LUSK – The 8th Annual Local Foods Expo attracted vendors and attendees from all across Eastern Wyoming. Held at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds, this expo has expanded every year and continues to attract those who are interested in gardening, horticulture, food preservation, food preparation, bee keeping and many other topics. This year featured 22 vendors and boasted 90 attendees. It showcased many businesses and entities from around Southeast Wyoming including the Niobrara 4-H bee program, Lusk Community Garden, Rawhide FFA, Boxelder Maple Syrup Production, and many others. Two kids cooking workshops were held and extension educator Julie Balzan from Platte County showed kids in attendance how to prepare quick and delicious chicken stir-fry. 11 kids attended the two different workshop sessions. Brian Sebade from Albany County presented several workshops on gardening and growing in Wyoming and Blake Hauptman, Crook County, Becky Harris, Horticulture expert from Converse County and Brian Lee from the Experiment Station in Lingle were all on hand to lend their expertise to the event. Americorp Special Poject Coordinator Tim McAteer was also there. McAteer has been working on coordinating local foods efforts around the State of Wyoming as part of his contract through the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture.
Attendees were able to pick up various free resources from the Extension program and other vendors. They ranged from high-altitude canning and cooking to drought resistant plants for your landscape garden. University Branded Meats had a variety of samples to offer expo-goers and soil test kits were available to pick up for free. Niobrara County Cattlewomen representatives Jessica Adams, Jamie McElhaney and Sarah Wick provided samples of three different beef recipes and the recipes to go with them.
Denise Smith, Niobrara County Extension Educator and Nutrition and Food Safety was pleased with the attendance as were vendors. They are looking forward to next year’s expo and hope to continue to grow the Niobrara County local foods movement. For questions or to inquire about materials contact the Niobrara County Extension Office at 307-334-3534.