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Exciting things happening with local food now in community

May 5, 2020 Sherry Shelley

We all eat, and where our food comes from and how it's prepared will all be topics addressed in this new column.

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q We all eat, and where our food comes from and how it's prepared will all be topics addressed in this new column.

There are so many exciting things happening with food, right now, Welcome, readers. This column will strive to keep residents informed and knowledgeable about issues and developments related to local food, with emphasis on the production of local food.

We all eat. Some people raise vegetable gardens, some cook, some hunt or fish, some raise beef, pork, or lamb.

What we eat, where it comes from, and how it's prepared will all be topics addressed in this column. There are so many exciting things happening with food, right now, in Riverton and Fremont County.

Last week a group of people representing various organizations in Fremont County met, via Zoom, to discuss each organization's goals, current projects and potential problems.

The goal of the meeting was to reduce duplication of efforts and make a coordinated plan for promoting the consumption of locally produced food in Fremont County.

Participating were the Wind River Food Sovereignty Project, Fremont Local Foods, Wind River Farm-to-Plate, Riverton Local Food Hub, Central Wyoming College, and Wyoming PBS.

Goals of each group were detailed and a wide ranging discussion, including relative recent legislation, ensued. Future meetings with this group will be reported as they occur.

A very recently organized association of local home greenhouse growers provides exciting potential. With more than over 50 current participants it promises to be an important force in local vegetable production and availability.

The Riverton Local Food Hub (RLFH) initiated the "Fremont County Greenhouse Growers" Facebook group for local producers and those interested in greenhouse growing to share ideas, tips and questions. The RLFH also is in the process of constructing a database of Fremont County producers.

From this information, the RLFH hopes to develop an on-line market for local growers in the near future. For more information on either of these efforts call Cathy Rosenthal at 307-751-9389, or e-mail to this address: rivertonlocalfoodhub@gmail.com.

Many of Central Wyoming College's programs focus on economic development to encourage local employment.

Melissa Hemken of CWC shared information on the college's new mobile meat science lab, slated to start training meat processors this fall.

Students will get immediate job training and may also elect to take business courses to prepare them to own and operate their own meat processing plants, similar to Wyoming Custom Meats in Hudson.

The vision is to enable multiple small to mid-size producers to start up here, so that more of our great, locally produced meat is available right here, while providing good incomes for local residents.

COVID-19 is affecting our food supplies, and that issue will also be addressed in future columns.

From labor shortages in California fields to meat processing plant closures to transportation issues - the pandemic is predicted to impact us in many yet unknown ways.

Access to locally available food gains new importance in the current conditions.

This brief overview is just a tip of the iceberg. It is exciting to see the potential that many local visionaries see for food production and economic benefit right here in Fremont County.

Watch for more details in coming columns.

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2020-06-03

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