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Going Green at Home: Eating Healthy and Supporting Local Farmers

Our food choices are important. In fact, in Utah, food choices contribute 25% of the household carbon footprint. This a result of the growing, harvesting, transportation, packaging, and cooking processes involved with getting our food to our tables.

While the restrictions as a result of COVID-19 have made shopping for groceries difficult, and food access remains an issue. However, the country’s farmers still have a large supply of food. Safely harvesting and selling the produce is what’s challenging.

Even though the farmers markets are temporarily closed, we can still support local growers and get healthy, sustainably grown food at the same time.

Our local farmers need support right now! With only 2-3% of the produce consumed in Utah grown in the state, local agriculture is already in a fragile state.

SLCgreen is working hard with our partners to find ways to support these farmers so they can continue operating– during this challenging time and into the future.

Plus, eating more produce and eating local is good for you!

Read on . . .

Rows of vegetables in a local urban farm.

CSA: Connecting To Locally Grown Food

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs are one of the best ways to get fresh produce, support local farmers, and limit your carbon footprint. Plus, they typically require online ordering and delivery or pick-up – which means you can get fresh food while reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

See Utah’s list of CSA’s here.

Why are CSAs important?

CSAs offer a more direct way to get fresh food from local farmers. Not only does this lower the transportation and packaging requirements for the food, you also help sustain a local business. Farmers benefit from the stable market and are able to grow more diverse produce and maintain a high quality.

How do they work?

CSAs are your ticket to fresh produce. CSA members purchase shares of different sizes – half or whole shares – which are then delivered to or picked up by members on a weekly basis. CSAs ensure a summer of delicious food fresh from a local farm. Often, CSAs also include cheese, honey, or other treats that are produced on the farm.

Where can you join a CSA?

Farmers sell shares of produce to members of CSA programs. In Utah there are many different participating farmers selling shares for the 2020 growing season.

Get ready for the 2020 season check out the list of farmers offering CSA shares! Be sure to reach out to them individually– some may have changed their operations or procedures for CSA deliveries or pick-ups due to the current COVID-19 situation.

Downtown Farmers Market Vendors

We miss going to the weekly farmers’ markets as much as anyone. And we know these times have been tough on our local growers and producers.

Thankfully, a handful of our local purveyors have made it possible to purchase their food during the current COVID-19 crisis. Please visit the Downtown Farmers Market’s web page, scroll down, and support these local vendors. The food is healthy and delicious too!

Grow Your Own

Another great way to get fresh produce right at home is by growing your own.

Wasatch Community Gardens is taking their plant sale online this year so that you can get the start you need to plant your veggie garden. They also offer numerous resources and guides to help you perfect your gardening skills.

Photograph of a bowl of fresh homegrown veggies including carrots, squash, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, and greens.

Waste Not, Want Not

Remember, getting locally sourced food is a great way to limit your carbon footprint, but dining with discretion and limiting food waste are key to reducing your household emissions.

Reducing waste will help you save money and food resources. If you do find that you have food scraps, try composting as much as possible. Instead of adding waste to the landfill, you’ll be creating nutrient rich soil. And this soil can be put to use in your own veggie garden! You can review composting basics here.

Support Local Food Services

Salt Lake City’s Square Kitchen has a number of local food vendors still operating and selling food for pick-up.

While eating fresh produce at home and growing your own fruits and veggies is a delicious goal, supporting our local economy and those working in the food service industry is important, too.

  • Tip Your Server helps you get funds to food and beverage workers in Salt Lake City whose jobs have been displaced by COVID-19.
  • Support Utah Dining is keeping a list of local restaurants that offer take out ordering.
  • Square Kitchen, SLC’s kitchen incubator, helps restaurateurs make their businesses successful. They’re keeping up with the local food trucks and suppliers who are still open for business.
  • Try getting your groceries from one of these local food suppliers, too: Liberty Heights Fresh, Caputo’s , and Hello! Bulk Markets are still open for business.

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