The Missoula County Community Food Assessment (MCCFA) began in the spring of 2003 when two University of Montana professors, Maxine Jacobson and Neva Hassanein, formed a steering committee of stakeholders from the community including farmers, county planning officials, and food bank representatives. The group set to work identifying the most vital research questions related to food and farming in Missoula County. Next, Hassanein and Jacobson designed a multi-disciplinary university course, which put 21 students to work throughout the fall semester. They gathered information regarding food production, distribution, and consumption in the county. The results from this research are compiled into a report that shows patterns and changes in the food system over time. See Foodshed in Focus (pdf). Students also put together a resource guide of food and farming in Missoula County. See Grow, Eat, Know.
The next phase of research sought input from agricultural producers in the county, regarding what they think it will take to keep farms in operation well into the future. The group also talked with Missoula County residents of various income levels to identify their diverse concerns regarding food quality, cost and access. The results from both parts of this research can be found in the report titled Production and Consumption Report: Food Matters (pdf). Included is a number of recommendations for action in Missoula County.