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

Wyoming

When people think of Wyoming, they conjure scenes of cowboys, cattle and the open range. Most of that “open range” is a semi-arid, high altitude landscape. The people that live here, all 577,737 of us (Wyoming is the least populous and second most sparsely populated state), need affordable, nutritious food: fruits, vegetables and meat. And, some Wyoming folks want to produce that food for their local markets. They report challenges with climate, inability to access arable land, and a lack of business skills. This aligns with the findings of the State of Wyoming’s 20-year strategic initiative, ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming): ag economic growth is challenged by the lack of skilled workforce and value-added ag businesses.
The farmers and ranchers of Wyoming are aided by the State of Wyoming’s 2015 Food Freedom Act that allows direct-to-consumer sales of locally grown and value-added foods without inspection nor licensure. But, the 2017 USDA Ag Census reported that only 5% of Wyoming farms participated in direct-to-consumer sales. According to the 50-State Food System Scorecard, Wyoming ranks lowest among US states in food investments that support regional food systems, and 43rd for farm investments. This is unfortunate. For resilient communities, both for sustenance and economics, we must bolster our local food economy.


Main Objectives:
Capacity Building within local food system support organizations and agencies.
Aggregation and Distribution Infrastructure, e.g. cold storage and co-packing.
Producer Education, e.g. market opportunities & value-added food products.
Land Access for beginning farmers & ranchers.
Local Food Promotion, i.e. state-wide action guide and campaign.

Wyoming Funding Opportunities

This program is offered by Portland Community College and is designed for businesses who have a value-added food product they have developed and sold at a local level and are interested in expanding into a commercial-ready product.  This program runs in the spring and the fall and is co-facilitated by Jill Beaman of the Connecting and Scaling Entrepreneurs Theme Team.   This Theme Team provides scholarships to cover the course tuition ($1,995) for three businesses from each state in the region during each semester the course is offered.   

Fall 2023 Wyoming GYRM Student:  

Alma Law: Law of the Homestead: Sourdough Bread 

Small Food Business: Feed More with Alma Law 

Spring 2024 Wyoming GYRM Students: 

Dirk and Sue Gosnell: Lakeview Gardens 

Susan Frost: Queens of Goodness 

Leah Burback: Heirloom and Native 

Fancy Food Shows are specialty trade-only events, not open to the general public.  These events help food entrepreneurs launch their businesses to the next level in commercial sales and exposure.  The RFBC Connecting and Scaling Food Entrepreneurs Theme Team sponsors booth fees for two small businesses from Wyoming to participate in Incubator Village for each Fancy Food Show.  Opportunities to participate in either the Winter Show in Vegas in January or the Summer Show in New York City in June are open to qualifying small food businesses.  The WY RFBC Team offers an additional $2500 honorarium for Wyoming businesses participating in these events. 

Winter 2024 FFS WY Participants 

Daniel Stewart: High Country Fungus 

HCF in the News 

Richard Rhoades: Red Pony Salsa 

RPS in the News 

Upcoming Summer 2024 FFS WY Participants 

Daniel Stewart: High Country Fungus 

Jean Joseph : Mr. Joe’s Hot Sauce 

The WY State Team is funding three businesses to attend the Mountain Meat Summit in Bozeman, MT in May, 2024.  This conference is “geared toward individuals and businesses that engage with meat supply chains in the Mountain West including farmers, ranchers, processors, wholesale buyers, chefs, grocers, educators, and consultants” (MMS website).  State funding covers the cost of registration, accommodation, and reimbursement of travel costs. 

2024 WY Sponsored Businesses 

Morgan Doyle: Red Roof Meat Company 

Casey and Jake Major: RS Land and Livestock 

Joel Tate: Bovine and Swine 

News

Wyoming Leads

Melissa Hemken

Central Wyoming College

Anders Van Sandt

University of Wyoming

Our Team

Jennifer Faulkner

University of WY

Livy Lewis

Wind River Food Sovereignty Project

Advisory Committee

Craig Harry 

Craig Harry is a Program Developer for Akiptan, a Native American Community Development Financial Institution, and is passionate about enriching Tribal Nations and creating healthy local food systems for all peoples. While relatively new to Wyoming, Harry is a fifth-generation Native American Rancher and is building his cattle and haying operation on the Wind River Reservation. Harry serves on the Wyoming Steering Committee for the NW Rocky Mountain Regional Food Business Center. 

Jill Tregemba 

Jill Tregemba is the Wyoming Business Council’s Agribusiness Manager.  Tregemba and her team have extensive knowledge of food business needs across Wyoming and have built strong relationships with food businesses. Tregemba and her team are engaged in existing programs that focus on new market development and access, identifying areas for value added opportunities among businesses, and determining needs for food business growth. 

LeAnn Miller 

LeAnn Miller is the local food broker for Fresh Foods Wyoming L3C that leads the EatWyoming.com local food hub – a collaborative network to aggregate and distribute locally-grown food products to retail customers and wholesale accounts. Fresh Foods Wyoming is a licensed food distributor with the State of Wyoming.  Miller is also treasurer of the Wyoming Food Coalition. 

Jesse Miller 

Dr. Miller is a Family Medicine Physician dedicated to preventing chronic disease through diet and lifestyle changes, and serves as Executive Director of Fresh Foods Wyoming, L3C. Additionally, Dr. Miller is a board member for the Casper Community Greenhouse Project. 

Kelcey Christensen 

Kelcey Christensen owns and operates 307 Meat Company, which is a USDA inspected meat processing and retail business in Southern Wyoming and is an active member of the Wyoming Meat Processors Association. Christensen will serve as a Theme Team Member for the Building Meat Supply Chain Capacity regional theme team. Christensen will represent the state’s needs and activities in this theme team. 

Cody Gifford 

Dr. Cody Gifford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and is a Meat Sciences Extension Specialist at the University of Wyoming. Gifford joined UW in 2019 after earning his Ph.D. in animal science from Colorado State University (CSU). He received a master’s degrees in animal science, and food science and human nutrition from CSU in 2016.  Gifford’s research interests include meat quality; meat flavor and flavor development; livestock management systems; and dietary impacts of muscle foods and dietary patterns.  Dr. Gifford will guide technical assistance activities for stakeholders engaging with the Building Meat Supply Capacity team. Examples may include product development, developing and updating decision and management tools, case studies, apprenticeship programs, market research, market size analysis, increased HACCP/food safety training and other technical assistance activities. 

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