Hands-on education

ACRES farmers sell produce in September 2017 at the Downtown Laramie Farmer’s Market.

Local tunes and local brews are on tap this weekend as a fundraiser for local food.

Dance for the Plants, a fundraiser for ACRES Student Farm at the University of Wyoming, is scheduled for 8 p.m.-midnight Saturday at the Laramie Historic Railroad Depot, 600 S. First St.

The event includes live music by local groups Wolves in Cheap Clothing, Tie Hack and headliner Elk Tongue.

Beer will be for sale from Coal Creek TAP, Altitude Chophouse & Brewery, The Library Sports Grille & Brewery and Black Tooth Brewing Company of Sheridan.

The night also includes raffle prizes with items donated by local businesses.

Admission is free and open to anyone 18 and older. Donations will be accepted, and proceeds will benefit the farm’s summer internship program and operating expenses, said Hannah Dunn, an Americorps Vista member working for ACRES.

“We have a paid internship program where four or five interns are paid to work on the farm and learn how to produce and manage the farm,” she said.

ACRES also receives income from produce sales at local farmers’ markets and a community-supported agriculture program, but Dance for the Plants is its main fundraiser of the year. In addition to supporting interns, proceeds from the dance will be used to purchase supplies and maintain equipment.

Besides raising money, Dance for the Plants is a way to bring people together and raise awareness of the farm’s mission, Dunn said.

“We didn’t want to charge an entry fee, so anyone can come regardless of if they have money to contribute or not,” she said.

ACRES, which stands for Agricultural Community Resources for Everyday Sustainability, is a student-run farm that occupies 1.8 acres near the corner of 30th and Harney streets.

Crops include many types of vegetables, herbs and even fruit. Hops, strawberries and raspberries are some of the most recent additions.

Students work around Laramie’s short growing season by using six high tunnels to grow warm-weather crops like cucumbers and melons. They also use seeds adapted for high elevations.

The farm also works on food justice issues on the UW campus, Dunn said. For example, garden plots are available for students to use for personal crops in exchange for volunteer work.

“They’re allowed to grow and harvest and keep whatever they grow,” she said.

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