Last week we celebrated Utah Climate Week but did you know it was Eat Local Week too? This is a weeklong event developed by Urban Food Connections of Utah, that challenges participants to eat food grown or raised within a 250-mile radius.
Eat Local Week is intended to highlight and celebrate regional harvests, local agriculture, and Utah’s agricultural heritage. Supporting strong local food systems is one way to build a more resilient community and it can help reduce emissions. Climate change, rising temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns are rapidly changing our agricultural system.
On July 17, Salt Lake City reached our all-time city record high temperature of 107owhich was repeated several times throughout this summer and into September! High temperatures during extended growing seasons affect the health and yield of crops that haven’t been adapted to a specific regional climate. Supporting our local farmers and their farms builds and invests in communities and helps them become more resilient to our changing climate.
What does “local food” mean?
Local food is grown and produced within a small distance from where the consumer purchases it. On average, produce in the United States travels 1,500 miles from production point to the consumer’s plate. Local food, on the other hand, usually travels a maximum distance of 100-250 miles. Some common locally produced food items include fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, eggs, dairy products, and honey.
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.
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.
by SLCgreen outreach coordinator Stephan Sveshnikov
As part of SLCgreen’s goal to reach zero waste by 2040, Salt Lake City signed on to a new initiative, the U.S. Plastics Pact. The Plastics Pact affirms SLCgreen’s commitment to a circular economy for plastics, which envisions that all the plastics used by our community will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable, so that they stay in the economy and out of the environment.
What is the U.S. Plastics Pact?
The U.S. Plastics Pact brings together government entities, businesses, nonprofits, research institutions, and other stakeholders in a common vision of a circular economy for plastics (check out the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Initiativefor more information!). Having a diverse group of organizations sign the pact ensures that the problem of plastics can be tackled at every level where issues arise, collectively.
This vision aims to ensure that plastics never become waste by eliminating the plastics we don’t need, innovating to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulating all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.
By joining the U.S. Plastics Pact, activators agree to deliver the following four targets:
Target 1: Define a list of packaging that is to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate them by 2025
Target 2: 100% of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025
Target 3: Undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging by 2025
Target 4: By 2025, the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging will be 30%
Signing the pact is part of Salt Lake City’s Zero Waste Resolution, in which the city adopted “Zero Waste as a guiding principle for all city operations and for outreach and actions within the community” and set the ambitious goal of eliminating waste by 2040. The Climate Positive 2040 plan, which followed the resolution, provided a roadmap to reaching zero waste. The City’s goal is to reach 50% diversion rate in the next several years, with a 70% diversion goal by 2025.
What are we doing to get there?
Salt Lake already has a number of innovative programs in addition to our curbside recycling program to ensure we meet our ambitious goals.
Our Waste & Recycling Division is actively researching ways to recycle the few plastics we currently can’t process
If going zero waste is one of your long-term goals, Utah Recycling Alliance offers resources including pop-up CHaRM events, and fix-it clinics. And although Plastic Free July has already passed this year, you can apply the same plastic free tips to implement the circular economy on a smaller scale in your own household.
Check out the full guide to what you can recycle in Salt Lake City’s curbside program here (don’t forget, you can recycle plastic bags and films and many grocery stores) and remember, reducing and reusing are the first two steps to zero waste, before you even start recycling! As the last step on that chain, containers you put into your SLC bins are recycled in North America and turned into new plastic products, keeping them in use.
Salt Lake City Announces Enhancements to Call 2 Haul Bulk Waste Collection Program
SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City today announced several key enhancements to its bulk waste program Call 2 Haul.
Effective immediately, the new enhancements include:
The addition of a second pick up annually for green waste only. Residents will be able to schedule two collections per year—one for bulky items such as old furniture and appliances, and one for yard waste up to 24 inches in diameter.
In addition to large branches, brush and bushes will now be accepted. These should be cut to five feet in length or less. Residents may also continue to request extra brown compost containers for temporary placement at no extra charge.
Neighborhood group scheduling. Up to 20 households can now schedule a neighborhood cleanup event for either bulky items or green waste.
“We’re excited to provide greater convenience and enhanced service to our residents with these changes to Call 2 Haul,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “We heard from our residents who wanted an option to organize collection events with their neighbors. We also heard that they wanted easier ways to dispose of green waste. These changes will help meet those needs, while maintaining our commitment to waste diversion and protecting neighborhoods from dumping.”
Salt Lake City and 22 other Utah communities are making exciting progress towards a transition to net-100% clean electricity by 2030. This means that our electric grid will be shifting to clean energy, helping us reduce our community carbon emissions and build community resiliency. On top of that, Salt Lake City is also working towards achieving 90% clean electricity for municipal operations.
In 2019, Salt Lake City passed a joint resolution to shift to net-100% clean electricity for the entire community. To achieve this ambitious goal, Salt Lake City is working with the Community Renewable Energy Program, a program made possible by the Community Renewable Energy Act (House Bill 411). This Act allows local governments to procure net-100% renewable electricity on behalf of residents and businesses.
Working with the state’s largest investor-owned utility, Rocky Mountain Power, 23 Utah Communities became eligible to participate in this innovative program . Powering the community with net-100% renewable electricity is an essential step towards a robust clean energy future for Salt Lake City. Now, the 23 Utah 100 Communities are building a Governance Agreement to guide the communities in our steps forward.
Ask Us Anything!
Mayor Mendenhall and SLCgreen are eager to answer your questions about this ground breaking program. On Wednesday, May 26, we’ll be answering your questions about the Utah 100 coalition, Salt Lake City’s 100% clean electricity goals, and our exciting progress in shifting municipal operations to 90% clean electricity.
Now, it’s time for a new program manger to pick up the torch.
SLCgreen is thrilled to welcome Brian Emerson to the role! Let us introduce you . . .
Brian Emerson has over 15 years of experience working on food and sustainability issues. He is passionate about the role cities can play in building more just and sustainable food systems, and is eager to support programs that connect social justice and community resiliency.
Brian’s career began at Wasatch Community Gardens, helping educate our communities and transform unused spaces into vibrant gardens. Since then, he has worked with Local Futures, researching different approaches to addressing food, energy, and economic needs. Brian also worked with Utahns Against Hunger, where he advocated for critical food justice and anti-poverty policies. In his role at Utahns Against Hunger, Brian witnessed the connections between equity and food access, and helped support efforts to alleviate these disparities.
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!
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.
We’re excited to let you know the winners of the SLC Corp 2018 Clear the Air Challenge. You may recall that this year we organized an internal bracket between SLC Corp departments to complement the statewide competition. The internal winner of the most brackets would ultimately win the “Mayor’s Cup” for their efforts.
This week’s Clean Air Champion tip is about wood burning.
Even though burning wood is festive at this time of year, it’s a significant polluter (estimated to contribute 5-26% of total pollution on a winter day, according to a presentation from Dr. Kelly Kerry to UCAIR).
Before you burn, make sure to check to see if it’s a no burn day.
The Salt Lake County Health Department prohibits burning solid fuel in fireplaces or wood burning stoves and bans outdoor fires (including bonfires, patiopits, and charcoal grill fires) on days that the State of Utah designates as either mandatory or voluntary air action (no burn) days.