Farm Hands – Nourish is a small non-profit that focuses on local food access for all members of our community. Our mission is to build a strong community food system that fosters socially just ways of accessing food. All of our programs help accomplish this and we have opportunities for everyone to get involved!
In Columbia Falls (and also Trego), Farm Hands – Nourish runs the Weekend Backpack Program that provides high quality weekend food for students and their families who rely on free or reduced breakfasts and lunches at school during the week. We stock a food pantry at the high school that students can use to pick out their own meals while the younger students get pre-packed bags of food that includes breakfast, dinner, and snacks. Every Thursday from 3pm – 6pm, parents or students can pick up these bags at the Farm Hands building just north of Glacier Gateway on 4th Ave W. Each week every single elementary school student gets a fresh produce snack on Friday and, for the first ~6 months of school, that produce comes from local farms until the supply runs out, typically around March. We are working with the Columbia Falls School District to take over programming at the Wildcat Garden and provide summer camps for kids as well as other opportunities for the community to get involved. In the winter, we also provide Cooking Classes for Kids. We have done this in person and virtually.
During the Farmers Market season, we operate a booth at the Columbia Falls, Kalispell, and Whitefish markets where people can redeem SNAP to spend with local producers. We also participate in Double SNAP Dollars which provides free money to match redeemed SNAP benefits and can be spent on fresh produce at the farmers markets. At the Eureka, Libby, and Bigfork markets we provide support for their SNAP and Double SNAP Dollar programs. For seniors on a tight budget, we offer Senior Coupons, a free booklet with $30 of free coupons to spend at the markets like cash. Local school aged children can pick up School Coins at our booth that give them $5 to spend on fresh produce or plant starts. This program helps get kids involved in their local community food system!
Every March we work with local community businesses and volunteers to put on our annual Free The Seeds! Event. Local gardeners, farmers, and producers teach classes to share their knowledge and we also have a free heirloom seed giveaway and encourage the community to grow their own food and save the seeds to donate back for the next event. We also maintain a Farm Map of all the farms, gardens, growers and farmers markets in the area. We partner with North Valley Hospital in Whitefish to manage the Planetree Healing Garden. Patients and the community can use the garden and the food grown is given to the hospital cafeteria.
We have partnered with many amazing organizations through the years including, Whitefish Community Foundation, High Stakes Foundation, North Valley Hospital, Community, Food and Agriculture Coalition, Flathead Valley Community College, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Alternative Energy Resource Organization, FAST Blackfeet as well as the CFCAT, Columbia Falls School District. North Valley Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club, and Shepherd’s Hand Clinic to name a few. We believe that through these collaborations we create meaningful change in our food system, create more avenues for healthy food access and build community.
If you would like to volunteer with us, please check out the volunteer page on our website and fill out the volunteer application. We have opportunities for solo volunteers as well as large groups!