Montana is no stranger when it comes to food insecurity. According to the Montana Food Bank Network, approximately 1 in 10 Montanans struggle with hunger, and nearly 37,000 children live in food-insecure homes. These numbers dramatically increased as a result of the pandemic. 
This project explores one farm dedicated to fighting food insecurity fostering a safe and collaborative space for learning and education. The PEAS farm is located in the upper Rattlesnake area of Missoula, Montana, and serves as the University of Montana’s dedicated outdoor classroom for students enrolled in the Environmental Studies program. The crops produced from the farm are donated to the Missoula Food Bank, as well as given out through CSA shares throughout the summer. They are also very active in the community, hosting many different informative events throughout the year as a way to keep the community educated on what they can grow from home.
I have been visiting the PEAS Farm for four months now and documenting all that goes into keeping this unique place running. The students play a large role in the farm, as their learning doubles as maintenance for the gardens and greenhouses. The project has shaped itself throughout the months as I have learned more about the practices and goals of the farm. It is not just a place to grow food, it's a place to reclaim traditional farming practices that were once taught on the land by the original people and pass them down through education. It's a place where food is not gate-kept, but rather, shared and celebrated throughout the community. It is a place where sustainability and waste-free practices are at the forefront of its mission. 
PEAS farm caretaker Maggie Gammons does an end of the day walk through of the green house on April 18, 2022. 
The view from the caretakers residence looks directly out onto the farm and orchard. The barn serves as the main residence for the PEAS caretaker and is a coworking and event space by day, and a cozy abode by night.
Students in the Agro Ecology class at the University of Montana leave the hoop house at the PEAS farm after an afternoon of examining and sampling soil.
Students examined soil by feeling the textures. This helps determine how well plants will grow, and what kind of added nutrients and proteins the soil might need in order to produce a successful crop.
Elisabeth Davidson collects soil samples in class. She is a Enviornmental Studies major at the University of Montana. The PEAS farm serves as an outdoor hands-on classroom for many UM students, who will often further their education by embarking on PEAS summer internships.
Enviornmental studies professor and PEAS farm lecturer Caroline stephens helps students with their field work. Students are up at the farm Monday through Thursday throughout the spring semester, and get many opportunities for in person learning and real-world farm work. This also helps the farm staff with their daily duties, as the farm is a fully functional community resource. 
A student writes down their findings on their homework sheet. Students come to the PEAS farm multiple times during the week to conduct various experiments for their classes at the University of Montana.
The farm has more tools than usual as classes with upwards of 20 students come out and all do hands on work. 
Environmental Studies student Jack collects his soil samples and prepares to examine them.
Nestled up in the Rattlesnake area of Missoula, the PEAS farm barn rests in the rain. Along with the hoophouse and green houses, the farm is also home to chickens, pigs, bees, and an orchard. 
The caretaker's barn is decorated with years of handmade pottery and decor. The farm employs a new caretaker every two years, each one growing incredibly attached to the place.
Hudi Gammons perches on a windowsill and watches over the garden. 
The caretakers become very attached to this place and often stay for as long as they can. Maggie Gammons is a recent graduate of the University of Montana, and has been farming for the last few years. She did the PEAS farm internship when she was still in school, then went on to work for two different farms before coming back to work in Missoula. She lives up at the barn full time with her partner Ian and cat Hudi. 
Garlic hangs from the ceiling above the dining table. The caretaker and farm employees harvest and hang the garlic to use later in the year for meals. All of the food from the farm is repurposed  and donated in some fashion. The PEAS farm works hand in hand with the Missoula Food Bank, as well as many different donation-based seed libraries 
Maggie and Hudi share a moment in the barn. 
New garlic sprouts start to pop up at the farm. 
The University of Montana Seed Library obtains seeds from farms across the city, including the PEAS farm, and is a free resource for students and community members. Fighting food soverignty is one of the PEAS farm's main goals. Every seed that leaves the farm is free for public use.
Environmental studies professor and PEAS farm supervisor Caroline Stephens tables on the University of Montana oval for Earth Week.
New sprouts pop up at the PEAS farm greenhouse. These will soon be large enough to be either planted in the feilds, or given away to the community for their own farms. 
During an Earth week event, guest speaker Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills lays her seeds out for the students and community members to see. Some of the seeds are over 100 years old. Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills plans to plant them soon to keep the lineage and farming heritage alive.
Students and community members gathered in the hoop house for a workshop on Indigenous farming as part of the Environmental Studies Program’s Healing Grounds Earth Week event on April 22, 2022. Guests got to learn about Indigenous seed practices from Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills, director of Food Sovereignty at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College. She recounted stories about her people and their traditional and sacred farming ways, and also the ways in which colonization has impacted those traditions. Before they were forced off their land, Ruth's clan farmed many different crops on their rich soil, and would sing to their plants to help them grow. She shared a traditional corn song for the group. 
Farm caretaker Maggie Gammons inspects a jar of seeds at the PEAS Farm Healing Grounds event celebrating Indigenous farming and food-ways.
Dio Cordova plays in the rain outside the hoop house at the PEAS Farm Earth Week event.
University of Montana students get the opportunity to take home extra transplants from the farm once the crop has been planted for the season. The farm does its best to avoid any waste, and enjoy sharing extra produce with the community.  
PEAS introuced a brand new group of chickens to the farm. The eggs are used for meals and the birds are used for company. 
The chickens roam around their coop at the west side of the farm. 
Maggie gammons gives the plants in the greenhouse a final water before putting them to bed for the evening. 
These broccoli plants are ready to be given away and transplanted into the fields.
Maggie Gammons covers the seed starters for the night. This helps to keep any mice or critters from robbing the seeds from the trays. 
The caretaker of the farm comes and closes up the greenhouses each night when the sun starts to go down. This includes watering all of the plants, and securing them for the night.