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Going back to local food

The “new” concept of choosing foods from as local a source as possible is old hat to many. Less than 70 years ago, most of the food consumed in Sheridan County came from a local source. In the 1940s, Sheridan had over 1300 vegetable gardens. Sheridan County had 29 licensed dairies, a flour mill, potato farms, egg producers such as Clear Creek Eggs, turkey and swine farms, and many sources of local beef and venison.

Why is there now a trend to go back to this way of eating? There are many good reasons that can be summed up by saying that eating locally produced foods improves your chances of eating healthfully and meaningfully. Eating healthfully and meaningfully provides overall improved satisfaction and nourishment.

Eating healthfully means finding foods with the most nutrition value possible. Choosing local foods is a great way to do this. By growing your own food, or buying foods from local sources, you improve your chances of freshness and are in more control over what your food has been exposed to- whether that be herbicides, pesticides, or many hands in transportation processes. On average, food in the grocery store has already travelled more than 2,000 miles — almost the distance from Sheridan to Mexico City.

Knowing your farmer gives your food more meaning. It connects you to your neighbors and improves community self-sufficiency. It also employs a spiritual connection to nourishment — i.e. eating raspberries from your garden feeds the soul, while eating a TV microwave dinner does not. Recognizing the importance of these connections leads to more satisfying, healthier eating habits.

Did you know that 80 percent of the money spent on groceries goes to someone else other than the actual farmer? By choosing local foods, you make a more meaningful choice with your money. More of your money will go to the actual food producer and more of your money stays here, supporting and connecting us as a community.

Local resources

If you are interested in eating local, Downtown Sheridan Association’s Project Manager Bonnie Gregory says, “Being aware that it’s (local food) available and making the commitment to support local producers first” is an important first step. A great place to achieve this first step is at the Sheridan Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Market is located at Grinnell Plaza every Thursday from 5-7 p.m. until Sept. 5. For more information about the Farmer’s Market check out the website Sheridanfarmersmarket.org

Other resources available to learn more about sustainable food practices in Sheridan County include:

DSA’s guide to Sustainable Sheridan located at the DSA office -121 South Main Street.

Wyoming Local Foods- The Guide available at the University of Wyoming Extension Office- contact Kentz Willis at kwillis3@uwyo.edu

Wyoming Local foods website http://www.wyomingextension.org/eatwyoming/

Visit the Wyoming Farmer’s market website at www.wyomingfarmersmarkets.org/

Contact Connie Fisk- cfisk@sheridan.edu. Fisk is the Instructor of Sustainable Food Systems at Sheridan College.

Sheridan County Local Food History Presentation

Are you interested in Sheridan County’s history of growing local foods and what we can learn from our seniors? Do you have a story to share about your experience growing and harvesting your own food?

If you do, please come join us Sept. 11, 3 p.m., in the Senior Center Conference Room for a wonderful presentation on The History of Local Food Growers in Sheridan County compiled by Judy Slack and Tom Varcalli. The presentation and discussion will include guests Vic Garber, Jose Schriebies, and Helen Mitchell. This presentation is open to the public and will include discussion on the benefits of sustainable food practices for the future of Sheridan County.


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