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.