Food Bank of Wyoming and two University of Wyoming Extension programs worked together to get locally grown potatoes onto the tables of Wyoming families.

Through efforts by the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) and the Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP), over 10,000 pounds of potatoes were harvested and bagged in September, right outside Lingle, and donated to Food Bank of Wyoming.

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Last year, 7,000 pounds of potatoes were collected and sent to tables around Wyoming to help feed families experiencing hunger. The goal this year was to harvest 10,000 pounds of potatoes. The goal was exceeded, and the Food Bank received 10,920 pounds of potatoes to benefit Wyoming neighbors in need.

“We are so thankful for all the volunteers who came out to help bag potatoes and are thrilled to have surpassed our goal,” said Kali McCrackin Goodenough, CNP manager.

Why potatoes? Food Bank of Wyoming said that potatoes are a great produce for a project like this because their shelf life is longer than many other fresh produce items. And fresh, local produce is always favorable when feeding communities as they provide higher nutritional value than processed foods.

Not to mention, the humble potato has been solving hunger problems for thousands of years. Check out the Smithsonian's "How the Potato Changed the World."

“The potato harvest is a natural partnership between CNP and UW Extension agricultural experiment stations like SAREC. This is an incredible opportunity to connect locally grown food from SAREC to the families we serve in Wyoming,” said Mindy Meuli, CNP director.

The potatoes are currently in Food Bank of Wyoming trucks, bound for distribution to partners and plates across Wyoming to feed and nourish local communities. The distribution of fresh, local produce helps Food Bank of Wyoming further their mission to nourish people in Wyoming who face hunger. The local partnerships of the potato harvest make this a special project all the while reducing the burden of hunger in Wyoming.

Food Bank of Wyoming’s involvement in the potato harvest goes hand in hand with September’s Hunger Action Month.

"We are thankful to the University of Wyoming Extension programs, SAREC and Cent$ible Nutrition for the donation of locally grown potatoes to benefit our Wyoming neighbors in need. With higher inflation and fuel prices, many families are seeking food assistance for the first time, so these potatoes will be a welcome addition to our distributions to Hunger Relief Partners this Fall." Rachel Bailey, Executive Director of Food Bank of Wyoming.

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