After a hiatus, some Salt Lake City farmers markets are coming back this weekend. With COVID-19 protocols in place to keep everyone safe, the markets are ready to bring you fresh, local food.
Getting locally grown food can be a challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened all aspects of the food system, from the health of agricultural workers to food security and economic stability. Farmers are at risk of both losing their economic safety as well as getting physically ill.
Even in our grocery stores we are practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and trying our best to take precautions in response to COVID-19. The local farmers markets are no different.
The local farmers markets will have various protocols in place to protect vendors and market customers. The markets will provide directions for one-way travel paths within the market and will support social distancing measures and hand sanitizing. Additionally, the Downtown Farmers Market has moved its craft sellers online for the time being. The market’s safety measures include required masks and encouraging frequent hand sanitation by shoppers and vendors.
Whether you are a hardcore “locavore” or you just want to try eating a little more sustainably, taking the Eat Local Week Challenge will help you support the local economy, reduce your carbon footprint, and eat some delicious and nutritious food.
What is Eat Local Week?
Eat Local Week Utah challenges you to eat as locally as possible from September 7th to 14th. “Local” typically qualifies as food grown and produced within a 250 mile radius.While it may seem daunting to go without coffee for a week, thanks to the local farmers markets and the events throughout Eat Local Week, there are many ways to participate!
The week’s events include a roster of fun for the whole family starting with Wasatch Community Garden’s Tomato Sandwich Party in the Grateful Tomato Garden. The event serves up free and absolutely fresh pesto and tomato sandwiches. This week you can also support Wasatch Community Gardens and eat fresh, locally grown tomatoes at local restaurants participating in the 2019 Tomato Days.
Other festivities include the Punk Rock Farm to Taco Truck, a Local Spirit Tasting at the Downtown Caputos, and a week-long recipe contest.
Who doesn’t love getting food from our local farmers’ markets?
Shopping at local farmers’ markets is important for supporting our community as well as benefiting SLC’s surrounding environment. A few of our other favorite reasons include:
The fruits and vegetables you buy are the freshest and tastiest available. All of the food is grown by the seller within a short radius, picked fresh, and brought to local markets.
The SLC Downtown Farmers’ market only sells products that have been grown or hand raised by local farmers. This makes it easy to ask them what their farming practices are to make sure they align with your values.
The incredible variety of healthy fruits and veggies is inspiring. Need information or recipes for something you have never tried before? Farmers often have recommendations for preparing their products and are more than happy to share their favorites.
We are supporting family farmers! Buying directly from farmers gives them the valuable capital they need to keep operating and providing consumers with an alternative to mass-produced foods.
Buying local supports the economy, keeping more of our dollars invested in the community.
Many of our local farmers are in business because they love it, but it’s a tough, physically-demanding job with tight financial margins.
Salt Lake City understands the value of healthy, local food as well as the benefit that farmers bring to our local community and economy.
That’s why we’re allocating a total of $75,000 in microgrant funding to assist local, small-scale farmers who want to expand their operations with sustainability in mind. The microgrant fund is one of SLCgreen’s Local Food programs aimed at helping achieve our goal of increasing overall access to fresh, healthy food for all members of the SLC community.
In February, the City announced a microgrant program for local farmers in partnership with Urban Food Connections of Utah (UFCU). The fund will offer the majority of funding to local farmers over a two year period who want to expand their operations with sustainability in mind. (UFCU will receive a small portion of the funds to administer and help grow the program).
The grants will help farmers access technology, education, tools, and equipment to grow more produce and do so more sustainably.
“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 first of three grant cycles has just concluded. The program was competitive with 33 applicants requesting a total of $131,668.93 in microgrant funding. So while only a handful of awardees were chosen for this round, we know there is sizable demand for continued microgrant opportunities to support local farmers and the local food market. We hope to continue to work with UFCU to expand the program in the coming years to meet more of that demand.