Casper College will open a student-run kitchen this fall in order to provide meals to local residents who are food insecure. That means, they don’t always know where their next meal will come from. The college’s nutrition students plan to make healthy meals from food that would otherwise have gone to waste.
Instructor Dr. Kelsey Phillips is leading the project with the help of the Wyoming Food For Thought Project. Phillips says students in her environmental science class last fall were startled to find out only 40% of food produced in the United States gets eaten, and the methane gas from food sitting in a landfill produces a potent greenhouse gas. They worked on a national competition and won one of three $5,000 grants to launch the kitchen.
Phillips says, as of 2013, nearly 13% of Natrona County residents lacked reliable access to food, and she expects that number has since increased.
“A lot of folks who have lost their positions in the oil field are struggling, and we’ve got a lot of unmet needs in the community.”
But before the kitchen can open its doors, it will need to track down the proper equipment.
“One of the biggest challenges that we’re running into now is refrigerator space, because what we’re working with is perishable food. And that’s a good thing to be working with, because those are going to be your more nutrient-dense foods.”
Phillips says they are planning to begin serving meals by the end of November.