Every summer, across the valley, fresh fruit goes to waste, falling off of neighborhood trees and rotting on sidewalks and in backyards. The good news is that with an abundance of fruit trees, Salt Lake City is in a unique position to cut down on waste and provide affordable access to healthy food.
That’s how the Fruitshare program was born. Salt Lake City worked with the non-profit Green Urban Lunch Box (GULB) to launch this program several years ago with the goal of reducing food waste and providing healthy fruit to residents in need. SLCgreen has also supported the program financially until it became self-sustaining.
Since then the program has expanded beyond Salt Lake City, to include other areas along the Wasatch Front.
Instead of losing the fruit to the landfill, the SLC FruitShare will bring volunteers to harvest your fruit for you! If you have a tree or orchard that produces an abundance of fruit each year, you can register you trees and help strengthen our local food system.
Here’s how it works:
GULB volunteers harvest the fruit
FruitShare participants (the homeowners) will receive one-third of what’s gathered.
The other two-thirds is split between the FruitShare volunteers and hunger relief programs.
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.
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.
“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!”
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!
Do you know a local farmer or organization that is seeking agricultural land to develop?
As part of Salt Lake County’s vision to create more opportunities for locally produced food, the Open Space and Urban Farming programs are seeking local farmers to manage land at Wheadon Park and Big Cottonwood Regional Park. The three separate sites have a total of 20.3 farmable acres.
The County is soliciting proposals from qualified firms “Proposer / Contractor” to provide management and operation of commercial farming enterprise at Big Cottonwood Regional Park (7 acres) and at two parcels at Wheadon Park (3.4 and 9.9 acres).
Salt Lake City and Urban Food Connections Announce Round Three of Funding for Local Food Microgrant Program
BUG Farms, a recipient of the first funding round from the Local Food Microgrant Program.
Applications are now open for local commercial farmers to seek assistance in expanding their operation and production of more organically-grown fruits and vegetables.
Salt Lake City launched the Local Food Microgrant Program in February 2017 in partnership with Urban Food Connections of Utah, the non-profit organization that runs the Downtown Farmers Market, Rio Grande Winter Market and Tuesday Harvest Market. The Salt Lake City Council, on the recommendation of the Administration and its Sustainability Department, in 2016 set apart $85,000 to initially fund the program.
The program offers funding to local farmers who want to expand their operations with sustainability in mind. The grants help farmers access technology, education, tools and equipment to grow more sustainable produce.
“Our goal is to increase the amount of healthy, locally-grown, organic food available in Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “By providing small grants to farmers, we are also supporting local, ecologically sustainable agriculture and the City’s economy.”
The third funding round is now open and will award $15,000. The microgrant program has so far generated substantial interest among small-scale commercial farmers. Read more
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 hungerrelief (Utah Food Bank, local food pantries, shelters, health clinics, and anti-hunger organizations)
The Urban Greens Market was started in 2016 to help increase the availability of local and sustainable produce in low access areas of Salt Lake City. Community members in these areas struggle to find fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods as a result of a lack of or insufficient grocery stores and fresh food markets in their neighborhoods.
Last year, the five different sites within walking distance of low access neighborhoods hosted the Urban Greens Market and provided fresh produce to over 900 customers. Over 6,832 pounds of produce was sold and 69% of customers reported eating more fruits and vegetables after shopping at the market.Read more