With housing costs along the Wasatch Front climbing 80% since 2005, you might expect the Bastian family, farmers in Salt Lake County, to cash in for a tidy paycheck. But instead they opted to donate 100 acres of prime farmland to Utah State University Extension, with the goal of building a center for increasing agricultural literacy.
“As Salt Lake County continued to be developed, this was one of the last large agricultural operations left in the county,” said Dave Francis, the director of USU Extension. “They felt strongly that they love the land and they wanted to preserve at least some of it, to always have the community remember where their food comes from. USU aligns well with their beliefs in the importance of agriculture.”
Francis said that USU Extension wants to build a youth STEM outreach center, a natural resource education center, a food production area and an animal husbandry area on the 100 acres.
“The future center will be located in unincorporated Salt Lake County on the west side. That will become a demonstration center for agricultural literacy, home gardening, equestrian areas and a residential facility so that kids from around the state can come and really extend their learning experience. It’s really a unique opportunity,” Francis said.
The next steps are to assess the feasibility of their plans, and to fundraise to build the center.