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‘Grow a Little Extra’ program asks home gardeners to help Wyoming’s food insecure

Wyoming Food for Thought Project community garden (Courtesy via Facebook)

CASPER, Wyo. — A project initiated by First Lady Jennie Gordon is rallying home gardeners to help with Wyomingites suffering from food insecurity.

According to a release, Gordon’s Wyoming Hunger Initiative is partnering with the Cen$ible Nutrition Program (CNP) and the University of Wyoming Extension in Casper for the “Grow a Little Extra” project to encourage local growers to help create sustainable solutions to hunger using locally grown food.

Gardeners are encouraged to grow extra produce and share it with local food pantries and community organizations that work to ease hunger.

Free seeds are available to local gardeners at the Natrona County Extension office at 2011 Fairgrounds Road, according to the release. Growers can also bring their produce to the extension office, where it will be weighed and distributed to Joshua’s Storehouse, the Salvation Army, and Meals on Wheels, among other organizations.

This is the second year of the program, which last year collected more than 10,000 pounds of fresh locally grown produce for anti-hunger organizations across the state, said the release.

According to the Food Bank of Wyoming, since the pandemic, food insecurity has risen as food donations have decreased.

“We’re seeing about a 30 to 34% increase over pre-pandemic levels of people who are finding themselves food insecure,” development manager Jill Stillwagon told Oil City News. “One in six children are food insecure here in Wyoming.” 

“University of Wyoming Extension is already doing good work around the state with their Master Gardener program and Cent$ible Nutrition Program,” said First Lady Jennie Gordon in the release. “This Wyoming Hunger Initiative effort continues to leverage the work already being done to increase access to local produce for a wide range of people in Wyoming.” 

For more information, growers can contact Shannon Tippit at 307-259-3619 or at stippit@natronacounty-wy.gov, or visit www.nohungerwyo.org.