Connecting, Strengthening and Scaling Food Supply Chains in the Northwest and Rocky Mountain Region

Melissa Hemken

Central Wyoming College

Plants, animals, and people intersect within agriculture. How we eat determines how we utilize landscapes, gather community, and employ ourselves. Melissa Hemken, Central Wyoming College’s Community Food System Specialist, leads the College’s Local Food Economy Resiliency project, which develops markets for farmers and ranchers while simultaneously increasing access to local food produce and products within our communities. Her broad knowledge of food and agriculture roots in her family’s Iowa crop and livestock farm, swings up into the small-scale farms of New England, travels to ranches across the nation for magazine assignments, and lands on her Melissahof farm enterprise near Lander where she focuses on a hatchery, pastured poultry and gourmet garlic. Hemken holds a BS in Journalism, Environmental Studies and Rural Sociology from Iowa State University, a graduate certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from Tufts University, and works toward a MS in Sustainable Food Systems at Prescott College. Hemken is the Wyoming co-lead for the USDA Northwest and Rocky Mountain Regional Food Business Center, and Principal Investigator for a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant.
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