Successful Launching of Wyoming Reservation Farmers Market
Because of high obesity and diabetes rates and a lack of locally-grown foods on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Washakie, Wyoming, Justine Russell launched her PDP-funded project with the goal of increasing awareness of the potential for a farmers market on the Reservation. In less than two years, she and her partners accomplished so much more than increasing awareness. The farmers market has been established and funds found to support it for the next five years.
Since the project Wind River Indian Reservation Farmers Market Preparations began in 2010, a Wind River Reservation Farmers Market was held weekly during the summers at three locations. Each market day had an average of eight to ten vendors. Wide varieties of products were sold, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, baked goods and Native American crafts. In addition to vendor booths, the Extension office also set up a table where free samples and recipes of snacks made from the market’s produce were handed out to encourage community members to think of creative ways to use the products that they were buying, such as making salsa, coleslaw and grilled zucchini slices. Community participation grew over time, and both vendors and customers returned weekly. The market increased awareness on the importance of eating local produce to promote a healthy lifestyle and more vibrant economy.
The objective of increasing farmer profitability has begun to be realized. Three area farmers, two craft vendors and two baked goods vendors have reported successfully supplementing their incomes with farmers market sales.
In an effort to increase awareness of the market and to encourage greater community participation, two workshops related to gardening, horticulture, food preservation, farmers market sales and healthy eating were offered to the public through the Extension office in collaboration with the University of Wyoming Cent$ible Nutrition Program and the UW Nutrition & Food Safety Initiative Team. Both workshops reached a total of 27 people.
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