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Utah ranks low in use of local food, farmers markets

Utah ranks low in use of local food, farmers markets

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SALT LAKE CITY — Eating locally grown food is the latest in food trends, and it makes a lot of sense to support farmers in your area and cut down on shipping and the myriad other reasons proponents of the movement have touted.

But how easy is it to eat local in Utah? A Vermont-based group has released a ranking of states, called the Locavore Index, which ranks the states based on availability of local food. Utah falls in the bottom 10.

The index looks at the number of farmers markets, number of community-supported agriculture projects, number of food hubs that handle distribution of local food and the percentage of school districts with farm-to-school programs. (For more details on the stipulations of the index, visit the group's site: Strolling of the Heifers.)

Wasatch Gardens has a list of reasons to eat local, including, “Locally grown produce is fresh and therefore more nutritionally complete” and “Local organic food does not rely on petroleum-derived fertilizers and pesticides and also conserves energy by significantly reducing the distance food is transported.”

Surprisingly, the Beehive State ranks low in supporting local farmers. Perhaps this list of local eateries and farmers markets will help boost Utah’s place in the Locavore Index next year.

  • The Provo Farmers Market has a mission to provide a venue for fresh, locally grown products.
  • These community supported agriculture projects allow “subscribers” to pay a fee to help sustain the farm, and receive fresh local produce in return. (Click here for another list.)
  • Beehive Cheese features hand-crafted artisan cheese made from Utah milk.
  • The 9th West Farmers Market in Salt Lake — also called the People’s Market — encourages people to sell their own home-grown crops.
  • Creminelli Fine Meats has brought Italian methods and local meat together to create a uniquely Utah product.
  • The Downtown Farmers Market had its first-ever indoor market this year, and will be reprising its successful market in Salt Lake’s Pioneer Park starting June 14. The open-air market features over 100 local produce vendors.
  • Slow Food Utah started the Eat Local Challenge in 2007 when its founders tried to eat, for one week, food that had been grown within 250 miles of their home. Now the concept has become a great way to grow your local food network, as so many have taken on the Eat Local Challenge.
  • South Jordan, Park City, Lehi and the Wasatch Front all have their own farmers markets as well.
  • Utah’s Own has a more extensive list of farmers, beekeepers, orchards and cattle farms to keep you in the know about the local options.

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Amanda Taylor


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