This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
If the people can't make it to the farmers market, bring the farmers market to the people.
A new program launched Monday in Salt Lake City intends to do just that by bringing locally grown produce to west-side neighborhoods.
The new Urban Greens Market will serve the Glendale and Poplar Grove communities by circulating among five sites to make available locally grown fruits and vegetables at affordable prices.
Those west-side neighborhoods have been targeted because they meet the "food desert" designation created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture they have a dearth of grocery stores but an abundance of fast-food outlets and convenience stores. The areas also have some of the lowest vehicle-ownership rates in the country.
In October, Salt Lake City's Department of Sustainability partnered with local nonprofits Green Urban Lunch Box and Real Food Rising a program affiliated with Utah Community Action and Utahns Against Hunger to win a $54,000 USDA grant to create the Urban Greens Market.
"Ensuring that all Salt Lake City residents have access to healthy and affordable food is a major priority for my administration," said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. "This can be a real challenge for our Glendale and Poplar Grove communities, which are situated in the largest food desert in Salt Lake City. The Urban Greens Market will make affordable, local produce more accessible to our residents in these neighborhoods."
Each location will accept food stamps and "Double Up Food Bucks" a nutrition-incentive program run by Utahns Against Hunger.
"We're thrilled that Urban Greens Market is participating in the Double Up program this season," said Brian Emerson of Utahns Against Hunger. "The program helps low-income families take home more fruits and vegetables, supports Utah farmers and strengthens the local economy by keeping food dollars circulating in the community."
The market also provides practical job-training skills by employing teens from the Utah Community Action's youth development program, said Haley Eckels of Utah Community Action.
"If you visit an Urban Greens Market farm stand this summer," she said, "you may have a chance to meet one of our youth who are gaining skills in job readiness, communication, positive relationships, and healthy living as part of the Real Food Rising team."
The produce is grown locally by farmers working with Green Urban Lunch Box (GULB) and Real Food Rising. The mobile market provides another venue for farmers to sell their produce and, in turn, supports GULB's incubator farm program, said Shawn Peterson of Green Urban Lunch Box.
"As we work to increase the number of farmers in the Salt Lake area, it's very important to also increase the number of customers buying their produce," he said. "We hope this gets people hooked on delicious farm-fresh food, creating more demand for new urban farmers, and, ultimately, driving up consumption of local food."
The Urban Greens Market will be hosted by the Sorenson Unity Center, Glendale-Mountain View Community Learning Center, Hartland Partnership Center, Neighborhood House and Sherwood Park from now until Nov. 14.
More information on the program's locations and hours at http://www.SLCgreen.com/urbangreens.
email@example.com Urban Greens Market schedule
Community Learning Center, 1388 S. Navajo St., Mondays & Thursdays 2-4 p.m.
Hartland Partnership Center, 1578 W. 1700 South, Mondays & Thursdays 5-7 p.m.
Sorenson Unity Center, 855 California Ave., Mondays 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Neighborhood House, 1050 W. 500 South, Mondays & Fridays 4-6:30 p.m.
Sherwood Park, 1400 W. 400 South, Fridays 12-2 p.m.