In 2004, inspired by his passion for rural sustainability, Bill Bryan formed the Cook Center for Sustainable Agriculture in the American West, a nonprofit organization based in Bozeman, Montana. It was a small organization with the goal of being a proactive, collaborative force in agriculture. As time went on, the organization's interests expanded and evolved and in 2007 the Cook Center was renamed The Rural Landscape Institute - A Catalyst for Food and Agricultural Integrity in the American West (RLI). The organization's projects focused on issues that affect sustainable agriculture and food security throughout the West.
One of these projects, originally called the Rural-Urban Partnership, focused on bridging the rural-urban divide. As this project developed and was renamed One Montana, it became evident that, to truly succeed at its mission to support rural communities, the organization needed to build out networks among those rural communities and their urban counterparts to create a resilient and vibrant state.
And so, our organization has taken on the One Montana identity with the knowledge that we are stronger together than we are apart. This merger provides a focus for funding and planning; plays to our strengths; capitalizes on the momentum of an increasingly visible and well-supported program; and provides a context for our work that is exciting for donors and partners. The transition to One Montana retains the people, programs and mission of RLI but also opens new possibilities.
One Montana continues to work on projects started under the Cook Center and the Rural Landscape Institute. And it has expanded its areas of interest to include projects on rural-urban connections, rural economic development, local food systems, and climate change and agriculture.
For more information on One Montana, check out these links: