Farm to School of Park County
In 2008, Livingston Farm to School Program was founded by a group of parents, educators and concerned community members who were interested in bringing farm to school experiences to their children’s schools. A $100K USDA grant was awarded in 2013, and the program leveraged this funding to further F2S programming in Livingston School Districts. Farm to School of Park County (F2SPC) was formed in 2017 to advance the original mission and to expand to Park County communities beyond Livingston. F2SPC has grown to be a successful, highly-collaborative community initiative. It is embedded in schools of Park County’s county seat (Livingston School Districts 4&1), provides a fee-for-service model to rural schools and acts as an intermediary for training, support and communication between a diverse number of stakeholders.
What We Do
To deliver farm to school education in the classroom, Farm to School of Park County:
- Partners with Livingston School Districts 4&1 to provide classroom and garden lessons in all 5 Livingston public schools (K-12). This amounts to a total of 807 lessons and approximately 3200 cafeteria taste tests in the 2017/18 fiscal year
- Partners with FoodCorps Montana to provide elementary classroom and garden lessons. In the 2018 calendar year, our education programs have served all K-5 students in Livingston Public Schools and Pine Creek School
- Partners with high school and middle school teachers to deliver hands-on, vertically aligned lessons in science, technology, engineering and math.
- Partners withMontana State University and Gallatin Valley Farm to School to provide professional development trainings for K-8 teachers in Montana
To support our educational programming in the garden, Farm to School of Park County:
- Cultivates 2,570 square feet of growing space on school grounds, including 3 raised bed gardens and 2 greenhouses, at 4 Livingston schools
- Supervises students to grow food that is sold to Livingston School Districts and is used in school meals, snacks, taste tests and lessons
- Farms a 1/8 acre plot in downtown Livingston where community members can join us to cultivate 20 row crops for school meals.
To foster economic prosperity and local food procurement from growers and producers, Farm to School or Park County:
- Partners with schools and supply chain partners in their efforts to source local food items
- Assists Livingston School District efforts to source and serve 100% Park County-raised beef and to meet a joint procurement goal of 20%
- Hosts field trips, trainings and conference workshops on local food procurement
- Assists with school district efforts to fundraise and write grants, including equipment and training grants
- Coordinates outreach to parent associations and community groups to encourage local food procurement
Executive Director — Rachael Jones
Rachael Jones is the founding Executive Director of Farm to School of Park County. She is a fifth generation Montanan who has been growing food for over 12 years in Park County. While she holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology from MSU, her career began unofficially in her Grandmother Ethel’s garden. In 2015, her impact on Livingston’s local food system expanded through her role as Livingston Public Schools’ Farmer Educator. Rachael currently works with schools, farms, and partners to get fresh local food to school children.
Program Director — Michal DeChellis
Farm to School of Park County Program Director, Michal Leah DeChellis helps make the healthy choice the easy choice for Park County school children. She believes that food is the sustenance through which we grow and thrive. Thus, educating youth, in particular, will have a lasting impact. Michal is an Austin, Texas native, brought to Livingston in 2017 as F2SPC’s first FoodCorps service member. She promotes healthy sustainable food systems within Park County schools and is currently pursuing her second Masters Degree; this time from Johns Hopkins University in Public Health and Food Systems.
Board of Directors
Established in November 2017, our Board includes the following individuals:
Karen L. Cates, Ph.D. – Chair
As a lecturer and adjunct professor of executive education for over 20 years at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University Dr. Cates has developed programming and consulted to clients (domestic and global, in both for- and not-for-profit organizations) around issues of organization alignment, leadership development, communication, strategic planning, and employee relations.
Jenny Harbine – Vice Chair
Jenny Harbine lives in Livingston with her husband, Alex, and their two school aged sons. Jenny grew up in Missoula and returned to Montana after attending law school at University of California, Berkeley. She is a staff attorney for Earthjustice, a non-profit law firm for the environment, where her work is focused on advancing clean energy and reducing carbon pollution that contributes to climate change .
Gigi Aelbers Kellett was born and raised in Belgium. She holds a degree in Interior Architecture from the St. Lucas Institute of the Arts. The overarching philosophy of her company, Synergigi Design, is to reflect clients’ personal tastes and elevate the quality of their lives by improving their spaces. Several of her commercial and residential projects are marquee businesses central to the Livingston/Paradise Valley community: Gil’s Goods, The Wheatgrass Saloon, The Chico Poolside Grill, The Chico Lobby and Dining Room, The Gourmet Cellar, Uncorked, Mustang Fresh Food and The Green Door Gallery. Gigi is the mother of school-aged children in Livingston.
For over 20 years, Andrew has worked in management roles in a variety of business sectors; primarily hospitality. He is currently the Director of Recruitment and Culture at Chico Hot Springs Resort. Andrew’s multi-faceted responsibilities at Chico include Human Resources, Business Development, and Leadership Development. As a father of two young children, a life-long farm to table enthusiast, and owner of a small family farm in Pray, Montana, Andrew is honored to belong to an organization that so clearly aligns with his personal passions.
Paradise Valley, MT
Pete is a fourth generation rancher from Paradise Valley and a Park High School graduate. He is the owner and operator of Barney Creek Livestock and has worked in fire management with the U.S. Forest Service since 1993. In fact, Pete manages the smoke-jump base out of West Yellowstone, MT. Pete brings agricultural expertise to the F2SPC Board. His experience includes production, processing and marketing, including direct-to-consumer marketing of nutrient-dense food. His expertise includes the preservation and proliferation of small scale agriculture and regenerative agriculture.
Barbara Moore Prager
Clyde Park, MT
For 22 years Barbara was President and CEO of Shape Up America!, a national nonprofit initiative to raise awareness of obesity as a health issue. With a doctorate in Nutritional Sciences from Columbia University, her research focus at Columbia, UC Davis and Rutgers University was obesity. Her textbook on obesity was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2012 and her consumer book, Fit from the Start: How to Prevent Childhood Obesity in Infancy, was published in 2014. Barbara served as Special Expert in the Division of Nutrition Research Coordination at the NIH, Acting Assistant Director of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Chief Nutritionist and head of Program Development for Weight Watchers International, and Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Rutgers University.