Young 4-H’ers in the organization’s annual deer hunt helped provide food for Wyoming youths who may be facing food insecurity.
Five deer from the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 hunt on the Solitude Ranch in northeast Wyoming were donated to the Wyoming Hunger Initiative’s Food from the Field program. The meat is provided to food pantries, which then offer the game meat to their patrons.
First Lady Jennie Gordon started WHI to prevent food insecurity for Wyoming children.
“This contribution from Wyoming 4-H was significant and meaningful,” said Trista Ostrom, chief of staff for Gordon. “The meat donated from these five deer will provide protein for over 100 people packaged in 2-pound packages for the food bank system here in Wyoming.”
Ostrom said that, while the total amount of game meat donated to date is unknown, the total so far this season exceeds over 2,500 pounds.
The Wyoming 4-H Program partners with the Solitude Ranch to provide youths a place to harvest their first deer. Wyoming 4-H is the youth arm of the University of Wyoming Extension, and its state offices are housed in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Ostrom is a member of the board of directors of the Wyoming 4-H Foundation, which sponsors the hunt. The foundation raises money for youth 4-H activities through fundraisers and donations.
Another program in the college of agriculture is also assisting WHI. The Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP) is partnering with the WHI to provide game meat recipe booklets. The booklet, Cooking Game Meat, includes 15 recipes. CNP educators around the state are planning tastings, as COVID-19 safety procedures allow. The recipe booklet is available at food pantries.
Food from the Field is a collaborative effort between WHI, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies and participating meat processors, as well as Wyoming hunters who donate game meat. Donated meat is processed by partner meat processors in the state.
Those processors are Star Valley Meat Block & Cold Storage LLC in Thayne, and Dan’s Meat Processing in Evansville. Hunters are invited to make a financial contribution to cover the cost of processing if able; WHI covers the remaining cost.
The meat is then shared with the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies, which distributes it to local food pantries. All donated game meat from this program undergoes Chronic Wasting Disease testing to ensure it is safe before donated for public consumption.