Paul Sofranko

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Biography
Catholic. Happily married! Writer/blogger. Vegetable & herb gardener and wishing to learn more about permaculture and frugal, simple-living. Interests include Distributism (economics as if people and families matter, as opposed to Capitalism and Socialism, where they don't. See "Small is Beautiful" by E.F. Schumacher, "Outline of Sanity" by G.K. Chesterton, "The Servile State" by Hilaire Belloc, and "Rerum Novarum" by Pope Leo XIII and “Quadragesimo Anno“ by Pius XI and anything by Dorothy Day); reading (Tolkien, Tim Powers, Flannery O'Connor, and gardening); Cats. In alcoholism recovery (sober since May 22, 2002; I blog about that at https://sobercatholic.com). I'm also a Trekkie.
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western NY (Erie County), USA; zone 6a.
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Recent posts by Paul Sofranko

Abundant Montana educates consumers about the value of local food, and support food and farming entrepreneurs building successful, well-connected, and thoughtful businesses.

History
Abundant Montana grew out of AERO/MT's community food system work in the 1990s and began as a print directory in 1995, linking Montanans with local food across the state. Today, Abundant Montana lists over 600 farmers, ranchers, farmers’ markets, institutional and retail local food buyers, food pantries and community meals, and local food and agriculture organizations. In 2022 they anticipated having 1000+ listings, and aim to double that by 2023.

Guiding Principles
-Build the demand for local food
-Help local food and farm businesses succeed
-Support diverse markets for local food
-Create free educational resources
-Honor and enhance the integrity of local food
-Develop authentic relationships and inclusive collaboration across our entire food system

You can partner with Abundant Montana. Through print and media campaigns they:
-share the value of nutrient dense, culturally appropriate Montana-made food that stewards our land, water, animals, and seeds.
-teach how to use local food resources.
-direct consumers where to find local food and local food resources.

Their extensive online Find Food & Farm database of local food resources can be searched and filtered so businesses are easier to find. They can work with you to market your products to targeted local markets.



Abundant Montana partners with the Local Food Marketplace to help local Montana farmers and ranchers get their products to market.



Abundant Montana also publishes a Local Food Guide Got a farm, ranch or market? Get listed!
1 month ago
Abundant Montana educates consumers about the value of local food, and support food and farming entrepreneurs building successful, well-connected, and thoughtful businesses.

History
Abundant Montana grew out of AERO/MT's community food system work in the 1990s and began as a print directory in 1995, linking Montanans with local food across the state. Today, Abundant Montana lists over 600 farmers, ranchers, farmers’ markets, institutional and retail local food buyers, food pantries and community meals, and local food and agriculture organizations. In 2022 they anticipated having 1000+ listings, and aim to double that by 2023.

Guiding Principles
-Build the demand for local food
-Help local food and farm businesses succeed
-Support diverse markets for local food
-Create free educational resources
-Honor and enhance the integrity of local food
-Develop authentic relationships and inclusive collaboration across our entire food system

You can partner with Abundant Montana. Through print and media campaigns they:
-share the value of nutrient dense, culturally appropriate Montana-made food that stewards our land, water, animals, and seeds.
-teach how to use local food resources.
-direct consumers where to find local food and local food resources.

Their extensive online Find Food & Farm database of local food resources can be searched and filtered so businesses are easier to find. They can work with you to market your products to targeted local markets.



Abundant Montana partners with the Local Food Marketplace to help local Montana farmers and ranchers get their products to market.



Abundant Montana also publishes a Local Food Guide Got a farm, ranch or market? Get listed!
1 month ago

The Missoula Urban Demonstration (MUD) Project is a tool library, demonstration site, and skill-sharing hub rolled into one. Since 1981, MUD has worked toward the vision of a world in which tools and skills are shared for the betterment of our community and planet.

MUD would like to acknowledge, recognize, and offer respect to Indigenous people and specifically to those whose land we occupy. We live, work, and recreate on the unceded territory of the Séliš, Ksanka, Ql̓ispé, Niitsitapi, and Tukkutikka.



The seeds of MUD were planted in 1981 by the Down Home Project, a group passionate about urban sustainability. The project was based out of two northside homes where sustainable practices were woven into the fabric of daily life. The public was invited to learn how to integrate these practices into their own lives through workshops, site tours, and regular community gatherings. As its focus expanded to include tool sharing, the Down Home Project evolved into MUD.

MUD officially sprouted as an offshoot of the Down Home Project in 1989, and continued to operate out of the northside homes for two decades. By 2011, the tool library had become a staple of the organization, and MUD relocated to an empty lot on Wyoming St. There, MUD created more expansive tool storage space and continues to build upon the sustainability projects that have been fundamental to the organization since the very beginning.

MUD empowers people to build a more sustainable community. Here's how.

Tool Library
We have a lot of tools. 2,700 and counting, in fact. With an annual MUD membership, you have access to them all so you can tackle that next project without the need to consume more stuff.

 
Workshops
Become an amateur blacksmith. Create the urban garden of your dreams. Build your own furniture. Our sustainability oriented workshops will leave you inspired and empowered.

 
Demonstration
The MUD site demonstrates several earth-friendly projects that you can replicate at home. Swing by MUD to learn more or check out our online resource library.



Paul Wheaton and MUD go 'way back:

My lawn care article started off as a how to I wrote for the MUD Project back in 1994 or so.  When the web came along I pushed it out to the web.  Since there wasn't much stuff on the web back then, it got a lot of traffic. 



All of their stuff is at https://mudproject.org/

1 month ago
AERO/MT is a grassroots organization based in Helena, MT with an impact in Missoula. Founded by "imaginative pragmatists, AERO is a community of social entrepreneurs dedicated to building the world in which we want to live. We have a producer-centric focus, helping communities build place-based, values-driven community food systems/webs with climate-smart solutions. We believe in partnerships and networks, and know that community is the future of sustainability."

Originally meaning 'Alternative Energy Resources Organization,' AERO has evolved to be more of a farm-to-table group while maintaining their initial focus:

"Montana powered with clean, renewable energy, empowered by a collaborative network of resilient communities, and where all Montanans are nourished by locally produced, sustainably grown healthy food."

"Grassroots and statewide, AERO cultivates sustainability by engaging community stakeholders and weaving networks that build lasting partnerships in the climate smart, sustainable agriculture and local food system sphere, creating spaces where leaders and inspired community models flourish."



Amongst the things they do, AERO/MT supports the Montana Food Economy Initiative

AERO’s Montana Food Economy Initiative (MFEI) strengthens the network of Montana values-based community food systems to ensure producer sustainability and resilience, and support community economic, environmental, social, and human health. MFEI emphasizes coordinating cross-sector engagement across all parts of the food system (producer, processor, distributor, consumer, recovery) to support critical producer sustainability.



AERO also is a major proponent of Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition

AERO is a member of the Steering Committee for Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition. Together with the Steering Committee: National Center for Appropriate Technology, Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, Lake County Community Development Corporation; partners, allies, and sponsors, we are giving community food systems a voice at the state legislative level to help ensure that Montana producers can get healthy food to Montana consumers.



One of AERO's major endeavors is their own Abundant Montana


Abundant Montana educates consumers about the value of local food, and support food and farming entrepreneurs building successful, well-connected, and thoughtful businesses. Abundant Montana began as a print directory in 1995, linking Montanans with local food across the state. Today, Abundant Montana lists over 600 farmers, ranchers, farmers’ markets, institutional and retail local food buyers, food pantries and community meals, and local food and agriculture organizations. By 2022 they anticipated having 1000+ listings, and aim to double that by 2023.

Yet another area where AERO helps the local community is the value-added producer success program

"AERO’s Value-Added Producer Success program offers educational workshops, training and resources with the goal of helping producers reduce their risks and maximize sustainable business success with home-based value-added products. They work to increase producers’ understanding of current Montana legislation regarding food licensing, registration and inspection (including new changes under SB199), and provide risk management strategies to minimize liability, maximize profitability and longevity for food enterprises, and increase consumer confidence in local food products."


Montana Food Providers Project
MOA (Montana Organic Association) and AERO (Alternative Energy ResourcesOrganization) are spearheading a partnership to raise funds, supplies and awareness for addressing a dual reality underscored by the current COVID-19 crisis.

The Montana Food Providers Project Many people in Montana need food now, which Montana producers across the state could provide. They are starting with specific short-term distribution goals that address the immediate crisis by getting Montana food products in the hands of the Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) for distribution across the state.

Does all this sound interesting? Then volunteer! Ask not what Montana can do for you; ask what you can do for Montana! Sign up: Volunteer with AERO/MT
1 month ago
The Montana Organic Associationis located in Belgrade, MT and is dedicated to connecting Montana's organic community; including Missoula. They provide a great number of resources for Montanans, including lobbying and advocating in the state government in behalf of local food growers.



MOA advocates for policies that protect the environment, promote healthy living, and support individuals, farms, and businesses that are actively engaged in developing sustainable businesses and communities. Since its founding in 2002, MOA has worked to build connections and relationships between Montana’s organic farmers and ranchers with markets and other opportunities that strengthen organic agriculture.

The Montana Organic Association (MOA) brings together people, businesses, organizations, and agencies working to develop Montana's organic sector and building its community. MOA is proud of its legacy that has led Montana to be a national leader in organic production. But MOA is more than organic production; it also serves to educate about organic products including food, fiber, and non-food items like cosmetics and household supplies, and provides strategies to limit the use of chemicals in everyday life. MOA advocates for policies that protect the environment, promote healthy living, and support individuals, farms and businesses that are actively engaged in developing sustainable businesses and communities. MOA accomplishes this through hosting events, serving as an educational resource, providing networking opportunities, and through its communications channels.



Almost every year, MOA hosts an annual conference featuring speakers and presentations that help bring attention to their efforts to promote local Montana food growers and organic farming issues. Previous conferences: Conference archives.

MOA has an informative MOA YouTube channel with lots of great videos on topics ranging from organic gardening and farming policy, social media use for advocacy, crop and farm management. Check it out!

MOA is affiliated with several other Missoula- and Montana-based advocacy groups:


and:



Get Involved! Join MOA!
MOA has several affordable membership options: Individual, Household, Farm/Ranch/Business, and Organic Business. MOA also offers premium Sponsor and Lifetime memberships.  Join MOA and help grow Montana's organic community.

MOA is a diverse community. There are many ways to participate: attend a farm tour, volunteer, read "Organic Matters," MOA's quarterly newsletter, advertise and sponsor! Go here to sign up: Join MOA!




1 month ago
The Montana Organic Associationis located in Belgrade, MT and is dedicated to connecting Montana's organic community; including Missoula. They provide a great number of resources for Montanans, including lobbying and advocating in the state government in behalf of local food growers.



MOA advocates for policies that protect the environment, promote healthy living, and support individuals, farms, and businesses that are actively engaged in developing sustainable businesses and communities. Since its founding in 2002, MOA has worked to build connections and relationships between Montana’s organic farmers and ranchers with markets and other opportunities that strengthen organic agriculture.

The Montana Organic Association (MOA) brings together people, businesses, organizations, and agencies working to develop Montana's organic sector and building its community. MOA is proud of its legacy that has led Montana to be a national leader in organic production. But MOA is more than organic production; it also serves to educate about organic products including food, fiber, and non-food items like cosmetics and household supplies, and provides strategies to limit the use of chemicals in everyday life. MOA advocates for policies that protect the environment, promote healthy living, and support individuals, farms and businesses that are actively engaged in developing sustainable businesses and communities. MOA accomplishes this through hosting events, serving as an educational resource, providing networking opportunities, and through its communications channels.



Almost every year, MOA hosts an annual conference featuring speakers and presentations that help bring attention to their efforts to promote local Montana food growers and organic farming issues. Previous conferences: Conference archives.

MOA has an informative MOA YouTube channel with lots of great videos on topics ranging from organic gardening and farming policy, social media use for advocacy, crop and farm management. Check it out!

MOA is affiliated with several other Missoula- and Montana-based advocacy groups:


and:



Get Involved! Join MOA!
MOA has several affordable membership options: Individual, Household, Farm/Ranch/Business, and Organic Business. MOA also offers premium Sponsor and Lifetime memberships.  Join MOA and help grow Montana's organic community.

MOA is a diverse community. There are many ways to participate: attend a farm tour, volunteer, read "Organic Matters," MOA's quarterly newsletter, advertise and sponsor! Go here to sign up: Join MOA!




1 month ago
AERO/MT is a grassroots organization based in Helena, MT with an impact in Missoula. Founded by "imaginative pragmatists, AERO is a community of social entrepreneurs dedicated to building the world in which we want to live. We have a producer-centric focus, helping communities build place-based, values-driven community food systems/webs with climate-smart solutions. We believe in partnerships and networks, and know that community is the future of sustainability."

Originally meaning 'Alternative Energy Resources Organization,' AERO has evolved to be more of a farm-to-table group while maintaining their initial focus:

"Montana powered with clean, renewable energy, empowered by a collaborative network of resilient communities, and where all Montanans are nourished by locally produced, sustainably grown healthy food."

"Grassroots and statewide, AERO cultivates sustainability by engaging community stakeholders and weaving networks that build lasting partnerships in the climate smart, sustainable agriculture and local food system sphere, creating spaces where leaders and inspired community models flourish."



Amongst the things they do, AERO/MT supports the Montana Food Economy Initiative

AERO’s Montana Food Economy Initiative (MFEI) strengthens the network of Montana values-based community food systems to ensure producer sustainability and resilience, and support community economic, environmental, social, and human health. MFEI emphasizes coordinating cross-sector engagement across all parts of the food system (producer, processor, distributor, consumer, recovery) to support critical producer sustainability.



AERO also is a major proponent of Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition

AERO is a member of the Steering Committee for Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition. Together with the Steering Committee: National Center for Appropriate Technology, Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, Lake County Community Development Corporation; partners, allies, and sponsors, we are giving community food systems a voice at the state legislative level to help ensure that Montana producers can get healthy food to Montana consumers.



One of AERO's major endeavors is their own Abundant Montana


Abundant Montana educates consumers about the value of local food, and support food and farming entrepreneurs building successful, well-connected, and thoughtful businesses. Abundant Montana began as a print directory in 1995, linking Montanans with local food across the state. Today, Abundant Montana lists over 600 farmers, ranchers, farmers’ markets, institutional and retail local food buyers, food pantries and community meals, and local food and agriculture organizations. By 2022 they anticipated having 1000+ listings, and aim to double that by 2023.

Yet another area where AERO helps the local community is the value-added producer success program

"AERO’s Value-Added Producer Success program offers educational workshops, training and resources with the goal of helping producers reduce their risks and maximize sustainable business success with home-based value-added products. They work to increase producers’ understanding of current Montana legislation regarding food licensing, registration and inspection (including new changes under SB199), and provide risk management strategies to minimize liability, maximize profitability and longevity for food enterprises, and increase consumer confidence in local food products."


Montana Food Providers Project
MOA (Montana Organic Association) and AERO (Alternative Energy ResourcesOrganization) are spearheading a partnership to raise funds, supplies and awareness for addressing a dual reality underscored by the current COVID-19 crisis.

The Montana Food Providers Project Many people in Montana need food now, which Montana producers across the state could provide. They are starting with specific short-term distribution goals that address the immediate crisis by getting Montana food products in the hands of the Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) for distribution across the state.

Does all this sound interesting? Then volunteer! Ask not what Montana can do for you; ask what you can do for Montana! Sign up: Volunteer with AERO/MT
1 month ago
MUD has a section for events. Please go here to learn about things like the llama poo sale.

At the bottom of that page you can sign up for their newsletter and stay 'in the know.'
1 month ago
MUD has a Tool Library!

Both MUD members and non-members can browse the online tool inventory by going here.

They have tools for all sorts of things from gardening and other yardwork around your place, to automotive, plumbing and carpentry!

Please remember that tools can only be checked out and returned during Tool Library hours.

1 month ago