The Place

Actions

Zero Hunger Hero: How the downtown farmers' market uproots hunger and waste

Posted at 9:12 AM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 11:12:52-04

Surviving 2020 has been a challenge for the Downtown Farmers' Market, who (like all Salt Lakers) went through an earthquake, hurricane-force winds, and - oh yeah - a pandemic.

But, just like its downtown market-goers, parent organization Urban Food Connections of Utah continues to rally local farmers to peddle their produce at Pioneer Park every Saturday (through October 24, 2020).

Alison Einerson is the Executive Director of Urban Food Connections of Utah, and is passionate about connecting her community with local food, while ending its hunger and waste entirely.

The farmers' market team partners with Wasteless Solutions (whom we featured last year in this series) to keep edible but unattractive produce out of the landfill. Wasteless Solutions picks up the market's un-sellable food, and takes it to Catholic Community Services, where it gets the culinary treatment, and transforms into meals that feed the hungry.

"It's a win-win for the farmers eliminating that waste and turning those ugly or bruised fruits and into meals that people in the community really need," Alison said.

Food waste from the market that is no longer edible (your half-eaten lunch, for example) is collected in compost bins during each event, then taken to the Anerobic Digestor (which we also featured in this series) to be turned into natural gas that powers vehicles and heats your home!

It seems nothing to goes to waste at the downtown farmers' market, including opportunities to give people DOUBLE their money's worth of produce! Those who have SNAP (food stamps) benefits can get the downtown farmers' market to match the amount of money they spend using their EBT cards.

It's called Double Up Food Bucks, and Alison says she is seeing more people than ever come to the market using their food stamps, and says good thing; because it's one of the most economical ways you can shop.

"You can stretch your dollar here in a way you can't at other places," she said.

Alison adds that these benefit programs, also benefit the food producers.

"More food goes into households that need it, and more money goes into the pocket of the farmers," she said.

Because of the organizations commitment to the people they serve and the community at large, Fox13 and Aubriana Martindale of Smith's Food and Drug presented Urban FOod COnnection of Utah with this month's Zero Hunger/Zero Waste Award.

If you happen to miss the downtown farmers' market this October, they will be back November 14, 2020 with the Winter Market, which will take place indoors at the Gateway, according to Alison.

For more information, visit https://slcfarmersmarket.org/about/urban-food-connections.