2022 Programs Are Now Open!
Montana Farm & Ranch
High School SERVICE Program
CONSERVATION & FOOD PRODUCTION FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
MONTANA FARM & RANCH 1
JUNE 20 to JULY 04 | 15 DAYS
50 HRS SERVICE | TUITION $4,550
MONTANA FARM & RANCH 2
JULY 10 to JULY 30 | 21 DAYS
90 HRS SERVICE | TUITION $5,950
“A third of the food raised or prepared does not make it from farm or factory to fork. Producing uneaten food squanders a whole host of resources—seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labor, financial capital—and generates greenhouse gases at every stage—including methane when organic matter lands in the global rubbish bin.”
Embracing Projects That Matter
“How can we reduce the pressures on ecosystems and land, while meeting the growing demands for food and fiber worldwide? How can we do what we do on land better, tending it in ways that decrease emissions from agriculture and forestry? The answers to these questions are critical for stemming greenhouse gases, sustaining the planet’s living systems, addressing food security, and protecting human health, all inextricably linked.” —Project Drawdown
At VISIONS, we’re firm believers that the youth of today hold the keys to a better tomorrow. As the fight against climate change and environmental degradation grows ever more dire, now more than ever it’s critical that younger generations are able to glean insight into what it means to truly live sustainably and conscientiously, in harmony with the land, all amid the clamor of the digital age.
In our Montana Farm Program, participants will collaborate with Montana farmers, ranchers and conservationists. We’ll work with and learn from these tenacious folks to grow and harvest food, care for livestock, turn compost piles, perform trail maintenance work and more.
We’ll also split into groups during our program, rotating to work with two local organizations. Hopa Mountain works to improve the environmental, educational and social health of rural tribal citizens in Montana. With Hopa, we’ll take part in a variety of service projects that support tribal communities. Meanwhile, the Gallatin Valley Food Bank provides aid for local families struggling with food insecurity. Here, participants will sort produce, stock shelves and re-package food to help these families.
The Montana Farm Program is equal parts service and learning, as we all strive to gain an understanding of what it takes to be a sustainable tenant of the land.
Authentic Western life in Montana’s farming and ranching communities, where we live, work and bond as a group, exploring the splendor of nature together.
Making Meaningful Connections
Our home is a sprawling farm in the rugged Gallatin Valley, on the outskirts of Bozeman, Montana. In addition to traditional farm buildings including barns, a historic trapper’s cabin and a greenhouse, we use large canvas wall tents on wooden platforms for our bunk rooms. Accommodations are basic but comfortable, and most importantly they stay true to the farm life of the West.
During your time here, you’ll also get to know other growers, livestock ranchers and conservationists in this magical area, known as “Valley of the Flowers” by Native Americans. On many days you’ll find yourself heading up the dirt road to neighboring Rocky Creek Farm, a vibrant operation with lots of young farmers who welcome our help on myriad projects.
You’ll learn from the grit and work ethic of the local people and gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be connected to the land that brings us all life. In Montana, the beauty of this land is only matched by the splendor of the heavens at night, with vast arrays of stars strewn across clear summer skies.
“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love.”
THE GREATER YELLOWSTONE ECOSYSTEM AND OUR HOMEBASE ON THE FARM CREATE A SUMMER TO REMEMBER. ROOT YOURSELF TO THE LAND AND CONNECT TO THE LIFE AROUND YOU. EXPLORE WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE AUTHENTICALLY AND SUSTAINABLY THROUGH WILDERNESS EXCURSIONS, HANDS-ON SERVICE AND LIFE UNDER THE VAST MONTANA SKY.
SETTING OUT TO GO BEYOND
Prepare for life in the heart of an unforgettable western landscape strewn with soaring mountain peaks, pristine alpine lakes, raging rivers and vast open prairies. During your stay, service opportunities will be mixed in with jaunts into the sublime Montana backcountry, including everything from rock climbing to backpacking to afternoon dips at remote mountain swimming holes. In addition to the wilderness excursions, we’ll attend a variety of cultural events, such as rodeos and county fairs, as well as an (optional) bison harvest. During your stay, you’ll also hear from a handful of guest speakers, including the Raptor Center… and yes, they bring raptors to visit with us!
ACTIVITIES AND EXCURSIONS
- Backpack and camp overnight in the spectacular Montana backcountry
- Learn to rock climb (except for the 15-day program)
- Embark on a variety of day hikes, including a trek to the top of Sacagawea Peak
- Swim at local and mountain swimming holes
- Attend local county fair, summer rodeos and other cultural events, depending on program schedule
- Tour of Montana State University (optional)
- Visit downtown Bozeman
- Visit Paradise Valley & Livingston
- Hear from a variety of guest speakers, including a permaculture workshop, film-making workshop, Raptor Center visit, and various conservationist organizations
MATT SKOGLUND & BILLY MAXWELL
Matt Skoglund, one of our program partners and a former attorney, spent years doing environmental policy work for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) before starting a bison ranch in Montana. A lifetime environmentalist, he and his wife Sarah are the founders and owners of North Bridger Bison, which is in the Shields Valley north of Bozeman. Matt guides our program participants as we take part in a conscientious bison field-harvest, performed with respect for the animal and the land.
Billy Maxwell, another program partner and Matt’s close friend, is a cultural anthropologist who has worked with Native American women for over two decades, studying their traditional methods of bison tanning. Billy teaches a workshop to show us how to tan our bison hide in the ancient Native American way, passed down from generation to generation. The hide we tan during our workshop is later auctioned off to contribute to a scholarship fund to help kids from reservations attend programs like ours. Meanwhile, the meat from the bison is eaten during the program.
Check it out:
VISIONS Featured In The New York Times!