MISSOULA , Mont. — Agriculture is Montana’s number one industry, which is why it’s so important to support local farmers, and this weekend you can do just that. 

 
They kicked off the three-day event on Thursday, with the launch of a farm fresh pale ale called Homegrown. 
 
It’s made with local hops from Bell Crossing Farms
 
Desiree Funston with Bell Crossing Farms said the event gives the community a chance to learn more the work they do.
 
"I think the pandemic has really shown us that maybe we need to bring our food system a little closer to home,” Funston said.
 
She is just one of the farmers you can support this weekend, and buying the Homegrown beer is a great start. 
 
"This is a really great partnership with Imagine Nation to support Missoula Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, so we're really happy to have our local product in local beer that's supporting a great local non-profit,” Funston said.
 
But if you want to go one step further, the Community Food and Agriculture Coalitions, Communications and Development Director, Jenny Zaso, said there’s a pop-up pitch fest happening at the brewery on Friday from 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. 
 
"Anyone from the community for as little as $25 bucks can make that loan to the farmer, they'll get repaid and then they can repeat and choose to invest in another farmer,” Zaso said. "That kind of helps that farmer get started and remove some of those financial barriers and lending barriers that beginning farmers run up against,” she said.
 
Or if you’re hoping for an adventure, you can buy a Farm and Food Passport that gives you access to over 75 farms in the state.
 
Owner of Imagine Nation Brewing, Robert Rivers, said it’s a great way to see the work local farmers do.
 
"CFAC has done a wonderful job of really taking the idea of a collaboration on a beer but then leveraging that for something that's even more important which is getting local farm passports into people's hands so that Missoulians and people in the area can get out there and support local growers,” Rivers said.
 
Whether you support a new farmer, but a passport or buy a beer, it’s a good reminder that farmers do a lot for the community.
 
"Missoula is just huge into beer and I think it's great that people are now realizing that some of the ingredients for beer are being produced locally as well,” Funston said.
 
On Saturday, there will be food trucks at Imagine Nation Brewing, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
 
The Homegrown beer will sell out quick, so stop by the brewery to grab yours.

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