Salt Lake City seeking sustainable Farmers

Do you have a green thumb? If so, Salt Lake City has a unique opportunity for you to help maintain Salt Lake City’s agricultural heritage. The City is currently seeking applications from Farmers to grow fruits and vegetables on over 1.5 acres of City owned land adjacent to the Sorenson Unity Center at 1333 South 800 West.

Under the conditions of the Request for Proposal, the Farmer selected for the 5-year term, will be required to use sustainable methods, sell as much of their produce to Salt Lake City markets, stores, and restaurants, and also have a farm stand that accepts Food Stamp EBT. Sustainable methods include the use of drip irrigation as well as prohibition on the use of toxic chemicals, chemical pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizer.

“We expect this local farm, like community gardens around the City, to become a positive part of the surrounding neighborhood,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “By encouraging the production of organic fruits and vegetables in the City, and ensuring they are accessible to people from all walks of life, we are promoting health and working to end food deserts in our communities.”

A 2013 Community Food Assessment documented that Salt Lake City has lost almost all of its agricultural land, while the average age of farmers in Utah has risen to 57. Furthermore, just 3 percent of the fruits and 2 percent of the vegetables consumed by local residents are grown in Utah.

“We need to focus on preserving existing agricultural lands in the region and get more creative with how and where we grow food within the city,” said Bridget Stuchly, Program Director for the Department of Sustainability, who oversees Salt Lake City’s food programs. “By doing so, we can expand opportunities for young farmers interested in making a livelihood out of growing food.”

The goal is to have a farm in operation by this growing season, and to expand the program when appropriate land is identified.

“Because access to land is a large barrier for new farmers, the City is looking at suitable plots we could make available and this location was a natural fit,” said Lisa Shaffer, Director of Public Services, who helped facilitate the project.

Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2017. Interested parties can learn more at: https://bids.sciquest.com/apps/Router/PublicEvent?CustomerOrg=StateOfUtah

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