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Thank you Jen Colby for your Service on the Food Policy Task Force!

We’re excited to highlight the work of Food Policy Task Force member Jen Colby for this edition of SLCgreen Connections. This photo is from her time completing an Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She returns regularly to visit the farm and gardens.

Welcome to SLCgreen Connections, an occasional series highlighting SLCgreen’s fantastic local partners—the people and organizations with whom we work closely to make Salt Lake City a greener, more vibrant, and sustainable city!

For this edition, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Jen Colby, who was a volunteer on our Food Policy Task Force (FPTF) for over 10 years and just concluded her term. She also served as co-chair for the group from 2017-2018. She also helped establish the Office of Sustainability at the University of Utah. Jen has worked to address issues ranging from food systems and campus gardens to air quality and climate change– she is truly a persevering agent for change!

What is the Food Policy Task Force?

The Food Policy Task Force (FPTF) is a group of individuals from diverse sectors of the local food system. They are constantly on the look-out for how Salt Lake City can catalyze opportunities to create an accessible, sustainable, low carbon, and equitable food system that provides healthy and culturally appropriate food for the community. In particular, the Task Force members advocate for policies and programs that support and protect urban agriculture, increase access to fresh, local produce, eliminate food waste, and drive community and economic activity within the local food system.

Jen has witnessed many positive changes over her decade of service on the Food Policy Task Force and has been a leader in bringing many of them to fruition. We wanted to take this opportunity to hear her reflections on the state of our local food system, and to thank her for all she does to contribute to a more sustainable community!

Volunteering with several University of Utah students at Sandhill Farms in Eden, Utah.

In addition to her work on local food, Jen just completed her graduate studies with honors (congratulations!) at the University of Utah’s Master of Public Administration Program, as well as the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability. She volunteers with Slow Food Utah and is a member of the board of the Community Animal Welfare Society (CAWS). Finally, her volunteer work extends to her local community council, where she is on the executive committee for the East Central Community Council. Whew!

Here is our interview:

What drives your commitment to your community?

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YouthCity is Saving the Planet One Reusable Bag at a Time

Students in the YouthCity program at Sorenson Unity Center care about the future of our planet and our community!

YouthCity is a Salt Lake City Division offering programs for children and young adults ages 8-19. They have many offerings throughout the city, including after-school and full-time during the summer. The programming is designed to foster positive youth development in an inclusive and caring environment.

This year, YouthCity ran a Session of Service program to explore and take action on issues affecting our community, with staff and students collectively brainstorming ways to get involved.

So far, they have completed several impactful projects focusing on air pollution, homelessness, and plastic pollution.

We want to highlight one project in particular . . .

Making Reusable Bags

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Salt Lake City Unveils 8 New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Mayor Jackie Biskupski “unveils” the latest electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Salt Lake City, April 22, 2019.

Salt Lake City recently unveiled the latest electric vehicle (EV) public charging infrastructure.

These stations increase the total number of City-owned public EV charging ports to 38 plus 16 at the Airport, and complement an even more robust charging network available throughout the city.

The newest Level 2 EV charging ports opened last month at three separate Salt Lake City locations: Mountain Dell Golf Course, the Regional Athletic Complex, and on-street parking on 500 South, just south of The Leonardo.

“Electrifying transportation is one of the most meaningful ways we can tackle air quality problems in the Salt Lake Valley,” said Mayor Biskupski. “The City applauds the many residents and businesses investing in electric vehicles and is pleased to offer charging opportunities for these clean air champions.”

Funding for the project was provided in part by a grant from the Utah Division of Air Quality, building off the initial installation of 28 ports in 2017.

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Utah Communities Celebrate Landmark Renewable Energy Legislation

We have some exciting news! Check out the below press release for details on Salt Lake City’s legislative progress toward our Climate Positive goals.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 22, 2019

Rocky Mountain Power partnered with local governments to support passage of the Community Renewable Energy Act which authorizes a path to net-100% renewable electricity

Representatives from numerous Utah communities along with Rocky Mountain Power will join Governor Gary Herbert at a ceremonial signing this afternoon for the Community Renewable Energy Act (HB 411). The legislation was sponsored by Representative Steve Handy and enables next steps towards a net-100%* renewable electricity portfolio by 2030 for Utah communities with ambitious clean energy goals.

Park City, Salt Lake City and Summit County worked with Rocky Mountain Power for over three years leading up to the passage of HB 411 to envision this first-of-its-kind legislation. The bill authorizes future regulatory filings at the Utah Public Service Commission that will define rules, rates and expectations for the community renewable energy program.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski speaks about HB411, the Community Renewable Energy Act, with community partners. From left: Lead sponsor Rep. Steve Handy, Park City Councilmember Tim Henney, Summit County Councilmember Glenn Wright, Rocky Mountain Power CEO Gary Hoogeveen, Grace Olscamp with HEAL Utah, Ashley Soltysiak with the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Josh Craft with Utah Clean Energy.

“House Bill 411 is groundbreaking legislation, not just for our state, but for the country. It also represents the biggest breakthrough ever in Salt Lake City’s pursuit of clean energy,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, who also serves as co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy Campaign and is the Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Alliance for a Sustainable Future. “Powering all of our homes and businesses with renewable energy by 2030 will cut our community carbon footprint in half and create a replicable roadmap for others across the country.”

We’re in the midst of what some are calling ‘The New Energy Economy,’ which is both exciting and challenging,” said lead bill sponsor Representative Steve Handy. “When I first heard about the concept of what eventually became HB 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act, I immediately recognized it as groundbreaking. And when it comes to ‘The New Energy Economy,’ I believe that it’s the role of government to remove barriers and let market forces take over, which is exactly what HB 411 does.” 

Rocky Mountain Power will facilitate the transition to a net-100% renewable electricity portfolio and the utility will continue to provide all of its standard services for customers. The financial costs and benefits of the program will be isolated to participating communities so that no costs are shifted to other utility customers. Additionally, individual customers in participating communities have the ability to stay on standard Rocky Mountain Power rates through an opt-out process after the program is established.

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It’s Almost Our Favorite Day of the Year

Did you know that Earth Day was celebrated by over a BILLION people last year?

That is an incredible number, right?

It’s been celebrated since 1970 and has since become the world’s largest day for environmental awareness and the world’s largest service project. It is often marked by planting trees, doing litter cleanups, or engaging in other volunteer projects.

In honor of Earth Day 2019, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do personally to reduce your impact on the planet, as well as some fun upcoming events to help you choose how you want to celebrate Earth Day!

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Salt Lake City, Utah Clean Energy and its Energy Ambassadors Launch Empower SLC

Some of the partners involved in launching Empower SLC, an energy efficiency outreach program funded with a $200,00 investment from Salt Lake City, in collaboration with Utah Clean Energy.

The Salt Lake City Sustainability Department and Utah Clean Energy have teamed up with the International Rescue Committee, Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services, and YouthCity Government to achieve a common goal: empower Salt Lake City’s west side neighborhoods with the tools to reduce pollution while saving energy and money. 

The unique partnership is the result of a $200,000 investment from Salt Lake City and was announced on April 11, 2019 with the launch of Empower SLC, a community engagement effort to help Salt Lake City residents reduce pollution and save energy on a community-wide scale. The program is being managed by long-time experts Utah Clean Energy.

“Energy efficiency is often the unsung hero of clean air and a healthy climate,” said Kevin Emerson, energy efficiency program director, Utah Clean Energy. “When you save energy at home, you reduce pollution. Now consider the possibilities when we save energy throughout our entire community.

Kevin Emerson, of Utah Clean Energy, describes the energy efficiency offerings of Empower SLC.

Small steps in energy efficiency can make a big impact on air quality and climate solutions. We are thrilled to bring this pilot program to westside Salt Lake City and make a positive impact in so many lives.”

Saving energy is something everyone can do and the Empower SLC website features a handy list of actions (PDF), with associated energy and cost savings, available to all.

However, the reality is that not everyone can access simple energy efficiency tools.

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Join Us for a Family Field Day on April 13!

On April 13, Stonyfield Yogurt will host a “Field Day” of fun-filled family activities for the general public to enjoy, which celebrates a new program and collaboration with the City.

Bouncy houses, games, music, free organic yogurt and other activities will be located between playing fields at the Regional Athletic Complex and are open to all. Education about organic field maintenance will also take place at a fun “Edutainment Cart” featuring interactive and educational activities for kids and parents.

At 1 pm Mayor Jackie Biskupski will receive a donation of $5,000 from Stonyfield Organic yogurt to support the Pesticide Free SLC program. It will be used to convert two fields at the Salt Lake Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) to organic land care maintenance methods.

The company will also pledge an additional $40,000 to cover technical services to implement and identify best management practices that could be scaled up at the RAC, with the goal of making it the first sports complex in the nation with professional-grade fields being maintained through organic maintenance practices.

What: “Field Day of Fun!” to Celebrate Organic Land Care with Stonyfield Organic

Where: Salt Lake City Regional Athletic Complex, 2280 Rose Park Lane, Salt Lake City

When: Saturday, April 13, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The initiative is aimed at reducing overall chemical use in the Salt Lake City community and includes both a municipal and public focus. Building off the best management practices already employed by the Parks Division for the maintenance of all municipal parks and fields, the City has been piloting organic land care methods at both Laird and Madsen parks since 2017.

The support of Stonyfield will give Salt Lake City its largest organically-maintained lawn areas to date, with the focus on high-visibility and heavy-use spaces.

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