One Montana's mission is to create a vibrant Montana by connecting rural and urban communities.
One Montana is a statewide program to build and sustain basic connections between rural and urban Montanans.The goal of One Montana is to change the way we think and act about rural and urban communities from “divide” to “connect” and to serve as a national model for collaboration and community development.
WHY ONE MONTANA?
With every day that passes, the population of the United States seems to become more divided – between “red” and “blue,” wealthy and poor and, rural and urban. Because of its vast open spaces and low population, Montana, too, suffers from the consequences of a rural-urban divide. As an example, urban populations in Montana are increasingly concerned about the source of their food and yet the percentage of consumption in Montana of locally grown food has dropped from 70% in the 1950s to less than 10% in 2006.
Urban residents in Montana rank the quality of life in Montana very highly, including their proximity to open space and recreational opportunities. They may be unaware that farms and ranches that contribute to open space and provide hunting and fishing opportunities on private land are in serious jeopardy. Montana is losing about 35 acres of farmland per day and 250 ranches a year. About 5,000,000 acres of important farm and ranch lands in Montana are under pressure from development.
On the other hand, rural Montanans are concerned about disparities with urban centers in education, healthcare,and employment opportunities. They worry about their ability to continue a traditional way of life by keeping the next generation on the farm or ranch in the face of economic hardship.
But there is hope. Montanans have demonstrated that they have a great capacity for change by tapping into their community spirit and sharing an appreciation of the natural resources of the state (e.g., Blackfoot Challenge, Stillwater Mining Good Neighbor Agreement, etc.). These attributes can contribute to a successful rural-urban partnership – if a resource exists to help us focus on what unites us rather than what divides us. This is One Montana.