SHERIDAN — Rooted in Wyoming will host its third annual Hoe Down and Farm to Table fundraiser Saturday in the hopes of expanding the nonprofit’s community garden efforts into additional local schools.
The event has sold out for the third year in a row.
“Rooted in Wyoming partners with community organizations and schools to facilitate outreach programs and cultivate educational gardens,” Executive Director Bonnie Gregory wrote in a letter to sponsors. “We envision a future where everyone in our state has access to fresh local foods and is also motivated to grow their own.”
What’s on the wish list?
“We’re working with a few schools to get some grow towers going, some indoor year round grow towers,” Gregory said. “We definitely wanna get a season extender or greenhouse out at Big Horn… so they can really start producing year round and be able to supplement their school lunch cafeteria.”
Gregory listed SCSD 3, Henry A. Coffeen Elementary and Meadowlark as interested potential partners.
“We were excited to maybe help Meadowlark with a geodesic greenhouse and get some things going this summer, which didn’t quite pan out on their end,” Gregory said. “On our end we’re ready, willing and able to dig the holes and help provide grants and do whatever we can to get gardens into all the schools, but there’s always a lot of politics that goes into those kinds of things.”
The organization has expanded since its founding in January 2016 to include seven gardens across Sheridan, including the newest Garden of Grace near Sheridan High School, a collaboration with Grace Anglican Church.
“This has been just kind of our programming year where we’re really concentrating on getting our nonprofit status filed and approved because we’ve been under the Wyoming Community Foundation umbrella for the past three years,” Gregory said. “Also the fact that we were finally able to hire staff this year was a big milestone for us.”
The event has evolved over the years from a plated five-course wine-paired dinner to a “hula hoop and donuts” concert to the current hoe-down with locally-sourced food, musical performances, and multiple contests and events, according to Gregory.
“We cover our costs on a lot of this food. That’s not where we’re making our money. We make our money in sponsorships and then in silent and live auctions,” Gregory said.
What’s on the menu?
Food for the event will be prepared by chefs Antonia Armenta-Miller and Brian Miller of Bonafide Foods.
“The food truck will be there but the majority of production will take place at our new facility,” Armenta-Miller said.
The farm to table menu will include chicken, beef, sweet corn, wines donated by Lubanzi Wines “and a literal garden plethora of vegetables,” according to Armenta-Miller.
It’s a phenomenal meal,” Armenta-Miller said. “It’s the best meal in town I think, and for the adults it’s got a free drink ticket.”
What’s on the schedule?
The event will feature musical performances by The String Trees Instrument, Shot in the Foot and Wes Urbaniak & The Mountain Folk.
Activities for the family include face painting, lawn games, an American gothic photo booth, crafts and a scavenger hunt.
Additional events include a farm-to-oven baking contest, live and silent auctions and a new ‘Quick Draw’ event where local artists Sonja Caywood, Polly Burge and Maggie McStay will have three hours to draw in the open air before the works go up for auction.
The event will take place Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Lazy JA Ranch, 501 US Highway 14 E.