What is the Cultivate Wilder Initiative?
The Cultivate Idaho Initiative assists rural communities to look beyond emergency assistance and explore local food systems, economic development, community support systems, and civic engagement. Currently, Wilder is implementing its second year of a community farm with some of the proceeds being placed in a Wilder Community Fund for seasonal workers while bringing local healthy food to the community.
In February of 2016 in Wilder, the Cultivate Wilder Initiative: Community Planning Meal represented several months of community assessment and the 42 people who attended learned about the process, the opportunities, and provided input for the Wilder Community Core Group. One community opportunity involved a 2.5 acre irrigated piece of farmland that is owned by COSSA and was loaned to the Cultivate Wilder Initiative. Another opportunity was that Wilder was awarded a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA position and hired a Wilder youth who is a graduate from Wilder High School. Wilder again received a full-time VISTA position for the 2017-18 time period.
From input from the community, it was decided to proceed with the Wilder Community Farm as a for-profit model that would include community engagement and reserve a portion of the profits for a Wilder Community Fund. The pilot farm was very successful and produced close to $1,000 for a Wilder Community Fund for seasonal workers in need. The project also brought healthy local produce into the Wilder market area at low cost to residents.
Provide increased access to fresh, local low-cost produce.
Provide Wilder community members with a way to be engaged in their community.
Provide community members with some financial resources in off-season high-need times.
2017 Next Steps:
- Identify Wilder individuals to be involved in Community Farm operations for the 2017 season.
- Diversify the crops grown as decided by the community of Wilder.
University of Idaho Extension Program
Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force
Idaho Farmers Market Association
Western Idaho Community Action Program (WICAP) is guided by a Wilder Community Core Group.