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Posts tagged ‘community garden’

Urban Farming Highlight: The Village Co-Op

by SLCgreen outreach coordinator Stephan Sveshnikov

One of the many ways SLCgreen furthers our sustainability goals is through supporting our local food system. Salt Lake City is committed to providing and facilitating funding for local food programs to enhance access to fresh, healthy, and sustainable food. In recent years, we’ve worked to relax ordinances to allow for backyard chickens and beekeeping, expanded the number of community gardens in the city, and contracted with Green Urban Lunchbox to run the SLC Fruitshare program.

Have you ever wondered how much food you could grow in your yard if you took the time to garden? We produced a Food Map that helps you find an estimate of your yard’s food production potential and provides resources that will educate and empower you to grow more food.

Many Salt Lake City locals are already growing thriving gardens. We recently sat down with one of Salt Lake’s urban farmers, Darin Mann, to talk about his garden, water reduction efforts, and food justice advocacy.

Growing Community

Darin Mann calls his neighborhood the “Venice of Salt Lake.” The garden of cabbages, kale, tomatoes, and everything in between, known officially as the “Village Co-op,” is nestled between  Fairpark and Rose Park, in one of the most ethnically diverse places in the state of Utah. On the other side of his farm stands a mosque and, next to it, a Buddhist temple. Just down the street is the Virgin of Guadalupe Catholic Church. An oasis of green in a crossroads of cultures.

Darin knows the neighborhood well. His farm isn’t called the Village Co-op for nothing: “Every single day I have at least 30 neighbors coming and talking to me about my garden,” he says. Add to that number the 200 families signed up to receive produce box alerts and upwards of 300 volunteers this season alone, and you start to see the sort of impact a small urban farm can have on the surrounding community.

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Richmond Park Becomes Latest Addition to Salt Lake’s Community Gardens

Salt Lake City is proud to support Wasatch Community Gardens’ work to grow the City’s robust collection of community gardens. Last month, Salt Lake City and Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG) celebrated the opening of the newest addition: the Richmond Park Community Garden.

Wasatch Community Gardens and Salt Lake City partners at Richmond Park Community Garden.

Green City Growers

Over the years, Salt Lake City has partnered with WCG through the Green City Growers program to help coordinate the use of city-owned or managed land for community garden plots. The plots are managed by WCG and help Salt Lake City residents build a more robust and sustainable food system.

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Interested in Joining a New Community Garden?

Growing fresh greens at the Gateway Community Garden, which opened in 2018.

Community gardens provide Salt Lake City with fresh, locally grown food and a vibrant space to connect with our neighbors. Salt Lake City’s community gardens are popular locations for everything from volunteering to learning about urban farming. Indeed, in conjunction with Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG), Salt Lake City has successfully developed seven community gardens in almost every corner of the city through our Green City Growers program.

These gardens include the Off Broadway Community Garden, Liberty Wells, Rose Park, Cannon Greens, 9-Line, Popperton Plots, and the Gateway Garden. Not only do these gardens support Salt Lake City’s dedication to increase local food production, they invigorate our neighborhoods by putting vacant lots to use in ways that support community engagement and biodiversity — all while limiting our communities’ carbon footprints.

Salt Lake City’s community gardens activate our neighborhoods, giving residents a space to engage with friends and neighbors and to grow fresh produce. And we just can’t get enough of them!

In order to continue to make community gardens accessible and ensure that locally grown food stays a priority, both Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have proposed new community gardens to be built in 2020.

But the City, County, and WCG can’t do it alone. We need a strong show of support from nearby residents, indicating that the gardens will receive enough use.

Salt Lake City is working with WCG to establish Richmond Park Community Garden. Similarly, Salt Lake County and WCG are collaborating on a new garden in Sugar House Park. You can read more about the gardens below. If you would be interested in gardening at either of these parks, sign the petitions below to show your support.

Richmond Park

Salt Lake City highlighted Richmond Park for a potential garden. The park, which already has a fantastic playground, is nestled between 500 and 400 East along 600 South in downtown Salt Lake City.

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Does Central City Need a Community Garden?

If you think the answer is yes, join us next week for an open house on a potential garden at Richmond Park!

Community Garden Open House

When: Thursday, February 28, from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Central City Recreation Center, Room 134 (615 S 300 E)

Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands and Wasatch Community Gardens are inviting the public to an open house to discuss local interest and garden design for a potential new community garden in Richmond Park in the Central City neighborhood.

Come learn about the process a new community garden goes through to get approved. We’re also looking for your input what you would like included in the garden design. Finally, we’ll discuss potential impacts it could bring to the neighborhood.

Google Map view of the proposed site
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Help SLC Win a $150K Grant to Revitalize the Utah Pickle Company Building

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We need your vote! Help Salt Lake City win a grant to restore a historic building, ensuring the sustainability and preservation of a great space in our community.

Salt Lake City is one of just 25 cities selected nationwide to compete, and is calling on its residents, business owners, patrons, and visitors to get behind the effort. The City has the chance to receive up to $150,000 in grant funding for the restoration of the historic Utah Pickle Company building. Built in 1894, this former pickle warehouse is located at 741 South 400 West in Salt Lake City’s Granary District, which recently received Utah’s first neighborhood business district Main Street America designation.

Restoring the Utah Pickle Company building will provide the Granary District with much-needed event space, a media production studio, flex office spaces for local artists and entrepreneurs, and a community garden!

Want to help Salt Lake City win?
1.    Go to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/voteyourmainstreet
2.    Make an account
3.    Vote for SLC (up to 5 votes per person, per day!)
4.    Login and vote each day until Oct. 31st

 

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Top: Mayor Biskupski speaks at the opening of the Liberty Wells Community Garden in 2016. A new community garden is just one of the proposed additions to the Utah Pickle Company building.  Bottom: The Utah Pickle Company building  in 1936 and today.

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Eat Local Week

Eat Local Week is quickly approaching!  The week of September 12th-19th will be filled with local food events where your participation is strongly encouraged!  A significant part of Eat Local week is the Eat Local Challenge, a fun and exciting way to get a better understanding of where your food comes from. The Challenge is simple, eat as local as you can.

What is local? Try for food within 250 miles from your home. Why?  There are a myriad of reasons.  Eating locally enhances the local economy. Every dollar spent at a locally generates $2.80 of economic activity for our community.  Supporting local farmers has a multiplier effect throughout the local economy as a whole. Local farms generate jobs for the community, farmers’ markets bring customers to surrounding businesses, and they support farmers who are likely to spend money locally on agricultural supplies. (1)  In our conventional food system, farmers receive an average of 20 cents of each dollar spent on food. In a direct-to-consumer market like a farmers’ market or CSA (community supported agriculture share), the farmer receives the direct profit. (2)

Smaller family farms are often more sustainably run than large industrial or factory farms.  “Industrial farming negatively impacts the environment in myriad ways (e.g., by polluting the air, surface water, and groundwater, over-consuming fossil fuel and water resources, degrading soil quality, inducing erosion, and accelerating the loss of biodiversity).  Many small-scale, local farms attempt to ameliorate the environmental damage done via industrial farming by focusing on sustainable practices, such as minimized pesticide use, no-till agriculture and composting, minimized transport to consumers, and minimal to no packaging for their farm products.” (1) Small farms typically grow a variety of crops, adding variation to protect biodiversity and preserve a larger agricultural gene pool. (2)  Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. There is an accountability piece with buying locally produced food, where you can talk directly to farmers and ask about sustainable practices used to grow and harvest the crops.

Fresh food and food that is in season tastes better!  Local food is often more fresh and harvested closer to peak ripeness, with packing, shipping, and shelf-life stages removed.  This contributes to quality and flavor.  On average, in the United States, food travels about 1500 miles from farm to plate.  “Fresh food tends to have more nutrients than food that was picked days or weeks ago,” says Michael Pollan, author of “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.” (1) Enjoy Utah’s local food this Eat Local Week!

To learn more about eating locally, visit Eat Local Week Utah’s website.

(1) Grace Communications Foundation.  Local and Regional Food Systems. http://www.sustainabletable.org/254/local-regional-food-systems Accessed Sept. 2, 2015.

(2) Project Open Hand. The Benefits of Eating Locally Grown Foods. http://www.openhand.org/2011/07/20/the-benefits-of-eating-locally-grown-foods/ July 20, 2011.

Off Broadway Community Garden Celebration

Today we celebrated the opening of Salt Lake City’s newest community garden, Off Broadway Community Garden.  Media representatives and residents joined Mayor Ralph Becker, Alex Eaton of the Community Foundation of Utah, Ashley Patterson of Wasatch Community Gardens, and Abby Bluth of Off Broadway Community Garden for the celebration.

“Salt Lake City recognizes the high demand for community gardens in our downtown core, which highlights their importance in building a strong local food system,” said Mayor Becker. “The Off Broadway Community Garden project, located in a neighborhood with a two-year waiting list for garden plots, now provides 30 more city residents the opportunity to grow and enjoy fresh organic produce.”  Here’s a link to a great video of Mayor Becker’s speech!

Last year, Salt Lake City’s Green City Growers program was awarded $50,000 in grant funds to support the development of two new community gardens, including the Off Broadway Community Garden. The award included $25,000 from the Local Sustainability Matching Fund, a Partners for Places project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. The Community Foundation of Utah provided the $25,000 grant match and will manage permanent endowments.

“We are committed to sustainable nonprofits and sustainable communities, and this project is a demonstration of both,” said Alex Eaton, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Utah. “We are proud to support this project, which increases access to healthy food and strengthens our local community.”

Salt Lake City works directly with Wasatch Community Gardens and community members to develop gardens within City limits. Wasatch Community Gardens is a community-based nonprofit that has served Salt Lake County for over 25 years.

For more information on the Green City Growers Program, which provides City owned/managed land for the development of community gardens, please visit www.SLCgreen.com.

News links:

KUER News: http://kuer.org/post/slc-community-gardeners-struggle-meet-demand#stream/0

SLC Mayor’s Office: http://www.slcmayor.com/read/2015/8/24/mayor-becker-community-partners-to-announce-new-downtown-community-garden

Community Gardens

By Nicole Muehle, SLCgreen Intern

Community gardens are starting to play a more vital role in the lives of those that live in Salt Lake City. The City has eight City-owned or managed sites with the appropriate sun exposure, waterlines, and conditions to create sustainable community gardens. A high demand of community gardens downtown highlights their importance to a strong, local food system and healthy food access.  Growing food in a community garden gives those with little to no land the ability to have fresh organic produce.

One of the newest gardens, Off Broadway Community Garden, is located at 337 South 400 East. What is now a flourishing garden used to be a vacant lot!  The history of Plot 337 is unique in that it was temporarily an art exhibit, created with the knowledge that demolition would ensue.  From one art form to another, the parking lot has transformed into a vibrant and flourishing community garden.  Some of the SLCgreen interns had the privilege of getting a tour of the garden.

If you are interested in learning more or having your own plot at one of the community gardens around the city, visit our webpage.

Here are some before and after photos of the Off Broadway Community Garden.

Land Available. Farmers Wanted!

Are you a farmer looking for land?  Salt Lake County plans to contract with a qualified individual or organization to use County-owned parcels of land less than an acre each along 1100 West and north of 3300 South for small plot urban farming to provide agricultural-based economic development opportunities to a local farmer.  The bid, available here, is open until July 14th, 2015.

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Grow West Garden Fest: Free Family Event April 9 at Sorenson Unity Center

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SAVE THE DATE FOR A FREE FAMILY EVENT
Thursday, April 9 from 6-8 p.m. at the Sorenson Unity Center

The Grow West Garden Fest invites the public to learn about health, nutrition, and gardening resources available to westside Salt Lake City neighborhoods. These resources include community gardens, school gardens, workshops, youth activities, and organizations & businesses that support gardening practices. For attendees who participate in event activities, free food will be served by El Ranchero Chido, a local taco cart.

For more information, visit wasatchgardens.org or check out the Facebook event page.