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    Riverton Local Food Hub aims to help Fremont County food producers and consumers

    The demand for locally produced food is growing across the country. Fremont County is no different.

    Food that is fresh and locally produced not only supports local producers but in many cases is much healthier than food that gets transported hundreds of miles.

    For the last decade, the Fremont Local Foods Group has to connected local food producers with local consumers. Their latest mission is a huge task that will only be accomplished with local support.

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    The Fremont Local Food Hub has been in the works for several months according to organizer Jack Schmidt.

    Schmidt and his team began to brainstorm a brick-and-mortar building located in Riverton that contained a certified kitchen for local food producers to help perfect their products in an environment with proper certifications and licenses. The idea was for community members who were able and willing to help back the project with a financial contribution. Folks who wanted to help the local food community grow could use the kitchen and space as necessary, expand their products, help grow the local economy by selling them, and eventually give back themselves to the project and the community with the food they produce.

    With backing from several community members and City of Riverton officials, it didn’t the group long to find the perfect spot, the former Airport Cafe, inside of the Riverton Regional Airport. A building and kitchen that has been vacant for over four years.

    After a proposal to City of Riverton staff last week, the project is moving forward rapidly, and the group has been given the “go-ahead” to use the airport space.

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    “This is about the community working together to help each other out,” Schmidt told County 10. “We’re not trying to compete with local restaurants, we want to help them grow and get local food onto their menus.”

    The ideas and possibilities are seemingly limitless with the project, as confirmed with the notebook Jack carried with ideas and proposals written from cover to cover.

    Some of the top priorities initially for the food hub will include:

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    • A certified and shared kitchen
    • A website to disseminate information about local food (a food directory)
    • Helping producers navigate regulations and licensing rules to allow their food into local schools, restaurants, and stores
    • Egg grading and certification
    • Inspected poultry processing plant
    • Food processing and preservation classes
    • Home economic and cooking classes
    • Encouraging more greenhouse production over the winter
    • Working with other food hubs and restaurants in the community
    • Opportunities for 4H and FFA students to use the kitchen for projects
    • Create a food store on location – An opportunity for locals to purchase products and for airport passengers to find Wyoming-made products
    • Help expand the local farmer’s markets
    • Create meal opportunities for supporters
    • Help eliminate community food waste

    Food waste is also a major concern for the group. They’re exploring ways to repackage food that would have been wasted from local restaurants and schools into meals for those in need. The group says they’ll cooperate with every consumer health and food safety standard, but that there is a tremendous amount of food waste happening daily in our own backyard.

    Schmidt asked, “Now the question becomes, how do we pay our rent in order to give this service to folks trying to make a difference?” An opportunity for locals to support the effort with a monetary donation was established.

    “We’re not asking for folks to send us hundreds, we settled on a $50 donation so it was just shy of one dollar per week,” Schmidt said. “If we can get 5 to 10 percent of Riverton’s residents to help us with a yearly $50 donation, we could make this thing happen.”

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    “Local food in Fremont County emobdies the attitude of the entire state. Let’s do it ourselves, let’s take care of our own. That’s the Wyoming attitude. – Jack Schmidt 

    The Riverton Local Food Hub website is now up and running if you’d like to read more about the program and make a donation.

     

    Learn More About The Food Hub Here

    Make a donation to The Hub Here

    Follow The Hub’s Facebook Page Here

     

     

     

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