Urban Community Farm Begins Harvest, Starts Pop-Up Donation Tables in Low-Income Communities
Nestled on a hill below Utah State University sits a quarter acre farm of over 100 seasonal crops cultivated and harvested by the Utah Conservation Corps and their volunteers. These plants, however, are not being shipped to grocery stores or even sold at farmers markets.
Instead, the Urban Community Farm is dedicated to giving its produce to the most vulnerable and food insecure Cache Valley citizens. Through partnerships with food pantries and recovery groups, the farm donates over 4,000 pounds of food a year, and is constantly expanding its capabilities.
This month, volunteers are beginning to set up pop-up donation tables at dollar stores, low income housing locations and near bus stops to give their first harvests to those who cannot buy fresh, local and organic produce.
Jenn Sapp helped start the farm in 2016 and is now an Americorps Vista volunteer who manages the farm and its volunteers.
“I feel great being able to offer that," Sapp said. "Food is an equality issue and it should be equal access to do this, and to know how to do this.”
Researchers from the University of California - Berkeley found that by transforming empty lots and abandoned yards in Oakland into vegetable gardens, communities can produce up to 25 percent of the food they eat - in their own neighborhood. Sapp says in Utah, the same thing could happen, but they cannot do it alone.
“This place is all about increasing healthy food access to the community but it is also about increasing participation in this unique food movement,” Sapp said.
The Urban Community Farm is open to volunteers Wednesdays through Fridays, 8 am to noon.