CWC receives grant to train agropreneurs

(Lander, WY) – Central Wyoming College received a $653,994 grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to fund its Grow Your Own: Food, Jobs, and Community initiative. The college’s Alpine Science Institute Farm will use this funding throughout the next three years to train agropreneurs as they start and operate small- to mid-scale farm businesses.

The FMPP grant funded the new local food and agriculture instructor position, which was filled by Ethan Page. Page will lead CWC’s Beginning Farmer Training and Small-scale Sustainable Farming certificate programs. 

He will also develop a new Associate of Applied Science degree in Small-scale Sustainable Farming, which he said will launch in Fall 2022.

CWC is expanding the beginning farmer program and is accepting up to 20 participants. And we are excited to offer full scholarships. -Ethan Page

More information about this program can be found at cwc.edu/farmincubator.  

The grant also supports a community food system specialist position, which was filled by Melissa Hemken, who will expand the www.eatwyoming.com virtual farmers’ market. 

Hemken said her efforts will have a significant local impact.

“This expansion will strengthen the aggregation and distribution network for local food producers by moving their products to farmer’s markets, restaurants, grocery stores, and workplaces providing more convenience for local food customers,” she said. “This will increase local food retail markets and lead the college’s food economy resiliency project.”

Hemken said the grant will support two local food organizations through sub-awards. 

“CWC is excited to assist Fremont Local Foods in opening a storefront for local food products in Riverton,” she said, “and the Wind River Food Sovereignty Project will utilize the sub-award funding to manage and expand the farmers markets on the Wind River Indian Reservation.” 

Using FMPP grant support, both Hemken and CWC Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator Caitlyn Powell are presenting at the Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days. Powell will lead a small-to mid-scale farming workshop and Hemken will talk about opportunities to expand local food sales with EatWyoming.com.

The schedule is as follows: 

February 9, 2022 @ 11 am, Fremont County Fairgrounds

Small-scale Specialty Crop Practices and Farm Tools

The demand for locally-grown, specialty crops continues to increase across Wyoming.  We will discuss small-scale specialty crop growing practices for our regional growing climate and demonstrate tools that can be used in that type of operation.

February 10, 2022 @ 11 am, Fremont County Fairgrounds

Online Retail, Aggregation and Distribution Opportunities for Local Food

To sell local food products and produce through direct sales can eat up your time with the hours spent marketing and delivering. It makes you wonder, where’s the profit? The virtual farmers’ market, www.eatwyoming.com, provides customers with convenient online ordering, runs multi-channel marketing campaigns, and delivers state-wide to customers. 

This saves you time and money, lets you concentrate on farming and ranching, and increases your profit. Join us to learn about wholesale and retail pricing metrics, how the Eat Wyoming network operates and how you can join, and how to include your products in the Eat Fremont subscription boxes.

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