WHEATLAND, Wyo. – Two hoop houses built in Wheatland through a statewide effort will extend the local growing season and provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the Platte County Food Bank this fall and to food bags for youths at risk of hunger.
The hoop houses were built at Kids Kastle Daycare and First Christian Church Community Garden, said Mary Evans, Cent$ible Nutrition Program assistant in Platte County. CNP is housed within the University of Wyoming Extension.
“This is a fabulous opportunity to teach children where food comes from,” said Evans. “Students will have the chance to grow, harvest and try vegetables they may not otherwise see in their daily lives.”
She coordinated the project with Julie Balzan, extension nutrition and food safety educator in the county, as part of CNP’s statewide hoop house building effort to increase access to local food for families and individuals with limited resources.
The two structures were built in July through UW Extension and the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center. Hoop houses this size usually take two days to build but each was done in 11 hours, said Evans.
Those building the houses were extension specialist Jeff Edwards, who leads extension hoop house building projects, Challenge Academy Cadets Bravo Class 37, Ted Craig from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture specialty crops program, Leroy Jons, horticulturalist with Platte County Extension, and Balzan and Evans.
Evans, Balzan and Jons along with Master Gardeners in Platte County will plant in the hoop houses.
CNP is a USDA program funded by the Supplemental Nutrition Education Program and aims to make healthy food choices available for everyone in Wyoming communities.
CNP provides nutrition education to those who income-qualify and partners with organizations and agencies across the state to make changes for healthier communities, said Evans.