SHERIDAN, Wyo. — Earlier this week the Farm Wall returned to Smith Alley in downtown Sheridan. Wyoming Farms Walls is a USDA Specialty Crop grant funded project through the Wyoming Business Council and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. There are eleven similar projects across Wyoming.
Sheridan’s Farm Wall project, which includes five walls, is a partnership with Smith Alley Brewing Company and Rooted in Wyoming who received the grant and Bio-Logic Designs who provided the installation. Community sponsorships for the 2021 growing season include First Federal Bank & Trust, First Northern Bank, Chris & Maddie Pope, Wyoming Roofing, and Barney & Graham, LLC Attorneys at Law. The goal of the Farm Wall is to help people see different ways to grow their own food, spark conversation, and engage the community.
Farm walls are small, vertical, hydroponic growing systems that do not require soil. Their small footprint allows produce to be grown and harvested virtually anywhere, offering exciting options for bringing fresh produce to more people.
After spending the winter months at the Henry A. Coffee Elementary, Sagebrush Elementary, inside Smith Alley Brewery, and at the Sheridan YMCA, the Farm Wall inspired new ideas for future Farm Walls! According to YMCA Aquatics Director Beth Schneider, the YMCA is already working on plans to build their own permanent farm wall in the YMCA pool area.
“There was never a day we didn’t have a person visit the Farm Wall,” Schneider said, “to see the fish, some of which YMCA members actually brought from home, or to watch the plants grow. There were always members visiting or commenting on the Farm Wall. We miss seeing it there already!”
Community sponsors and partners are vital to keeping the Farm Wall operational and maintained. Sponsor commitment for the Farm Wall goes even beyond funding as many sponsors and their employees also volunteer their time to help maintain the wall throughout the summer.
Dina Garcia of First Federal Bank and Trust in Sheridan said that she and her husband volunteered last summer and enjoyed being able to help maintain the wall. She said, “We enjoy the concept of having something organic and tangible downtown and feel like the wall is a great addition to the community.”
Produce from the Farm Wall will be harvested by volunteers and donated to local food groups in Sheridan, including the HUB and the Food Group.
According to one of Smith Alley Brewery co-owners, Tiffany McCormick, hosting the Farm Wall was a dream come true after hoping for years to use the Alley for something beneficial and unique. “We are constantly honored to host the Farm Walls, for us it feels like a living walkway into Sheridan’s beautiful, historic downtown,” she said. “The Farm Wall has created almost a mini-ecosystem of birds, owls, butterflies, and even bats that visit the Farm Wall and the biome it has created. It is an oasis for wildlife and anyone visiting downtown.”
Rooted in Wyoming envisions a future where everyone in our state has access to fresh local foods and is motivated to grow their own food.
For more details about Rooted in Wyoming, the Farm Wall, and volunteer opportunities, visit www.rootedinwyoming.org.