By Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, Sustainability Office
For the first time, the University of Utah Farmers Market, which begins Aug. 27, will offer two programs to help students and food stamp recipients purchase healthier, local food.
The University of Utah Farmers Market, now in its eighth season, brings Utah-grown produce and locally made gifts to the center of campus. The market is open Thursdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Aug. 27-Oct. 8, on Tanner Plaza, just west of the Union.
The University of Utah Farmers Market aims to provide access to fresh produce, both physically and financially, to the campus and Salt Lake communities. To aid its mission, the market accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits. This year, the market will also offer Double Up Food Bucks and Double Your Dollars programs, which will provide additional funding to SNAP recipients and students to purchase more produce and nutritional food. These two programs will benefit communities traditionally underserved when it comes to the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables. Programs to double up funds for SNAP beneficiaries are part of a national food justice trend.
Double Up Food Bucks is a partnership with Utahns Against Hunger to provide more fresh produce to low-income individuals and families. With Double Up Food Bucks, the market will match spending by SNAP recipients, up to $10 per market, for the purchase of Utah-grown fruits and vegetables. Double Up Food Bucks was made possible by a grant awarded to Utahns Against Hunger from the Department of Agriculture, funded through the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Double Up Food Bucks not only increases the income of local small business owners but also increases the buying power of families,” said Gina Cornia, executive director of Utahns Against Hunger. “It is a win-win. Farmers make more money and low-income families have the resources to purchase more fruits and vegetables.”
Double Your Dollars returns to the market for its second season. Double Your Dollars allows University of Utah students and SNAP recipients to purchase two-for-one tokens, which can be used on produce or other pre-packaged food items, such as honey, jam and bread. Participants in Double Your Dollars can double up to $5 per market. For example, if a participant purchases the maximum amount of $5, they will receive $10 in tokens to spend on eligible market items.
“The program helps participants choose healthier food options and removes the stigma from food stamps,” said Analeigh Sanderson, student Farmers Market manager and project manager for Double Your Dollars.
The Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, the University of Utah’s green grant program, provided funding for Double Your Dollars.
2015 University of Utah Farmers Market schedule:
Aug. 27, Sustainability Day: Opening Day at the market features sustainable campus programs and initiatives; visit the Market Manager’s booth for information on gardening, green grants and the new Real Food Challenge. At the Market Manager’s booth, learn about the Veggie Valet, a market-long offering to keep your purchases refrigerated while you attend work or class.
Sept. 3, Happy Pets-Healthy People: Stressed about school? Stock up on puppy love during Happy Pets-Healthy People day, thanks to Rescue Rover’s adoptable dogs.
Sept. 10, Eat Local: Buy local at the U Farmers Market—visit vendors like Mai veggies, Tagge’s Famous Fruit, Jensen Farms peaches, Ogden Bay melons and Pyne Apple Farms to support Utah agriculture.
Sept. 17, Bike to the U: Get your bike on. Register your bike with University Police and get a free U-lock (while supplies last), or valet your bike while you shop the market and check out local bike resources.
Sept. 24, Buzz About Bees: Catch the buzz. Stop by the market to learn more about the campus bee hives and buy local honey from longtime vendor The Honey Stop.
Oct. 1, Sustainable Sweets: Bring your sweet tooth to Sustainable Sweets day and experience the mouth-melting goodness of Moondoggy’s Legit Gelato, Sugared caramels, Indulge Eats and more.
Oct. 8, Health and Quality of Life: Eat healthy after the market closes. Get more information on the U’s commitment to the Real Food Challenge, and learn how you can be a part of it.
About the Farmers Market
The University of Utah Farmers Market was first hosted in 2008 on the east side of Pioneer Memorial Theater. Since then, it has grown from around 10 vendors to more than 30 booths that sell local fruits and vegetables, hot lunches, canned items and crafts. The market is open to the campus community and the public.
About Sustainability Office
The University of Utah Sustainability Office supports education, research and engagement activities that develop and provide support for sustainable initiatives within the campus and community in order to create a culture of social, economic and environmental responsibility. Learn more at sustainability.utah.edu.