Sleeping Child Hot Springs 'Fun-Raiser' Update:

In an effort to keep our community safe and actively participate in the prevention measures recommended by health officials to stop the spread of Coronavirus, we have decided to postpone the Sleeping Child Hot Springs 'Fun-Raiser' until Fall 2020. As more details become available, we will post them to the website and send out an update to our email subscribers.


If you have already purchased a ticket, you will soon be receiving an email with more details on refunds and how you can still support the Youth Farm Internship for the 2020 season.

Thank you for your understanding!

Call for High School Students - This is Your Moment!

Cultivating Connections is now accepting applications for its Youth Farm Internship program. This PAID internship will teach you to:

* Be a Change-Leader!

* Be part of a team focused on food, farming, and community resilience

* Learn how to grow organic vegetables

* Learn Community Building skills

* Make salads for senior citizens in our community

* Be a counselor/buddy for kids with autism at Special Abilities Camp

* Design and plant a demonstration garden to highlight important aspects of organic gardening and farming such as companion planting, pollinator plants and beneficial insects, trap crops, and composting

* Learn about herbs, herbalism, and natural remedies

* Grow, harvest, and make weekly boxes of produce for families in our community.

No previous job experience is necessary.

14-17 year-old students invited to apply.

10-12 hours/week in spring and fall, 19 hours per week in summer.


Click here to download/print an application or call MacKenzie at 406-239-9859  for more information.


Learn, Work

Grow, Connect!

Intended to inspire gratitude, generosity, fraternity, participation, a creative spirit, and a love of Mother Nature, Cultivating Connections teaches real job skills in the Agricultural and Home Arts and act as a catalyst for community building using food as the tool to bring people together through education, participation, and celebration.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

2019 has been a wonderful year for Cultivating Connections and our family of programs!  We are very pleased with the amazing work we accomplished this past year and want to thank you for your support.  We’d like to share a few highlights from 2019 and ask for your financial support of these impactful programs.  

The Youth Farm Internship: 8 Interns mentored in the arts of organic farming, community involvement, and value-added food processing.


  • Managed and packed the multi-producer CSA for the Loyal To Local Cooperative

  • Grew 12 weeks of mixed vegetables for the Co-op’s Vegetable share.  

  • ‘Best of the Farm’ 20 week CSA - 24 of 30 shares were donated to families within our community!

  • ‘Special Abilities Camp' Counselor/Buddies

  • ‘Salads For Seniors’ project- 100 fresh garden salads a week for eight weeks. Interns harvested, produced, and delivered the salads to Meals on Wheels of Ravalli County Council on Aging. 

International Youth in Farming Work Safari: 3 interns traveled to Berlin, Germany to learn about and experience a foreign culture and its agriculture.


  • Toured the Berlin Botanical Gardens, Gardens of the World, Lobetal Farm for disabled adults, and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

  • Home-stay in a German family

  • Five-day mini internship on an organic small farm. 

  • Positively transformative for all the participants!

Special Abilities Camp: Eighth year of summer days camps for kids on the autism spectrum, in cooperation with Bitterroot Arts for Autism.


  • ‘Special Abilities ‘Growing Roots’ Camp’ -a weeklong day-camp for high functioning kids on the autism spectrum. 

  • Special Abilities ‘Pond Days’ -three, one-day camps for all special abilities kids with swimming and boating on the farm pond!


Kinder-Gardeners Project: 3-part farm visit series for all seven kindergarten classes (over 120 kids) from Hamilton. 


  • Harvested potatoes in the fall, seeded peas in early spring, and transplanted flowers in the late spring.  

  • Taste-tested a variety of vegetables, got to run, play, and scream, and had a dance party on the farm’s stage!  

  • Each teacher and one student from each classroom won a ‘Best of the Farm’ CSA share produced by the Youth Farm Interns!  


Homies Program: Weekly summer farm visits for youth living at the Linda Massa Youth Home.

  • Youth Home residents were able to work with plants, dig in the soil, feed and pet farm animals, and just be free to enjoy the natural world and express themselves.  

  • The ‘Homies’ program has long been an integral part of how we are connecting people to themselves and each other using food as the commonality.


Building A Stronger Bitterroot Community Roundtable Series: 5 month series following the Societal Transformation Lab curriculum from M.I.T. and the Presencing Institute.


  • Engaged over 250 people. 

  • Opened up important conversations and built lasting connections-all with the intention of discovering and enhancing Resilience in our community.


Reimagining School Lunch Innovation Lab: 4-part lab to investigate and innovated around the question ‘What If  we served 100% Montana grown food to all Bitterroot Valley school children?’


  • Kicked off on Nov. 2, 2019 with the intention of seeing and understanding our current school lunch and local food system.  45 participants and stakeholders were engaged!

  • Part Two will be April 17/18, 2020 to begin the process of crystallizing and prototyping new systems for school lunch using 100% Montana grown foods.

  • Parts Three and Four will be in July and November, 2020 to build upon themselves and the prototype ideas generated by participants and stakeholders.

  • Innovation Lab series uses fun and engaging social tools from Theory-U, the Presencing Institute, and Liberating Structures.  

  • Facilitation model being created is intended for dissemination across Montana to help interested communities and groups reach into their future potential.

Other events and activities:


  • Drum Brothers Concert and drumming workshop, July 2019.

  • Sleeping Child Hot Springs Fun-Raiser, April 2019.

  • Young Adult Internships for college-aged students

  • National Farmers Union Women’s Conference- two former interns and Cultivating Connections’ Director were sponsored conference participants


2020 promises to be an exciting step forward for Cultivating Connections.  We will expand the Youth Farm Internship so that we can expand the ‘Best of the Farm’ CSA to offer 25 Buy One-Give One CSA shares, meaning 25 shares for sale and 25 shares for donation within our community! Special Abilities ‘Growing Roots Camp’ will continue with an added week in late summer to connect and reinforce the learning for kids on the autism spectrum.  

Thanks to a grant from the Rapp Family Foundation, our Salads for Seniors program will be expanded to serve more home bound elders and youth!  In 2020, the Youth Farm Interns will make 100 salads and slaws each week for 20 weeks And the Homies program will make 100 salads and slaws each week.  This will greatly increase the access to fresh seasonal vegetables for seniors through Meals on Wheels and will immerse kids living at the youth home in real, meaningful community engagement.  We know this program will impact all involved in innumerable ways!

The Reimagining School Lunch Innovation Lab will continue with the goal of an updated school lunch system that can serve 100% Montana grown foods. Our Kinder-Gardeners project will continue to serve the Hamilton school district and is poised to branch out into the Corvallis and Victor school districts to include more kids and two additional farms.  The Sleeping Child Hot Springs Fun-Raiser, scheduled for March 21/22 will again bring couples, friends, and families together to enjoy these treasured waters, share healthy food, and support our programs.

Cultivating Connections has a heading that is ambitious and impactful.  Our work is enriching the lives of youth, feeding our elders and young families, bringing together community members around important issues and ideas, and truly making a difference.  In order to continue this work, we need your help! We need to raise $30,000.

Get involved in making our valley and our country a more resilient world for generations to come.  Please consider becoming a financial sponsor of Cultivating Connections. Thank you for your support, it is vital to our innovative programming and will enrich not only your life but the lives of many others in Montana and beyond!  


Peace,   Laura Garber

Cultivating Connections Director

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Find us: 

175 Skalkaho Hwy, Hamilton, MT 59840