At Gallatin Valley Food Bank, we believe that everyone should have access to healthy food. Learn about the different ways that GVFB is not only working to increase food security, but to increase access to healthy, locally grown foods. One of our creative approaches to improving food security is through gardening. The GVFB has ¼ acre of productive gardens onsite and manages another ¼ acre Learning Garden in the Story Mill Community Park.
Our vision is to create a healthier, more resilient, food-secure community in which all of the members are empowered and have the means to nourish themselves.
Our mission is to cultivate an environment of community-driven education, agricultural stewardship, environmental awareness, and food sovereignty.
How to Get Involved:
The Learning Garden and Food Forest at Story Mill Community Park were created with input from our community, the Trust for Public Land, the City of Bozeman, and the support of countless partners, donors, volunteers, and community members. The space and partnerships are currently managed by Gallatin Valley Food Bank as another creative approach to improving food security in Southwest Montana.
In an effort to expand this opportunity to more people in our community, we are trying a different “community garden” model in which the garden is parceled out to organizations or groups rather than individuals. Our partners include diverse organizations and community members who use the Learning Garden for educational programming, therapeutic activities, and wellness opportunities. Current partners include: Montana Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative, Gallatin Valley Farm to School, HRDC’s Blueprint Continuum, Bozeman Sacajawea Audubon Society, Bozeman Parks & Rec, and Providence Mental Health.
Our garden goals are multifaceted in that we want to grow more nutritious food for our customers, provide spaces for therapeutic and educational programming, and decrease stigma of the reality of food insecurity. In doing so we will provide an example of what it looks like to grow your own food in Montana. We hope that in creating these growing spaces, we can facilitate opportunities for our community to deepen their relationship to food.
The Food Forest is a quarter-acre park that sits adjacent to the Story Mill Learning Garden. It creates a sensory experience for park visitors while educating them about the variety of perennial edibles that grow in this climate. Food forests mimic the architecture of woodland ecosystems and incorporate fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, and perennial vegetables. The food forest concept is promoted by permaculture practitioners worldwide as a way of increasing food security, decreasing the inputs needed to grow crops, and inspiring more home-scale food production.
The public food forest model is based on an open harvest policy, where any visitor is invited to sample what is in season.
Did you know Gallatin Valley Food Bank has gardens of our own? We always need help maintaining them. Whether you have garden experience or not, there are many ways for you to get involved. Volunteer opportunities include weeding, watering, planting, harvesting from April through October. To view garden volunteer opportunities click HERE.
Fresh produce is an essential component of a healthy diet but is not always accessible to someone on a tight budget. Grow-A-Row is an excellent opportunity to bridge community, build relationships, and provide our customers with fresh, local produce. With the start of the growing season, we’re looking for gardeners to donate some of their garden produce to the food bank. By choosing to Grow-A-Row for the food bank, your effort ensures that the under-served in our community have access to high-quality produce
Produce Preparation and Distribution
Please wash or rinse any excessive dirt from the produce.
Our warehouse is open from 8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday. Donations can be accepted anytime during those hours. There is no need to call ahead.
Nonperishable donations can be dropped off at most local grocery stores. Look for donation bins near the front of each store.
Donations during off-peak hours are encouraged (8 am- 12:00 pm or after 2:30 pm).