Wyoming’s Food, Fun, 4-H Program Encourages Families to Cook Together

Jan 11, 2024 | Regional News

Laramie, WY (RELEASE) January 11th, 2024 — In kitchens across the state, Wyoming’s Fun, Food, 4-H program is inspiring culinary adventures and family meals.

Organized by the University of Wyoming Extension, the program provides families with monthly recipes, educational materials and cooking utensils free of charge.

While Food, Fun, 4-H was designed with 4-H members in mind, the program is open to any families interested in spending time together in the kitchen. The 2023-2024 program runs through May 2024 and new participants are welcome to join at any time. Currently, more than 100 families are enrolled.

The program, which launched in 2022 with funding from the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, is coordinated by UW Extension educators Kellie Chichester of Niobrara County, Joddee Jacobsen of Natrona County, Mary Louise Wood of Park County and Erin Persche of Weston County.

“Cooking is a life skill,” says Jacobsen. “From the get-go, it’s about kids learning to cook. The recipes they like, they can start collecting and when they are on their own, they will have a tried-and-true collection.”

It’s also about making time to cook and eat together. “It encourages people to sit down and enjoy a meal as a family,” Persche explains. “I think we’re making a difference that way as well.”

While the program was modeled on an initiative developed by Oklahoma State University Extension, this year’s recipes were compiled and tested by UW Extension educators.

“All of December are my family’s personal favorite recipes we make during the holidays,” says Persche. “We talk about creating a family heritage cookbook that captures recipes that are your family’s favorites and writing down the memories that go with them. We’re trying to get them thinking about more than just, we’re making cookies.”

While Food, Fun, 4-H encourages budding chefs to try new dishes, the educators do their best to choose Wyoming-friendly recipes with room for adaptation based on dietary needs.

“We try to use locally accessible ingredients and keep cost in mind,” says Chichester. “We talk about food intolerances and modifications and note them so that we can share back with the rest of the group what worked well, what didn’t and what to watch for.”

In order to receive their next set of monthly utensils, participants are required to prepare at least two of the dishes in the recipe packet, then submit a short post-lesson report with photos.

To learn more about Food, Fun, 4-H or register for next month, visit https://bit.ly/food-fun-4-h. Contact Chichester at [email protected] or (307) 334-3534 with questions.

 About the University of Wyoming Extension

Since 1914, the University of Wyoming Extension has provided lifelong learning opportunities to Wyoming residents across the state. With roots in agricultural education, UW Extension supports rural communities facing contemporary challenges and changes. UW Extension brings the university’s resources to each of the state’s 23 counties and the Wind River Indian Reservation. To learn more about UW Extension, visit www.uwyo.edu/uwe or call (307) 766-5124.