Former VFW building to become center for fresh, locally produced food

Customers sample fresh food offered at the Wyoming Food for Thought Project’s Winter Market on Saturday, Jan. 19, in Casper. The market takes place in the new Good Food Hub, which is in a former VFW building. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Vendors and customers alike braved the brutal Casper winds to attend the first Winter Market of the season on Saturday.

The market, organized by the Wyoming Food for Thought Project, marked a new beginning of sorts for the project.

It was the first official usage of Food for Thought’s newest building, a former VFW branch at 420 W. First St. which will soon be transformed into the Good Food Hub Mission.

Article continues below...

“We ended up purchasing this building with a gift from the VFW of $400,000 and two anonymous donors of $200,000 each,” said Food for Thought executive director Jamie Purcell.  “We were able to get in here and pay cash.”

The main draw for the building was the modern commercial kitchen, according to Purcell, which will be split into two sections and eventually be available for vendors and entrepreneurs to use for commercial food preparation and storage.

“Everything that we’re doing is for upward mobility for our community related to food,” said Purcell.

The plan is to convert the 11,000-square-foot building into a marketplace, complete with a small grocery store, kitchen and a two-story greenhouse.

A rendering shows the spot of a two-story greenhouse planned for the Good Food Hub in Casper. The former VFW building was purchased by Wyoming Food for Thought to be converted into the hub, which will feature fresh produce, a grocery store and commercial kitchen. (Courtesy)

“We want everything to happen in this building,” said Purcell. “We want to take it from seed to jar, and for this to be a gathering place for our community to come and access good and healthy, locally produced food.”

The Winter Market will take place in the building’s existing front section, where carpet and fixtures have already been pulled out. As time goes on, sections of the building’s new mission will take shape over the next year.

The Winter Market runs each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information can be found at the Food for Thought markets Facebook page.