Food systems

Supporting sustainable food production through reporting

Being based in Montana, we are surrounded by food systems models in agriculture and ranching. JG provides research and evaluation support to a number of organizations and projects focused on building resilient and vibrant food systems throughout the U.S. and internationally. Such projects use a mixed methods approach of both quantitative and qualitative data gathering techniques using surveys, focus groups, and interviews. We dig into topics of alternative food systems, expanding sustainable agricultural practices, promoting soil health through monitoring, education and policy, supporting historically underserved, under-resourced, and beginning farmers and ranchers, and building strategies and resources to support climate resilient and adaptive foodways. Our work is then used as guidance for organizations to better provide sustainable support to these food systems.


Types of topics in food systems:

  • Climate-smart practices and markets
  • Capacity building for underrepresented producers
  • Rangeland health and monitoring
  • Global food system trends and opportunities
  • Food systems priorities in low income countries

Specific food systems projects at JG:

Supporting Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

JG serves as external evaluator to the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) for a number of projects including their longstanding sustainable agriculture program (ATTRA) and several grant-funded programs, including the Soil for Water network, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program: Organic Academy Roadshow, and the AgVets training program for veterans.

Deliverable: Expanding Partnership with NCAT’s Sustainable Agriculture Program (ATTRA) Leads to New Projects

Client: National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Community Food and Agriculture Coalition (CFAC), Grand Traverse Conservation District

Tags: Process and Outcome Evaluation, Mixed Methods

Montana Soil Health Study

JG worked with a coalition of organizations in Montana to complete a soil health study focused on the needs and priorities of agricultural producers related to soil health in the state. The study included six focus groups with 60 individuals and over 200 survey responses from across the state, and found that top needs among all producers are more opportunities to learn and experiment with one another and professionals in real-world settings.

Deliverable: Montana Soil Health Report

Client: Montana Association of Conservation Districts (MACD)

Tags: Needs Assessment and Planning, Mixed Methods

Specialty Crop Block Grant Needs Assessment

The JG team worked with the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to understand opportunities to better support specialty crop growers in the state. Results emphasized the need to expand infrastructure, education, and consumer markets to diversity specialty crop value chains.

Deliverable: Specialty Crop Block Grants

Client: Montana Department of Agriculture

Tags: Needs Assessment and Planning, Mixed Methods