Food

Maggie Mullen

Bright Agrotech, an indoor farming technology company based in Laramie, introduced a first-of-its-kind lighting system on Thursday.

CEO Nate Storey says indoor farmers depend on artificial light in the grow houses. But where there is light, there is also heat.

CC0 Public Domain

With more people eating gluten-free diets and more countries growing their own wheat, Wyoming growers are getting stuck with more product than they can sell.

Weather conditions in the last few years have allowed Wyoming wheat producers to grow lots of wheat they used to be able sell to around the world. But Wyoming Wheat Market Commission Director Keith Kennedy says many countries, like those in Eastern Europe, are now growing their own wheat. He says the ratio of how much wheat the state has to how much can be sold is the highest it’s been since the farm crisis of the 80’s.

Vertical Harvest

After seven years, Vertical Harvest - Jackson Hole’s hydroponic greenhouse – celebrates its grand opening this week. A hydroponic greenhouse grows plants without soil, and with less water than traditional methods. Vertical Harvest raises tomatoes, basil, and greens straight up in the air, which means the plants are stacked in several stories worth of growing space.

CEO and co-founder of Vertical Harvest Nona Yehia says the operation has been selling its produce to local restaurants, schools, and the hospital for about a month now.

The Modern West 11: Eats And Drinks

May 16, 2016
Bob Beck

This month we’re putting specialty coffee, locally distilled spirits, and goat meat on the menu. Hear what’s happening in the Western kitchen. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A Wyoming legislative committee is looking into ways to help cities, towns, and counties raise more money, but a localized food tax failed to gain support Thursday.

State Senator Ogden Driskill of Devils Tower said the state will likely not be able to keep providing money for local government at the rate it has in the past. Lawmakers approved 105 million dollars for local entities for the next two years, a decrease of 78 million from the previous two years. 

Melodie Edwards

  

Laramie gardener Amy Fluet admits it. She’s a bit of a hoarder.

“I take up a huge amount of the space in the refrigerator with seeds,” she says, laughing. “It's an embarrassment, and I hide them in the back so my family doesn't realize how much space it takes up.”

She stores seeds in the fridge to trick them into thinking its winter until she's ready to plant them.

Yathin S Krishnappa, wikipedia.org

The Lander school district is serving up local beef to students from animals the students raised. 

Fremont County School District Food Director Denise Kinney grew up on a dairy farm and was a member of Future Farmers of America as a kid. With recent government interest in getting more locally-sourced foods into schools, she started thinking about what type of food that could be in Wyoming. This year, she partnered with the Lander FFA program.

Inside Energy

This Thanksgiving our holiday feast will contain 4500 calories. Those calories are just a measure of energy, and that food was produced using fossil fuels. In this video, Inside Energy's Dan Boyce explains how fossil fuels are, in fact, your food:

Fuel: It's What's For Dinner

Nov 23, 2015
Stephanie Joyce

There are few places where the connection between energy and food is more obvious than at the Bright Agrotech warehouse in Laramie, Wyoming.

Most of the building is filled floor to ceiling with giant shelves of cardboard boxes and tubing—equipment Bright Agrotech sells to farmers—but in one corner of the warehouse, there’s a small farm: rows and rows of greens and herbs, growing in white vertical towers under dozens of bright LEDs. The hum of electricity is palpable.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming farmers have now experienced a full farmer’s market season since the Food Freedom Act was passed, last legislative session. The Act allows Wyoming farmers to sell many goods they couldn’t in the past, such as raw milk, eggs, and fermented foods. Wyoming Farmer’s Market Association board member Bren Lieske says she was able to expand her business into making bread and fermented tea called kombucha and plans to sell raw goat’s milk in the future.

But, she says, with more business came more risk.

Wikimedia Commons

 

Many consumers are interested in the benefits of so-called ‘good bacteria’ in curing foods and gardening. That’s why this year’s LocalFest in Lander is offering a film festival, gala dinner and workshops celebrating microbes. LocalFest organizer Stefani Smith says the highlight will be a hands-on composting workshop with author Jeff Lowenfels.

Stereogab / Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

Harvest data is rolling in from around the state, and so far, it appears to have been a bountiful year. A wet summer and dry September were especially helpful for beans, corn and livestock pastures in Wyoming, according to Rhonda Brandt with the National Agriculture Statistics Service.

City of Laramie

At a city council meeting tonight in Laramie, a nonprofit group will request a lease on 115 acres of city-owned land to grow food for the hungry. 

Albany County has some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state, according to University of Wyoming Public Health Professor Christine Porter.

Blue Mountain Associates

Through a $2.5 million dollar grant, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes will be able to study the health benefits of starting backyard gardens. The project is called Growing Resilience and is a collaboration between tribal health groups, the University of Wyoming and the nonprofit, Action Resources International.

Thousands Of Wyomingites Live In "Food Deserts"

Jun 9, 2015

Over 40,000 Wyomingites live in areas with limited or no access to grocery stores, according to a recent report from the Mountain States Regional Health Equity Council.

The report names areas in Platte, Goshen, Crook, Big Horn, Carbon and Fremont counties as being food “deserts:” defined as areas where fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods are hard to find.

Renee Gamino is with the Wyoming AARP and is a coauthor of the report. She said even where fresh food is available, it’s often too costly for low-income residents.

DC Central Kitchen

Two years ago, the federal government put strict new guidelines in place for school lunches to get kids eating healthier. Since then, about one million students have left the program nationwide. Many students are simply brown-bagging it— dissatisfied with what their cafeteria serves under the new standards. Others attend a small but growing number of schools who are ditching the federal program—and its dollars—altogether. There are 7 such schools in Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank paid one of them a visit to see how it’s working out.

Melodie Edwards

With goats flocking all around him for ear scratches, you could say Terry Hayes is a happy rancher. He’s the owner of the largest goat ranch in Wyoming, Open A Lazy S outside Riverton, and he says in the last few years his business has tripled. He says it’s because more people all the time are embracing the urban homesteader’s lifestyle. They’re raising backyard chickens, canning sauerkraut and knitting scarves. The number of backyard goats has also been on the uptick.

Rebecca Huntington

Chef Eric Bartle and girlfriend, Sara Kundelius, moved in the dead of winter from Portland, Oregon, to Turpin Meadow Ranch. The guest ranch is nestled at the end of the Buffalo Valley Road, on the edge of the Teton Wilderness, one of the most remote places in the Lower 48 states.

The couple loves to forage for locally grown foods and brought with them a supply of homemade jarred and canned delicacies to incorporate into the ranch’s menu. They share stories about that first trip to the ranch and their passion for home and forest-grown food.

The 4th annual Local Fest is moving from Pinedale to Lander this year. The festival is a celebration of Wyoming foods. It starts today with a free film festival at the Lander Public Library and runs through this weekend. 

Steve Doyle is a Riverton farmer who helped organize the event. He says this year’s event will be longer and more intensive than in the past. He says there are lots of success stories around the state.

Flickr Creative Commons

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously upheld the Country of Origin Labeling Law.

The law requires that packaged meat and poultry must have a label that clearly states the product’s country of origin. And it must detail how the animal was raised and slaughtered. The law also requires that muscle cuts of meat from animals slaughtered in different countries can’t be mixed in packaging.

Pop-up restaurants and art galleries have been appearing in cities around the country and now the idea is starting to take off in Wyoming.

Laramie chef Lucas Barbulas has two pop-up restaurant events planned in the next couple weeks.  He says the idea of opening a restaurant or art gallery for a single night or a few days is a concept that’s been around for decades.

In collaboration with the University of Wyoming, a local food advocacy group conducted a study to find out just how many vegetables a backyard garden in Wyoming can produce.  The project is called Team G.R.O.W., or Gardening Research of Wyoming. 

A new project on the Wind River Indian Reservation seeks to reduce diabetes rates by helping tribal families grow their own vegetables. More than 11% of the people on the reservation have diabetes.

The project is a collaboration between community health groups on the reservation, and the University of Wyoming.

Virginia Sutter with Blue Mountain Associates is one of the leaders of the project. She says diabetes rates are high because tribal members have very different diets than they have historically.

Food Freedom Act passes

Jan 24, 2013
Irina Zhorov

The Wyoming House of Representatives has passed a bill that would de-regulate the sale of homemade foods at farmers markets and between producers and consumers.  Republican Sue Wallis of Recluse says it would allow the sale of meat and unpasteurized, raw milk.  Lawmakers considered removing meat from the bill, but the amendment was defeated.  Wallis says if consumers buy locally, that money will get spread throughout communities.    

New Food Safety Rules continue to be debated

Jul 10, 2012

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture’s Consumer Health Services Section is proposing new amendments to the Wyoming Food Safety Rule.

The changes outline rules for egg producers wanting to sell their eggs to restaurants, make more stringent the rules for processed cut leafy greens such as packaged salads, and limit consumption of raw milk to sole owners of the producing cows, their families, and unpaying guests.

Dean Finkenbinder is the manager of Consumer Health Services and he says the goal is get Wyoming in line with federal food safety guidelines.

Sheridan College students have an exciting opportunity to study sustainable food systems.  This program and several new courses were developed by Connie Fisk, a new faculty member at Sheridan College.  The Sheridan College Ag Department programs fall into three categories: transfer programs that will prepare students to successfully pursue bachelor’s degrees, two-year applied degrees that prepare them for careers in agriculture, and certificates that can enhance any of the college’s degree programs or be used to provide a job-advantage in the agriculture and science fields.  Visit

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