Through joint efforts of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) and the University of Wyoming Extension’s Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP), Food Bank of Wyoming was once again the recipient of over 12,500 pounds of potatoes harvested through the annual Potato Harvest.

Quickly becoming a fall tradition, the Potato Harvest began in 2021 through SAREC, a UW Agriculture Experiment Station located in Lingle, Wyoming. The potatoes are part of SAREC’s outreach efforts to connect the area’s youth to agriculture. After the field education programming is complete, the potatoes are harvested for donation.

Approximately 40 volunteers from nearby communities and organizations came to lend a hand at this year’s potato dig on Saturday, October 7th. Volunteers with SAREC, the Wyoming Women’s Center, the Cent$ible Nutrition Program, UW’s Family Consumer Sciences Department, Chemistry Department graduate students, Community Programs in Agriculture students from UW, Platte County 4-H, and the Food Bank of Wyoming all came to Lingle to help dig potatoes. This year’s harvest consisted of two fields producing red and golden potatoes

Despite challenging growing conditions, approximately 13,565 pounds of potatoes were harvested, of which 12,560 pounds went directly to the Food Bank of Wyoming to be distributed across the state, 500 pounds went to Wheatland, and 505 pounds went to Laramie for direct distribution to local anti-hunger agencies. This incredible partnership and event provides local produce that contributes to nutritious meals for Wyomingites facing food insecurity.

“It was fun to have two different kinds of potatoes to harvest and to have such a diversity of volunteers there in the field with us. Personally, there is something incredibly powerful about witnessing the pieces of a partnership successfully come together and see the outcomes in the hundreds of bags of potatoes,” says Kali McCrackin Goodenough, CNP Marketing Specialist and Program Manager.

The food bank says they are especially thankful to receive local, nutritious produce to distribute to Hunger Relief Partners and Mobile Pantries across Wyoming. Potatoes are a great food item for this project as they generally have a longer shelf life than other fresh produce, which allows Food Bank of Wyoming to offer fresh, locally grown produce without the increased risk of spoilage.

“The potato harvest offers an opportunity for diverse individuals and programs to come together to help address hunger in Wyoming and increase access to fresh produce. CNP is incredibly thankful to everyone at SAREC for the countless hours growing and preparing the potatoes for harvest and to the Food Bank of Wyoming for distributing potatoes across the state,” says Goodenough.

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Central Wyoming Rodeo Mutton Bustin'-Saturday

Central Wyoming Rodeo Mutton Bustin'-Saturday

Gallery Credit: Libby Ngo