand the impact of the Montana Regional Food Choice Act.
AERO, which stands for Alternative Energy Resources Organization, will be hosting a workshop on Friday, August 19 from 10am to noon at the Northwest Montana History Museum at 124 Second Ave East in Kalispell.
In April 2021, the Montana Legislature will increase sales and consumption of homemade foods and products, strengthen the agricultural economy, and provide Montana citizens with “unhindered access to healthy foods from known sources.” passed Senate Bill 199 to
Homemade products such as raw milk, poultry, value-added foods such as pickles and canned goods, and perishable baked goods are gaining momentum, according to a release from AERO.
Sam Blomquist, value-added food program manager at AERO, said in the release: “Each individual should be familiar with proper food safety controls, and businesses should have appropriate accountability structures in place so they can enter this new field of homegrown food marketing opportunities, informed on how to comply with new legislation. We need to make sure we have: , how to minimize food safety production risks, and how to maximize liability protection.”
These products were previously off-limits or difficult to obtain and sell due to licensing requirements, but the law has renewed the possibility of selling these directly to consumers.
However, according to AERO, these new opportunities come with limitations, such as sales being limited to certain venues and products, and producers taking on more liability risks, so the success of home producers is inclusive. resources are essential.
Free workshops offered by AERO are set to be available from 2022-2023 to help educate best practices on new legislation.
AERO and partners will also provide resources such as food safety/HACCP assessment tools. This tool is currently in development to help home-based value-added producers assess and manage food safety risks and implement best practices in their home kitchen operations.
To register for the workshop, please visit aeromt.org/event/value-added-workshops.