Housing push threatens to eat up agricultural soils around Missoula

Restaurateur Scott Gill, owner of Scotty’s Table, puts fresh, local food front and center on his menu. But the growing pressure of housing development on prime agricultural land is creating a challenge for the Missoula eatery.

“Having the local product is what I built my business on,” said Gill, who sources his beef from Oxbow Cattle Co., his chicken from Living River Farms and his produce from Missoula growers he knows personally.

A section of a subdivision on Roundup Drive near Mullan Road west of Missoula undergoes construction on Sept. 7. Prime agricultural soil in the county has disappeared as housing subdivisions are going in places where farms used to be.


Gill said eating locally isn’t just a business practice; it’s a philosophy. He believes using food from the nearby community brings economic and health benefits to an area like Missoula and the people who live there.

But finding ways to live in such a community is becoming a challenge. It’s hampering Scotty’s Table as employees struggle to find housing. One obvious solution is development, and lots of

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