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A Look At USU Hunger Solutions Institute's Partnership With Farmers Feeding Utah

This Program Ran Back In July 2020

Shalayne Smith Needham- farmers Feeding Utah is a program created by the Utah Farm Bureau that raises money to buy products from farmers to be donated to people in need within the community. So far, the program has helped people in the Navajo Nation and in northern Utah, and we'll be hosting an event in Salt Lake City on July 27.

The Utah Farm Bureau is partnering with Utah State University's Hunger Solutions Institute. And joining me to talk about that partnership is Heidi LeBlanc, Director of us us hunger solutions Institute. And Heidi, you are also involved in other programs at USU. Give us a bit of a background on yourself.

Heidi LeBlanc- I'm the director of the Create Better Health SNAP-Ed program with Utah State University. We work with the Department of Workforce Services, providing outreach to low income families throughout the state of Utah.

We provide nutrition education, physical activity education, and then we also try to help change environments and change the system. One of our perfect fits with this project was our policy systems and environment changes that we try to do. One of the things that we try to do through that is change things like food systems getting food access to people in need.

SSN- What role does USU Hunger Solutions Institute play in these events like the one coming up later this month?

HL-Our role is we identify partners and agencies, we have identified audiences and people in need. Through this project, one of our key things that we try to do through the Hunger Solutions Institute is to really hone in and find where people possibly being missed through other services, or through COVID, how it's caused so many impacts and that have affected so many lives. COVID has definitely affected people. And we want to make sure that we are addressing that need, as well as just regular, “how do we get food into people's hands”.

SSN- Give us a bit more information about the upcoming event in Salt Lake City.

HL-That will be at the end of July, and we're looking to provide out about $100,000 worth of food. We've had very charitable donors. We're working with some agencies down there that have huge needs for very diverse populations that just aren't getting commodities and resources. We're going to probably double about what we served in northern Utah. And part of that will be because we have some donations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

SSN- And where can people go to get more information on this project?

HL-, there's actually multiple ways that you can get involved. So if you're an agency and a partner that wants to join forces on this program, you go in there and there's a form for those people to fill out. If you want to do just a small donation, you can fill it out there as well.

Shalayne Smith Needham has worked at Utah Public Radio since 2000 as producer of Access Utah. She graduated from Utah State University in 1997 with a BA in Sociology, emphasis on Criminology. A Logan native, she grew up with an appreciation for the great outdoors and spends her free time photographing the Western landscape and its wildlife.