Save Farmland announces five-year partnership with Under the Big Sky Festival, new board members, $2.35M land donation

July 14, 2022 / News

We’re excited to announce that we have locked in a long-term partnership with the Under the Big Sky Festival to raise awareness and funds for Save Farmland.

The five-year partnership makes Save Farmland the official nonprofit of the event, working closely with festival leadership to create awareness and money-raising opportunities for its programs through music and arts. The partnership kicks off at this year’s event in Whitefish, Montana, where Save Farmland merchandise will be sold throughout the event, with 100% of proceeds going to its cause.

“Our team is extremely excited to partner with Save Farmland to help protect agricultural and ranch land across the Flathead Valley. We’re starting with merchandise this year, and hope to expand to benefit shows and other creative fundraising opportunities in the years to come for this important cause.”

Johnny Shockey, CEO of Outrider’s Present, and owner of Under the Big Sky Festival

We also would like to announce our first three members of its Board of Directors, which includes Shockey:

  • Scot Chisholm, Chairman and co-founder of Haskill Creek Farms, and founder of online fundraising software company, Classy (now an affiliate of GoFundMe)
  • Robin Kelson, Executive Director of Abundant Montana and CEO and owner of The Good Seed Company
  • Johnny Shockey, CEO of Outrider’s Present, which owns Under the Big Sky Music Festival and a portfolio of other investments in the music and arts industry

Other organizations that have been integral to Save Farmland’s early strategic planning include:

“Over the past twelve months, we’ve been talking with local nonprofit leaders, the farming community, and city officials to shape the vision for Save Farmland. The question we’ve been asking is: How do we increase production of healthy local food in our community? Through these conversations, a dual mission emerged: one part land conservation and the other part a focus on programs that strengthen sustainable local food production, distribution, and access.”

Robin Kelson, Save Farmland Board Director & Executive Director, Abundant Montana

To kick off our first capital campaign, we also would like to announce a $2.35 million land donation by Whitefish residents Scot and Carrie Chisholm, with Scot also serving on the Board of Directors.

The 40-acre plot is located on the north side of Voerman Road, less than five minutes from downtown Whitefish, MT. It will serve as Save Farmland’s first “Farm Hub”, which includes an incubator program for new farmers, and resources for seasoned farmers to support existing food production and distribution.

“The goal of the Farm Hub is to provide farmers with a comprehensive path to success, including access to land and infrastructure, continuing education and sales distribution. Flathead Valley has seen unprecedented growth in the last couple of years, so it’s critically important that we continue to invest in the local food system to ensure that our community has healthy organic food for years to come.”

Scot Chisholm, Chairman at Save Farmland.

The land donation on Voerman Road will also serve the broader Whitefish community, with plans for a large community garden and demonstration farm, a farmer’s market, cooking and gardening classes, and public access to walking and bike paths throughout.

Concept drawings for the Farm Hub are underway, and Save Farmland’s first capital campaign will continue to roll out this summer to raise money and awareness.

View the Press Release

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