Food

Makenna Greenwald

Back in 2017, the first USDA-inspected full-service meat processing plant in the state of Wyoming in over 40 years opened up shop in Cody. Now, Laramie is set to open its first-ever meat processing plant as soon as March. 

CC0 Public Domain via (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Senior research scientist Thomas Foulke first learned about these ancient grains in France, where he takes students for a yearly agriculture program. He was flipping through an old French cookbook when he came across a recipe that called for spelt. Unfamiliar with the word, he looked it up and found that it was a grain, one of the first ever cultivated.

As we get ready to chow down on holiday foods over the next couple of weeks, a new study has some grim news. It projects half of Americans will be obese and a quarter will be severely obese in the next decade.

Epi’s is a Basque restaurant in Meridian Idaho, just west of Boise. In mid-morning, things are still pretty quiet, but owner Eric McFarland and a few others are prepping food.


The holidays often mean Christmas hams, mulled wine and potato latkes. But in the Mountain West, our food occasionally comes from the forest and not the grocery store. Tom Healy is a hunter living in the small town of Wisdom, Montana. This holiday season, he tried a gamey twist on traditional, eastern European cabbage rolls, called halupkis. Check out his recipe below. 

The lack of access to nutritious food is a major issue across Indian Country. One program in Nevada is looking to increase healthy habits among youth on reservations and the rural communities surrounding them.

Catherine Wheeler

Wednesday mornings at the Food Group in Sheridan are usually busy.

It’s nearly Thanksgiving, which means extra food — and extra food waste. But one man’s garbage is another’s renewable energy.


uwyo.edu

The University of Wyoming has hired a new dean to oversee the Department of Agriculture. Barbara Rasco is a food scientist, engineer and attorney known around the world for her work on food safety.

Now she's bringing that knowledge to bear on Wyoming's deep history in ranching and its new progress in local food entrepreneurship.

Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies

The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies' mobile pantry will be visiting Gillette over the next couple of weeks to support people affected by the recent mine closures.

Maggie Mullen

When it comes to beef, Made in America doesn't necessarily mean it was made here. That's because if the cow was raised in another country it can be labeled with a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sticker as long as it was processed here. That has American ranchers in a beef with each other over what to do about it.

According to a new analysis, proposed changes to the federal poverty line could mean big changes for low income people in the Mountain West.


Sean Sherman

The town of Wilson will host an event on Indigenous foods and their healing potential and well known Native American chef Sean Sherman will attend. The event, called "The Food Sovereignty Gathering" will offer workshops on Indigenous identification of various plants, berries, and roots. During the event, people can also check out booths featuring wild foods and products.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon is touring the state with a focus on combating childhood hunger.

Wyoming Business Council

The Wyoming Business Council is offering grants to communities to build vertical gardens.

Amy Martin

Wyoming might be the Cowboy State, but lots of livestock producers here ship their animals out of state to get slaughtered because of a lack of U.S.D.A. meat processors. But now the Laramie Planning Commission has approved a conditional use permit for a new one on the outskirts of town. 

Melodie Edwards

The Wyoming Department of Family Services has been working overtime to issue Wyoming families their SNAP food benefits a couple weeks early. That's because with the government saying they'll reopen, but for only three weeks, it's unclear when they'll get benefits again.

Maggie Mullen

The trucking industry is facing a record shortage of drivers. However, over the last couple of years, one demographic has been gravitating towards the industry by the thousands: Indian-American Sikhs.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Parkinson

Our region has a disproportionate number of federal workers and last Friday many of them went without a paycheck for the first time under the shutdown. Thousands have turned to GoFundMe pages while others are selling their belongings on Craigslist.

Missouri has already made it a crime to label something like a veggie burger or tissue grown in a lab as “meat.” Now, other states are considering doing the same.

Wyoming legislators are scheduled to discuss a bill this week that would prohibit the word “meat” from appearing on a package that does not contain edible parts of what was previously a live animal.  

Feeding Laramie Valley

Albany County struggles more than others in the state with hunger and access to healthy food. That’s why a group of AmeriCorps volunteers came to Laramie, to help grow vegetables and deliver them to food banks and soup kitchens in the community. Haley Ammons grew up in Michigan and is considering the idea of pursuing a career working with nonprofits. She said planting crops and harvesting produce for the organization Feeding Laramie Valley is helping her figure that out.

Cooper McKim

It’s a hot day south of Wheatland, near the small town of Chugwater. Dirt kicks up around passing cars on a long driveway as the sunbeams gold on waving fields of wheat. At the end is the Baker Farm, with old water tanks and rusted antique farm vehicles in front of the home. 

Kamila Kudelska


Wyoming’s agriculture industry is trying its hand at blockchain technology. Beefchain.io, a private company, is one of those businesses that started after Wyoming passed a number of pro-blockchain laws. The goal is to use blockchain technology to track data points about cattle and share the information with consumers: pasture to plate.

Breakdown of direct, indirect, and induced jobs per 100 new employees for wind, coal, and slaughterhouses
Patrick Manning, Matthew Halama, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services / Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

A new report outlining the status of Wyoming's economy and workforce shows slaughterhouses could create more indirect and induced jobs than wind and coal state lines employees.

Melodie Edwards


Wyomingites once grew food in their own backyards or hunted it in the mountains. These days, though, more rural people are driving distances to reach a grocer, or even just a mini-mart, for their food. It’s led to nearly 75,000 people in Wyoming struggling with hunger and access to healthy fresh foods.

But now farmers markets, food pantries and nutrition groups in the state are collaborating to start a council to address the state’s food security issues.

The Senate and House have passed two versions of the Farm Bill. The differences between the two pieces of legislation now have to be hashed out by legislators. The final bill could have a big impact on low-income residents in our region.


Bureau of Land Management

Look no further than the school cafeteria for choice cuts of locally raised meat. The School Nutrition Project, entering its second year, splits the processing costs with districts who receive donated animals from local farmers and 4-H clubs. 

USDA

Summer break means no tests and no homework, but for low-income kids, that can mean one less meal a day. Over 20 million kids in the U.S. are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals during the regular school year. 

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

Nearly 75,000 people in Wyoming qualify as food insecure, meaning they struggle with hunger and access to healthy foods. That’s almost 13 percent of the state and it’s even higher for children. That’s why several groups—including Centcible Nutrition, Casper’s Food For Thought, Gillette’s Sharing the Harvest and the Wind River Reservation’s Growing Resilience—met for a summit last month to discuss the need for a food policy council. Wyoming is the only state without such a council. 

Raspberry deLight Farms

Studies show that Albany County has the highest rates of food insecurity in the state. One organization hopes to fix that with the help of a $400,000 Food Project Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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