Launch of Local Food Microgrant Fund
Salt Lake City is proud to unveil a new grant program, offering $85,000 to spur local sustainable farming efforts.
Because just 3 percent of the fruits and 2 percent of the vegetables consumed by residents are grown in Utah, this program aims to support a more resilient local food system.
In partnership with Urban Food Connections of Utah—the non-profit affiliated with the Downtown Alliance– we’ll be granting money to farmers who want to expand their operations with sustainability in mind.
The grant program allows area farmers, such as those who sell at the Downtown Farmers Market and Winter Market at the Rio Grande, to apply for funds to access technology, education, tools and equipment to grow more organic local produce. Examples include the installation of sustainable farming techniques, building hoop houses or greenhouses to extend the growing season, purchase of organic seed, continuing education for farmers, or sponsorship of labor costs.
“We’re delighted to partner with Urban Food Connections of Utah to give farmers the critical boost they need to invest back in their operations,” said Mayor Biskupski.
The Local Food Microgrant Program is one of the results of Salt Lake City’s 2013 Community Food Assessment (“CFA”). The CFA concluded that in order to advance a diverse and sustainable food system, local farmers require enhanced opportunities to increase production in addition to improved distribution opportunities including a process that would better connect local farmers with distributors, processors, retailers, and consumers.
The CFA identified a number of constraints limiting farmers’ ability to bring a greater variety and quantity of sustainable produce to market. Such constraints include such issues as:
- Small and medium sized regional farmers experience difficulties bringing their product directly to market as their operations are not large enough to work with larger distributors.
- Due to processing regulations, most farmers grow only a fraction of the produce that can grow in Utah because of the costs associated with additional equipment requirements.
- Many farmers do not have the funds or knowledge necessary to incorporate new technologies that can improve farm productivity and help farmers extend their growing season.
- Many farmers do not have refrigeration to store harvested produce between market opportunities and are unable to get all of their available produce to market.
The Local Food Microgrant program aims to address some of those concerns.
“This program will allow us to identify growers who want to shift into more sustainable and organic methods and increase what they produce,” said Alison Einerson, who manages the markets. “It’s a win for growers and consumers.”
If you are interested or know someone who would be eligible for the grant funds, fill out the application linked below!