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Posts tagged ‘food’

Go Batty for Bats this Halloween!

Halloween is here and things are getting extra spooky. Whether you’re out trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, or just enjoying the fall weather, take a minute to celebrate some of Halloween’s most iconic creatures: Bats!

While bats may seem scary, like spiders they are an important part of our ecosystems. Not only do they help control insect populations, reducing the need for pesticides, they are also major pollinators.

It just so happens that Halloween marks the last day of International Bat Week. So in honor of our winged friends, here are some fun facts about bats.

Bats of Utah Poster from www.wildawareutah.org

Insatiable Insectivores

There are eighteen species of bats in Utah, and over 1,300 species world wide. Bugs make up the primary diet of most bats. And a single bat can eat thousands of insects each night! For smaller bats, that can mean eating close to their body weight in insects!

By controlling insect populations, bats help reduce the need for toxic pesticides. As a result, bats also help farmers save money by serving as natural defenses against insect damage to crops. Moreover, by diminishing our dependence on pesticides, bats also help protect our food and health.

Pollinating by Night

While most bats are insectivores, many species consume nectar and fruit – and are important pollinators! Indeed, bats are responsible for pollinating over 300 species of fruit including bananas and mangoes. They also help pollinate the plants that are used to make different kinds of medicine.

Keeping Bats and Humans Safe

One common misconception about bats is they are blood-suckers. Although the vampire bat does consume the blood of other animals, bats don’t attack humans. Bats can carry rabies and other diseases, so it is important to remember that handling bats isn’t safe for you or the bat.

Besides habitat destruction, one of the biggest threats to bats is White-Nose Syndrome, a fungus that is causing mass deaths of hibernating bats. You can lower their chances of exposure by avoiding caves where there may be hibernating bat colonies.

Bats are wonderful animals who play an important role as pollinators and insectivores. By giving bats space and protecting their habitats, we can keep humans and bats safe!

Please join us in celebrating the role of bats in our ecosystem by commemorating Bat Week! Share this blog or Bat Week’s page on your social media pages.

Or perhaps you have your costume dilemma solved for Halloween? . . .

Whatever it is– let’s show the bats in our environment some love!

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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Goal: Reduce food waste this holiday season

agriculture basket close up colorful

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, bringing the friend and family food fest with it! While we prepare the feast and give thanks for the plentiful food we have, it is important to consider the amount of food that goes to waste this holiday season.

Food is one of the most important areas of sustainability in our daily lives and it is often overlooked! Reducing food waste is important for everyone because it saves both money and resources.

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 35 percent of turkey meat cooked at Thanksgiving gets wasted?

That’s a lot of wasted resources!

When we reduce food waste we save:

  • The resources and water used to grow crops and raise animals
  • Manufacturing and energy resources
  • Transportation resources and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Money by buying less and throwing away less
  • Disposal costs and emissions

That last one is significant– food sent to landfills is a powerful source of methane. A whopping 40 percent of food meant for eating is thrown away.

All of this rotting food produces a lot of greenhouse gases. In fact if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.

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Salt Lake City’s Sustainable Food Initiatives

Why does Salt Lake City have a food policy program? Community gardens, an incubator kitchen, pesticide free resources, farmers’ markets… it all helps foster a healthy city and flourishing economy.  Watch the video and then scroll through the blog post to find more details about the programs and initiatives mentioned by our program manager Bridget Stuchly.

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SLC FruitShare: Saving Fruit That Would Otherwise Go Unpicked

By Brooke Taylor

Salt Lake City works in partnership with The Green Urban Lunch Box, a local nonprofit organization aimed to “empower people to engage in local food production by using the resources available in their community” to operate FruitShare. Volunteers help pick fruit from residents’ registered trees, then distribute the harvest 3 ways:

1/3 goes to homeowners, 1/3 goes to volunteers, 1/3 goes to hunger relief (Utah Food Bank, local food pantries, shelters, health clinics, and anti-hunger organizations)

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Salt Lake City Employees Wrap Up a Year of Sustainability Actions through Empower SLC

by Maggie McCormick

 

The 12-month program promoting sustainability education and action for city employees, Empower SLC, has come to an end. After 12 themes and nearly 50 weekly topics, we hope the lessons learned will help SLC Corp employees adopt more sustainable practices into their everyday lives.

Empower SLC, which began in April 2016, was designed as a training platform by Sustain3 and implemented by the Sustainability Department for Salt Lake City’s nearly 3,000 employees. Our goal was to encourage sustainable practices amongst city staff. Each month, employees participated in monthly themes, such as waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, and clean air transportation, and completed weekly lessons and activities.

Empower_SLC_graphic

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