Grassroots food initiatives in Wyoming are sprouting across the state. First Lady Jennie Gordon is now helping youth also participate in feeding their fellow Wyomingites. 

Gordon launched the Fair to Fork program last year in partnership with Wyoming 4-H and FFA as part of the Wyoming Hunger Initiative. The goal of the program is to have youth participate in the entirety of the ranch-to-table process.

We started last year. We pay for their pigs, pay for the processing, and let the child choose the organization to donate the meat. They’re already great kids; it’s wonderful to see them participate in the entire process and see how they are feeding people in our state,” she said today via phone call. 

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The program purchases pigs as secondary pigs for participants (not a participant’s first animal used for showing) to raise and ultimately donate to a local food organization of their choice.

This is the program’s second year. Twenty-one Wyoming youth participated, which means 21 pigs to feed neighbors and help put local, quality protein on more tables. 

Image Credit: Wyoming Hunger Initiative
Image Credit: Wyoming Hunger Initiative

Two Albany County 4-H members participated this year: Sienna Roaque and Adelle Torbert, who were recognized at the Wyoming State Fair by Governor Mark Gordon along with the other youth who raised pigs to feed their communities. 

In its first year, 14 youth from 14 Wyoming counties participated, which according to the initiative’s November press release, equated to “2,255 pounds of pork distributed into local communities—18 anti-hunger agencies in all received pork from the program, all while supporting youth development and participation in sustainable agricultural solutions to hunger.”

Gordon is impressed with the increasing participation, but more impressed with youth wanting to help their neighbors. Last year, Laramie participant Braden Crawford chose the Laramie Soup Kitchen to donate his pig to. Gordon, who was at the Soup Kitchen for the donation, said “The results firsthand when they see how they’ve impacted their communities–it’s wonderful. It’s really neat to see the kids make that connection to where the food is going.”

More students want to participate, too, she said. “We were so surprised how many kids showed up to State Fair and wanted to be recognized for the pig show.”

One of Albany County’s pigs is processed, and the other is scheduled. When finished, Roaque and Torbert will choose which Laramie organization (s) to donate to.  

Also impressive to Gordon is the Laramie community. Many participants last year were surprised to know the different resources in their areas. “Albany County is a tight-knit community that works together. The organizations work so closely together to take care of each other.”

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