Words and photos by Kyle Strayer
“We Grow Gardeners” is painted inside the vividly decorated and modified school bus that houses the mobile Urban Greens Market part of the time. This slogan is apt for the market, considering the intentions of the organizations which have allowed it to prosper.
I took a visit to the Market last week, to learn more about the organizations that run it and where all this great food is coming from. (Reminder, you can find the weekly schedule here),
The Urban Greens Market is program overseen by Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department in partnership with the local non-profits Green Urban Lunch Box, Real Food Rising, (a project of Utah Community Action), and Utahns Against Hunger.
Its goal is to provide affordable, fresh produce in areas along the west side of Salt Lake City, which are classified as food deserts by the USDA.
Each of the non-profit partners have slightly different missions but are coming together to rejuvenate farming for the next generation, and provide access to healthy food for more people.
For The Green Urban Lunch Box, the issue is our dwindling supply of farmers. With only 9 percent of farmers in Utah under the age of 35, the need for new farmers is greater than ever. Read more
This week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, visited with SLCgreen staff, Mayor Jackie Biskupski and community members to discuss collective action on climate change.
Senator Whitehouse is a leading advocate for climate action in the Senate. As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and co-founder of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, he is at the heart of the policy discussions being had on this issue at our nation’s capital. He’s also promoting solutions.
He introduced legislation to put a fee on carbon, establishing a market incentive to reduce emissions while generating substantial revenue to be returned to the American people.
This week, Sen. Whitehouse came to Utah to see how climate change is affecting our environment and economy, impacting everything from our water supply to our $1 billion ski industry. At a round table on Tuesday, he met with City leaders to learn more, as well as to discuss SLC’s recent Climate Positive initiative and Joint Resolution which was introduced on July 12, 2016.
Sen. Whitehouse meets with Salt Lake City Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett. Photo credit: Jeri Gravlin
“Salt Lake City’s leaders get that climate change is real and already having an effect on their city,” said Sen. Whitehouse.
Salt Lake City recently hosted a visit with a program director from the Healthy Babies, Bright Futures (HBBF) program to continue our work as a member of the “Bright Cities” cohort.
Heidi Gerbracht, Bright Cities National Program Director, joined us in mid-July to meet with Mayor Jackie Biskupski, department heads, and several community organizations & agencies, to begin assessing the current risks, priorities and opportunities related to neurotoxic chemical exposures in our City.
Mayor Biskupski meets with Heidi Gerbracht, Bright Cities National Program Director.
Next steps include engaging in a public process to educate the community, as well as creating a final plan to reduce or eliminate the impact of these dangerous chemicals on babies’ brains.
This work can’t come soon enough.
SLCgreen is looking for several motivated, passionate students to join our Fall 2016 internship program. Interested in learning how local government plays an important role in ensuring the environmental health of our community?
Find out more information and how to apply:
2016 Fall Internship Description
“Head of the class.” “Leaders.” “Innovators.” They’re called many things. At Salt Lake City, we call the building owners that go above-and-beyond to cut emissions our “Mayor’s Skyline Challenge Winners”, and it is our pleasure to introduce you to them.
Launched in May 2014, the multi-year Mayor’s Skyline Challenge encourages building owners across Salt Lake City to proactively improve the energy performance of their buildings, reducing emissions and saving money. On July 15, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski joined business and community leaders to honor the four winners of the second annual Mayor’s Skyline Challenge Awards for their leadership in Project Skyline over the past year. Read more
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and City Council have committed to a Joint Resolution to transition the community to 100 percent renewable electricity sources by 2032 and an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2040.
The Mayor and City Councilmember Erin Mendenhall were joined by other City leaders and community members on the steps of the City and County Building today to announce the resolution.
“This is the most ambitious step ever taken by Salt Lake City to address the threat of climate change,” said Mayor Biskupski. “This commitment places the City among leading communities worldwide that acknowledge our responsibility to rapidly reduce emissions and forge a new path forward that protects our economies, societies and overall human well-being.”
Salt Lake City had previously committed to 100 percent renewable electricity sources for its government operations, along with major carbon reductions for City operations, but this resolution expands the scope to include all electricity and emissions on a community scale.
The Joint Resolution cited the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and being driven by the burning of fossil fuels. The Resolution also acknowledged local impacts such as changes in water systems and extreme weather events that are affecting Salt Lake City now and will be exacerbated in the future.
“We can tackle this challenge and deliver clean energy solutions that will simultaneously improve air quality, protect public health and deliver local jobs. Leading on climate change today is an obligation we all share with each other and to future generations,” stated Mayor Biskupski.
Visit www.slcgreen.com/climatepositive for more information about the plan.
See the full Carbon Reduction Joint Resolution here.