Salt Lake City supports a variety of local food policy and programs
Salt Lake City is committed to providing and facilitating funding for local food programs to enhance access to fresh, healthy, and sustainable food.
Use the drop-down menus below to browse different category areas of SLCgreen’s local food program:
Grow Your Own
Grow Your Own
- Community Gardens. Salt Lake City has taken measures to increase food production locally through community gardens and urban farming. It also has pledged full support of Salt Lake County’s initiative to increase urban farming along the Wasatch Front.
- Composting. Composting is nature’s way of recycling. You can turn fruit, vegetables and yard waste into dark, crumbly, sweet-smelling soil amendment. Composting saves you money by lowering your garbage bill and avoiding the purchase of commercial fertilizers. The addition of compost helps your garden and plants, saves water and, by keeping it out of your garbage bin, saves landfill space.
- Backyard Chickens. Salt Lake City has made changes to city ordinances to relax restrictions and allow residential chicken coops. Residential chickens benefit our community in a variety of ways while providing a sustainable, healthy and fun source of food.
- Beekeeping. Residential bees benefit our community in a variety of ways while providing a sustainable, healthy and fun source of food. Playing a larger role in the production of the food on your table will help foster a greater understanding of and appreciation for what you eat.
- SLC FruitShare. Salt Lake City provided seed funding for several years to help launch the SLC FruitShare in partnership with the Green Urban Lunch Box. Residents can register their fruit trees with Green Urban Lunch Box to receive harvesting help. Surplus fruit is donated to local food assistance programs.
- Food Mapping. Have you ever wondered how much food you could grow in your yard if you took the time to garden? The Food Map helps you find an estimate of your yard’s food production potential and provides resources that will educate and empower you to grow more food.
Buy Local Food
Buy Local Food
- Farmers’ Markets. Community gardens, urban farms, public lands, urban plots, and even rooftops are all innovative ways to address food security, environmental issues, and the need for green space in an urban setting. They also support Salt Lake City’s goal of increasing direct access to fresh foods and promoting community-based food production to minimize the environmental impacts of transporting food long distances. Click here for a list of farmers’ markets in Salt Lake City.
- Local First. Local First Utah is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to strengthen communities and local economies by promoting, preserving, and protecting local, independently owned businesses throughout Utah. Organized in 2005 by a small number of volunteer business owners and community minded residents, Local First Utah today has more than 2,700 locally owned and independent business partners, including citizens and government organizations across the state.
Get Involved to Minimize Food Waste
Check out these local resources for volunteer opportunities to reduce food waste:
- The Curbside Compost Container. It’s not just for yard waste! Use your brown can to dispose of fruit & vegetable scraps, eggshells, tea bags, and coffee filters too.
- SLC FruitShare. Residents can register their fruit trees to receive harvesting help. Surplus fruit is donated to local food assistance programs. Volunteers are needed to help harvest.
- Food Rescue US – Salt Lake City Chapter. Check out Waste Less Solutions, the local affiliate of Food Rescue US. They are committed to ending American food insecurity by engaging volunteers to transfer fresh, usable, excess food from grocers, restaurants, and other sources to hungry families throughout the US. Download the app and sign up as a volunteer or a business.
- Backyard Gardenshare— You can also work with Waste Less Solutions share your surplus homegrown vegetables and fruit with local families, refugees, and immigrants who have little or no access to fresh produce. Fight hunger, reduce food waste, and build community.
- Wasatch Resource Recovery. The anaerobic digester is now available for the general public and business clients to use for disposing of all types of food waste. This facility processes organic material– including food scraps, liquids, and manufactured food waste– and turns it into sustainable resources, namely biogas and bio-based fertilizer. Contact Momentum Recycling if your business is interested in having food waste hauled to the digester.
SLC Local Food Programs
SLC Local Food Programs
- Resident Food Equity Advisors program (RFEA). In 2020, Salt Lake City began a unique engagement program for residents from historically underrepresented and underserved communities to participate in how Salt Lake City tackles healthy food access. The 2020-2021 RFEA was comprised of 13 resident leaders who attended monthly meetings and engaged in a collaborative, inclusive process to strategize solutions that would be most beneficial for their communities. The 2020-21 program culminated in a final report with key ideas and recommendation for how SLC can advance food equity. The 2022-23 Advisors started meeting in April and will focus on prioritizing and refining a few of the recommended equitable food solutions identified during the 2020-21 program.
- Food Policy Council. The Food Policy Council (previously the Food Policy Task Force) is comprised of a diverse group of individuals and organizations interested in improving food policy in Salt Lake City. They are working to identify policy and program opportunities which will improve access to more fresh and nutritious food for all Salt Lake residents. The Food Policy Council (FPC) is also working to identify opportunities to expand urban farming, preserve open space and to empower residents to live more sustainably.
- Urban Farming. As documented in the 2013 Community Food Assessment, Salt Lake City has lost almost all of its agricultural land, while the average age of farmers in Utah has risen to 57. Furthermore, just 3 percent of the fruits and 2 percent of the vegetables consumed by local residents are grown in Utah. Launched in 2017, the Urban Farming Program works on four primary objectives: preserve existing agricultural lands, identify City plots that can be used for agriculture to support local food production, expand opportunities for young farmers, and to increase the amount of local, sustainable food available to the community. There are now three urban farms leased to local farmers on City-property. Read about one of them.
- Community Food Assessment. To help make relevant and practical decisions about Salt Lake City’s future, Salt Lake City embarked on a project to look at challenges and opportunity for a more sustainable local food system. Recognizing the need for more information about the current state of it’s own food system, the City initiated a process to identify important information that could shed light on specific influences and impacts within the local food framework.
- Culinary Incubator Kitchen. The “Square Kitchen” opened in 2018 and was started with seed money and project guidance from SLCgreen. Incubator kitchens are designed to give small food businesses a competitive advantage when entering or continuing in the local marketplace by providing an affordable certified kitchen space for food prep.
- Local Microgrant Fund. Salt Lake City disbursed $85,000 in grants from 2017-19 to local farmers, through Urban Food Connections of Utah, to support local, sustainable food production. The microgrant program allowed area farmers, such as those who sell at the Downtown Farmers Market and Winter Market at the Rio Grande, to apply for funds to access technology, education, tools and equipment to grow more organic local produce. Examples included the installation of sustainable farming techniques, building hoop houses or greenhouses to extend the growing season, purchase of organic seed, continuing education for farmers, or sponsorship of labor costs.
- Urban Greens Market. The Urban Greens Mobile Market was a pilot program which ran from 2016-2018. Salt Lake City established the program in partnership with the Green Urban Lunch Box, Utahns Against Hunger, and Utah Community Action Program’s Real Food Rising. Check out our mobile market toolkit (PDF) to learn more.
Lower Your Food's Carbon Footprint: Dining with Discretion
All food comes with a carbon footprint that we should be aware of so we can make informed choices.
In Utah, our food choices contribute to 25% of the household carbon footprint, and the impacts occur throughout the entire life-cycle of the food we eat. Therefore, understanding the food system allows us to make dietary decisions that have a direct impact on climate change, as well as our local environment and economy. Click here to learn more about Dining With Discretion.
Here more about the connection between food and equity, and how Salt Lake City is working to improve our food system and food access from former Program Manager Supreet Gill: