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Posts tagged ‘local food’

For the Love of Good Food: Checking in with Salt Lake City’s Resident Food Equity Advisors

Thanksgiving this year will be different as we all work together to keep our community safe. We reduce risk of spreading the COVID-19, and invent creative ways to keep connected to our families virtually while still being able to share in the traditional Thanksgiving traditions. As we all work through reimagining the holiday, the city’s Resident Equity Advisors are hard at work making sure everyone in our community – families, elderly, children, and all individuals suffering from food hardship have access to a healthy, nutritious food.

One in nine Utahns struggles with hunger, and equitable food access is still a major concern in our community. This year, we’re taking time to reflect on our connections with food. Food is a basic human right and is on of the foundational pieces of community resilience and SLCgreen’s focus areas. Our department launched the Resident Food Equity Advisors program to engage our vulnerable communities and empower them through shared decision making.

Read on to find out more about what these advisors have been working on!

Photo of brightly colored beets in a bowl.
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Farmers Markets & COVID-19

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.

Along with joining a CSA, farmers markets are one of the most direct ways to get locally grown produce and support the local economy. Luckily, the Wheeler Farm Market, Liberty Park Farmers Market, and the Downtown Farmers Market are set to open this weekend – with a few changes to help keep everyone safe!

Photograph of produce growing in rows at local farm in Utah.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

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.

Graphic of blue face mask on teal background.
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Going Green At Home: Eating More Vegetarian

Calf munching a leaf, courtesy of Wikimedia.
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Meatpacking plants across the country have become coronavirus hotspots, infecting workers and forcing some closures. This has made its way to the refrigerated section where some stores are limiting meat purchases to prevent shortages.

Livelihoods and health are at risk in many places, including Utah.

We wish a swift recovery to all of those who are ill, and a return to work as soon as it’s safe.

As a consumer, this state of affairs may have made you curious about how to cook healthy, satisfying meatless meals. The good news is that cooking more vegetarian meals– whether occasionally or frequently– is usually healthier for your family, as well as easier on the planet.

What we eat matters and it turns out that animal products have the largest carbon footprint.

Meatless Mondays

Did you know that cutting meat – and other foods – one day per week started as a national resource conservation strategy during wartime? Indeed, how and what we consume plays a central role during many national and international crises – from growing more food at home in Victory Gardens, to sharing our food resources at local food pantries.

Cabbage photo
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Introducing SLCgreen's Resident Food Equity Advisors Program

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:

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Get Ready to Eat Local this Winter

Our eating habits can contribute a lot to our carbon footprint. The process of growing, harvesting, transporting, processing, and packaging food all emits CO2. And the farther away from the farms we live, the bigger our environmental impact becomes. By eating more locally, we support the local economy and protect the environment by cutting down on the time and resources spent producing our food.

But what about in winter?!

Eating fresh and local produce can be harder depending on the season. Indeed, if you look at this seasonal food guide, you can see how the produce availability changes from month to month even in Utah.

Luckily, there are many ways to extend the harvest season and enjoy local food all year round.

Preserving the Fall Harvest

It may feel a little old fashioned, but making your own jams, marmalades, and jellies is a great way to make your local fruit last and reduce your food waste. Preserved fruit can be done in several ways, but a simple jam just requires high pectin fruit and sugar.

If you’re not into sweets, try pickling! You can get started with almost any vegetable with the basic (and delicious!) refrigerator pickle approach.

Preserving fruits and veggies doesn’t have to be as simple as jams and pickles. Depending on your recipe, you can make soups and sauces and other delicious meals from your fresh fall harvest and freeze them until you need a taste of summer to lighten the midwinter mood.

Downtown Winter Farmers Market Logo

Find Seasonal Treats at the Winter Farmers Market

Thanks to the local farmers with greenhouses, cold storage, and hydroponic systems, Utah’s harvest season is a lot longer.  The Downtown Farmers Market is helping extend the season with the Winter Farmers Market!

With many of our favorite farmers from the summer Downtown Farmers Market, the Winter Farmers Market will run from November 9th to April 18th on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm at the Rio Grande Depot.

As we approach the winter, don’t give up on eating fresh, locally grown food!

Eat Local Week 2019

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.

Eat Local logo on image of beets.

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.

Eat Local Week Schedule.
Eat Local Week schedule provided by the Urban Food Connections of Utah.
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Happy Anniversary to SLC’s Square Kitchen!

Welcome to SLCgreen Connections, an occasional series highlighting SLCgreen’s fantastic local partners—the people and organizations with whom we work closely to make Salt Lake City a greener, more vibrant, and sustainable city!

Can you believe it? It’s been over a year since Salt Lake City’s Square Kitchen opened. This labor of love took 8 years to fully realize and was one of our Department’s core Local Food access programs.

In that time, Square Kitchen’s Analia Valdemoros and Tham Soekotjo have truly taken the idea of an “incubator kitchen” from a dream to a thrilling reality while maintaining a strong focus on client support, flexibility, and creativity.

We met with Ana and Tham at the Square Kitchen facility on 751 West and 800 South to learn more about their first year of operation and take a peek at some of the local food businesses that got their start at the unique incubator space.

Square Kitchen
751 W. 800 S.
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SLC and Urban Food Connections of Utah Announce Latest Round of Local Food Microgrant Winners!

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Winners of the Cycle Four Local Food Micro-Grant

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, in 2017, Salt Lake City launched the Local Food Microgrant Program with Urban Food Connections of Utah, the non-profit organization that runs the Downtown Farmers Market, Rio Grande Winter Market, and Tuesday Harvest Market.



“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!” 


Mayor Biskupski

There have been three funding cycles so far (check out round 1, round 2, and round 3 recipients). We’re excited to allocate the latest $15,000 for a running total of $60,000 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 helping achieve our goal of increasing overall access to fresh, healthy food for all members of the SLC community.

Congratulations are in order for seven Utah farms!

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The 2019 Local Food Microgrant is Now Open for Farmers

Pomona Produce is one of SLC’s local food microgrant recipients and is currently growing food on one of our urban farming parcels.

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.

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Check Out this Interview with the SLCgreen Director

sustainable nation.

The Sustainable Nation Podcast interviewed our very own Sustainability Director -Vicki Bennett. Check out the podcast to hear insights and advice from the leader of our City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green sustainability program.

The Sustainable Nation Podcast produces interviews with global leaders in sustainability and was developed to provide information and insights from the world’s most inspiring change-makers.

Vicki_Bennett

Vicki Bennett has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green sustainability program for 17 years and has integrated sustainability policies throughout government operations and Salt Lake City as a whole. She works with both city agencies and the public to create a more livable community.

Vicki’s experience includes sustainability program management, climate change mitigation, and adaptation, energy policy, food security, waste diversion, and environmental compliance.

She is a founding member of both the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Utah Climate Action Network. She holds a degree in Chemistry from the University of California at San Diego, and an Executive MBA from the University of Utah.

The interview gives listeners a glimpse of Vicki’s journey from a lab chemist to her current role as the leader of Salt Lake City Green. Vicki has forged some of the City’s most innovative programs to ensure a healthy sustainable future for us all. Give the podcast a listen to learn more!

 

For more information on Climate Positive, please visit: http://www.slcgreen.com/climatepositive and follow #ClimatePositiveSLC for continuing updates.