The initial objective was to provide support for school and community gardens by taking the administrative work out of the process by providing funding (grant work & fundraising), volunteer recruitment, tools and resources, planning and organization, and curriculum support. Support to begin this endeavor was astounding! Over 100 parents, teachers, administration & community volunteers expressed their intent to help build and maintain planned gardens in the first year.
When Rooted in Wyoming began in the early part of 2016, it was the intention of the group to prove their commitment through action. In less than a year, the organization’s efforts showed over 2,000 volunteer hours with and an established Board of Directors. The community partnerships formed in these early stages continue to support the longevity of this group.
2020 highlighted the nation-wide need for teaching and facilitating food security though self-sufficiency. The pandemic impacted our national food system in an unparalleled way that affected farmers and ranchers, packaging and transportation, and trickled down all the way to our grocery stores and kitchen pantries. Many Wyoming families were left struggling with layoffs and trying to make ends meet. This social and economic dilemma, while difficult and complicated, only brought increased relevancy to Rooted in Wyoming, a program committed to making Wyomingites more resilient to life’s hardships through educating a new generation about growing their own food.
Annual fundraising efforts are designed in a unique way, with focus on celebrating local food and culture. The single annual event campaign concentrates on featuring local farmers, artists, and community businesses who are the heart of our local food system. The intentional celebration is a tangible way to highlight the hope and success of local agriculture as we strive toward building more thriving, empowered families.
Rooted in Wyoming’s passion and purpose has rallied the community behind the need for these important life skills. To date, well over 2,000 children and their families have been touched by this effort through a teacher, volunteer or parent.
The Board of Directors underwent a strategic planning session in August of 2020 to conceptualize goals for the organization in the coming 3-5 years. At the close of the 2020 growing season, RiW partners with nine schools/community organizations in Sheridan County, with outreach efforts in every K-5 school in the county.
“It is our hope that every community member will be involved in this effort through learning, volunteering, mentoring, eating, and reaping the benefits of fresh, local food. Gardens are a great environment for students and reinforce math, science, nutrition awareness and many other topics taught in the classroom. They provide students with a sense of ownership of their school and the greater community. Gardens have been shown to help students become better environmental stewards and develop important skills such as patience, cooperation, teamwork, pride, and volunteerism. We also know that children who are exposed to agriculture early on, are more likely to pursue some type of associated career.” ~Bonnie Gregory, Founder