Reducing processed, packaged foods from diet Riverton program focus

Laura Balis
Laura Balis

Those in the five-week University of Wyoming Extension REAL FOOD program in Riverton will learn how to reduce and even eliminate processed or packaged foods and sugar from their diets, said the course instructor.

All classes meet 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays Jan. 13 to Feb. 17, except Feb. 3, at Riverton High School, 2001 W. Sunset Dr., said Laura Balis, extension nutrition and food safety educator.

The course includes learning how to plan meals shop, and cook using whole, natural ingredients, and to read labels and decipher ingredient lists, said Balis.

“Half of the class time will include hands-on, healthy cooking in the home-ec room,” she said.

Cost is $35, which covers books and materials. To register, call 307-857-3654 or email

Organic certification workshop, High Plains Organic Farming Conference set in Cheyenne

Extension soils specialist Jay Norton
Extension soils specialist Jay Norton

An example farm will help demonstrate the National Organic Program (NOP) and regulations the first day, and crops, cropping systems and livestock production sessions fill the second day at the High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne.

Sessions are Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 23-24, in the Centennial Room at Laramie County Community College. Lunch is provided, and registration is $50 for both days or $30 for one. Seating is limited to 100, said Jay Norton, University of Wyoming Extension soils specialist. Those wishing to attend can register online at A speakers list and other information is at
The organic certification workshop is 1-5 p.m. Tuesday and includes an overview of the NOP and regulations covering organic production. Attendees will practice the certification process. An example farm will be used to discuss scope, land eligibility, buffers, seed and planting stock, livestock, recordkeeping and more, said Norton.

The High Plains Organic Farming Conference is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday. There are 13 sessions by producers, researchers and others offering NOP updates, marketing, crop, soil, pest and livestock management for dryland cropping systems, irrigated crops and forage and livestock production, said Norton.

For more information, contact Norton at 307-766-5082 or, or Erin Rooney at 970-217-3362 or

UW scientist’s cellular studies using frog eggs has cancer connection

Assistant Professor Dan Levy uses frog eggs to study how the basic mechanisms in a cell control the size of the nucleus.
Assistant Professor Dan Levy uses frog eggs to study how the basic mechanisms in a cell control the size of the nucleus.

A smiling and very green Kermit looking down from a wall portrait seems to happily give a thumbs – or flipper – up to one of University of Wyoming’s self-described frog guys trying to unravel the mysteries of what in the world regulates cell nucleus size and its cancer implications.

Molecular biologist Dan Levy and his collaborators, using frog eggs, found the concentration of particular proteins – the nuclear lamin – appears to play a part in controlling the size of the cell nucleus. His laboratory is one of a few on campus using frog eggs to untangle cell secrets.

Turns out, there is an important cancer connection. The nucleus of a cancer cell becomes enlarged, and the size is even used to determine the stage of cancer, he said. If the basic proteins important for regulating nucleus size are understood, scientists might be able to apply that to nuclear size changes in cancer and even use it diagnostically or perhaps even in a new treatment approach, he noted.

“If we can make the nucleus size small in cancer cells, that might be a way to treat those cancers,” said Levy, in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The research results were in the Nov. 13 edition of The Journal of Biological Chemistry, published by the American Society For Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

Anyone wandering into a cell would pass the outer nuclear membrane first, then the inner nuclear membrane. Looking back, the lattice-like nuclear lamina composed of lamins would be seen sitting against the inner nuclear membrane and, like 2 x 4s in a house, provides shape and support. Electron microscope images show the lattice looking like a volleyball net or a woven basket with horizontal and vertical reeds.

Continue reading UW scientist’s cellular studies using frog eggs has cancer connection

New videos look at open space values in Wyoming agriculture

Jackson Bassett farms with his father in the Big Horn Basin and barley with a cow-calf operation. He highlights the ways that non-crop habitats have served their operation.
Jackson Bassett and his father have a farm and cow-calf operation in the Big Horn Basin. He highlights the ways non-crop habitats have served their operation.

Wyoming agricultural producers in eight new videos of the Farm Meets Function project offer thoughts on weeds, water, what they’re growing – plus wildlife and non-crop habitats in agricultural landscapes.

Locations include a bison ranch, a vineyard, a 2,000-acre family agribusiness and high tunnels where salad greens grow at 8,500 feet.

“One of our goals was to represent a diversity of operations,” said project originator Randa Jabbour, assistant professor of agroecology at the University of Wyoming.

The videos and website ( invite visitors to think more broadly about the role of agriculture in a state where 93 percent of privately owned land is classified agricultural. 

 “You can see how large-scale, small-scale, organic and non-organic producers feel about the land and the constraints they face,” said Jabbour, in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Videographer Conner Mullen contributed an artist’s eye.

“Randa, it’s okay for the videos to be beautiful and educational,” he told Jabbour during project planning.

Interviews took place last summer on porches, an open tailgate and under cottonwoods, often with birds and insects offering a running commentary. Zoe Nelson, seasonal technician, conducted four of the interviews and developed the Farm Meets Function website. Continue reading New videos look at open space values in Wyoming agriculture

New cookbook makes Cent$ible Nutrition Program available in Spanish

Cent$ible Nutrition Program educator Cindy Aguilar, left, helped translate the English version of the cookbook into Spanish.
Cent$ible Nutrition Program educator Cindy Aguilar, left, serving Washakie and Fremont counties, helped translate the English version of the cookbook into Spanish.

Participants in Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP) cooking classes can prepare recipes printed side-by-side in English and Spanish using the program’s new cookbook, which in Spanish is Libro de cocina del Programa de Nutrición Cent$ible.

The 492-page cookbook features more than 200 recipes and uses MyPlate guidelines to help families prepare healthier meals.

“The cookbook has been available in Spanish for years, but this is the first time the English and Spanish versions are identical in content,” said Cindy Aguilar, CNP educator in Washakie and Hot Springs counties. Aguilar, along with Ana Martinez, who helps CNP with Spanish materials, translated the cookbook into Spanish. CNP is administered through the University of Wyoming Extension.
The current English edition was released in February.

This cookbook emphasizes the use of CNP mixes, which are similar to packaged baking, sauce and spice mixes sold in grocery stores. The mixes are simple and less expensive, said Mindy Meuli, CNP director at the University of Wyoming.

The CNP cookbook also provides create-your-own recipes for stir-fries, skillet dinners, casseroles and more to help cooks create meals from what is on sale or on hand.

CNP is a free cooking and nutrition education program for anyone who qualifies for USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Participants receive a free cookbook, as well as measuring cups and spoons, a grocery bag, and other kitchen gadgets when they attend.

The program, which is hands-on and interactive, is taught by instructors statewide, including the Wind River Reservation.

“Educators excel at making classes fun and not at all intimidating,” said Meuli. “The cookbook is a big draw.”

Last year, 1,661 Wyoming adults graduated from the program after attending six to eight weekly classes. Another 5,544 adults and 5,351 youth participated in one-time lessons. Families in a recent CNP survey reported saving $44.50 per month or $534 per year.

Visit to learn more about CNP classes. To find the educator in your area, visit or call 307-766-5375 or 1-877-356-6675 (en español).