SALT LAKE CITY – Some neighborhoods on the west side of Salt Lake City are what the U.S.D.A. calls 'food deserts'.
Many people don’t own cars and with fewer grocery stores and more fast food chains, they don’t eat as healthy. But city leaders are reversing that trend with a brand new, mobile farmer’s market.
The Urban Greens Market is now open for business. Salt Lake City leaders unveiled the new mobile farmer’s market at the Sorenson Unity Center – one of five spots on its weekly route.
“It really makes fresh produce walkable. People can walk over from the house, get fresh produce and then walk back,” said Shawn Peterson with the Green Urban Lunch Box.
Peterson works with other non-profit groups such as, Real Food Rising, and Utahns Against Hunger, to grow, harvest, and sell locally grown produce.
“We also hire teens ages 14-17 to come work on our farm,” said Erin Olschewski with Real Food Rising. “They learn about job readiness skills, they learn about sustainable agriculture.”
The farmer’s market accepts food stamp benefits and Double Up Food Bucks – a program that matches dollar for dollar food stamp money spent on local produce. Since launching a few days ago, the concept is catching on.
“We had samples of peas and raspberries. The kids were like eating it up and the kids were looking through all the produce that we had,” said Olschewski.
“That`s what we love about the mobility of this. It takes a couple minutes to pack up, boom we`re in a new location,” said Peterson.
Esther Stowell lives in Poplar Grove. She planted a garden in her backyard a couple years ago.
“We have little kids. I want them to learn where things come from. They don`t just come from stores.”
She looks forward to the day when there are more grocery stores on the west side, but until then this is the next best option. Organizers are also banking on more people to take up farming.
“We need more farmers. The largest demographic is those over 70,” said Peterson.
The mobile farmer`s market will be in business through November.