Does all this snow have some of you daydreaming about spring and gardening?
Luckily spring is just around the corner, and now is a great time to start planning a pesticide free yard, garden, and home! Pesticides are often used on lawns and in gardens to limit weeds and associated pests. Unfortunately, pesticides (including herbicides, rodenticides, insecticides, and fungicides) have negative health impacts on people and the environment.
Being pesticide free means choosing methods of controlling these weeds and pests in ways that are healthy for the environment and for you and your family!
Salt Lake City has been working with Healthy Babies Bright Futures since 2016 to reduce exposures to harmful chemicals—many of which we unknowingly come in contact with on a daily basis. A common source of harmful chemical exposure is through pesticides and lawn fertilizer use. Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department partnered with Beyond Pesticides to create a public resource guide for a less toxic approach to pest management and lawn care.
Why are pesticides an issue?
Chemical pesticide use and exposure have been shown to have negative health effects on humans. Serious health effects of pesticide exposure include birth defects, childhood cancer, acute poisoning, brain tumors, and asthma. Avoiding pesticides in your yards will help protect the health of our communities.
Salt Lake City is committed to supporting our local food system, enhancing access to fresh, healthy, and sustainable food for our communities. Building a sustainable and resilient local food system is both an environmental concern and one rooted in social equity.
SLCgreen supports community gardens and encourages our community to eat locally and limit food waste in order to reduce our household carbon footprints. Furthermore, we recognize that a resilient environment is directly connected to social, economic, and environmental equity. A truly sustainable food system ensures access to nutritious fresh food for everyone in our community.
In 2020, the pandemic and local emergencies jeopardized food access and deepened existing social inequities. The need for food assistance increased by 300%. Food pantries, emergency programs, and mutual aid organizations work to relieve those gaps in access, but fresh and culturally relevant foods are not always readily available.
We have a new program we’d like to share with you and we’re looking for your help spreading the word to recruit applicants.
First, some context:
As part of SLCgreen’s commitment to equity and sustainability, we are beginning a new program to help residents from marginalized communities participate in how Salt Lake City tackles healthy food access.
What is healthy food access?
- Having *enough* to eat (1 in 8 Utahns struggles with hunger, and 1 in 7 children are hungry, according to the Feeding America organization).
- Having the ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. This means that healthy food is not only available at nearby grocery stores and corner stores, but that people have the ability to get there to buy it.
- Healthy food access is closely tied with income. New research is showing that “food deserts” are not just about location, but about the ability of people to afford healthy food.
These are issues that the Sustainability Department– and Salt Lake City as a whole– cares deeply about. We cannot have a healthy, thriving community if people don’t have enough to eat.
SLCgreen has developed a robust Local Food program over the past decade to increase the opportunities for growing and buying healthy, local food.
But we must do more.
There are policy, economic, communications, and structural factors at play that are still a barrier to many people in eating enough, and eating healthfully. Thankfully, there are many organizations and government agencies working on this issue, and we’re grateful for the strong community focused on food, poverty, nutrition, policy, and public health in Utah.
This year, we’re excited to dig deeper as a city department with the launch of a new program specifically around Food Access & Equity:
Photo: Real Food Rising
SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City, in partnership with Green Urban Lunch Box, Utahns Against Hunger and Salt Lake Community Action Program’s Real Food Rising, has been awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmers Market Promotion Program grant that will establish a mobile market and farm stands in the Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods of Salt Lake City.
“Salt Lake City is striving to create an equitable local food system that provides healthy and affordable food for all residents,” said Mayor Ralph Becker. “For many residents in our Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods, it can be a challenge to access healthy whole foods. This project will bring fresh, local fruits and vegetables to residents who live in the largest food desert in Salt Lake City.”
The $54,421 in grant funds will be used to coordinate and operate five mobile markets and three farm stands from June to October 2016, which will be hosted by Glendale-Mountain View Community Learning Center, Hartland Partnership Center, Neighborhood House, Sherwood Park and Sorenson Unity Center. All locations will accept SNAP/EBT and Double Up Food Bucks.
The 2013 Salt Lake City Community Food Assessment found that the Glendale/Poplar Grove area has low supermarket access and some of the lowest vehicle ownership rates in the city. Of key significance are the lack of a full-service grocery store and an abundance of fast food outlets and convenience stores within the target community, which has, lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture to classify these neighborhoods as food deserts.
Future updates on the program, slated to launch next summer, will be posted at SLCgreen.com.