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Third Farmers Feeding Utah project brings food to hundreds of west Salt Lake families

By Connor Richards daily Herald - | Jul 28, 2020
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Volunteer Bryan Searle, president of the Idaho Farm Bureau, loads a bag of corn into the trunk of a family’s vehicle at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Adam Gardiner, a Layton resident with U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney’s office, waits to give families food at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Lightning streaks across the sky as volunteers load families’ cars with food at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Paige Smith, 16, of Taylorsville, hands out bags of various food items to a family as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteers Tonya Durfee, right, and Melissa Carroll, both of Stansbury Park, fill bags with various foods at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Bags of potatoes wait to be given to community members at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Nelson Abbott, of Elk Ridge, loads a bag of potatoes into the trunk of a community member’s car with the help of fellow volunteer Jared Smith, of Taylorsville, at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Tyson Roberts, a Layton resident with the Utah Farm Bureau, unpacks bags of carrots to give to families at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Bags of corn await to be handed out to families at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Bryan Searle, president of the Idaho Farm Bureau, prepares to give a bag of corn to a family at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Mandee Grant, of Highland, prepares to give eggs to a family at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteers hand out food to families at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Taylor Smith, of Taylorsville, prepares to pick up a bag of potatoes to give to a family at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Nelson Abbott, of Elk Ridge, prepares to load a bag of potatoes into a family’s vehicle at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Bags of various food items await to be given to community members at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Scott Mugrage, president of the Alaska Farm Bureau, loads a bag held by his wife, Julia, with meat at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Mandee Grant, of Highland, hands eggs out to a community member at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Jacob Clark, of Sandy, loads a bag of potatoes into the bed of a community member’s truck at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Tonya Durfee fills a bag held by fellow volunteer Melissa Carroll, both of Stansbury Park, with various food items at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Volunteer Nelson Abbott, of Elk Ridge, asks how many bags of potatoes to load into a family’s vehicle at the Utah State Fairpark as part of the Farmers Feeding Utah project on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Hundreds of Utah families received food donations on Monday through a Utah Farm Bureau initiative launched to help residents and agricultural workers who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Utah Farm Bureau launched the project, Farmers Feeding Utah, on May 8 as “a way to get money to farmers and ranchers for their product and get that product to people that are hungry throughout our state,” according to President Ron Gibson.

Farmers and ranchers from across the state delivered potatoes, cheese, beef, eggs, milk, sweet corn and dried tart cherries to over 800 households in west Salt Lake Valley on Monday, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said at a press conference at the Utah State Fairpark.

“Thousands of families have been blessed because of what’s happening right now,” said Cox, who lives on a farm in Fairview. “And (there are) so many other farmers and ranchers who are in desperate need. This is truly a win-win.”

Farmers also delivered food to a number of Utah-based food pantries, including the Crossroads Urban Center and University Neighborhood Partners.

Over $530,000 food in retail value has already been donated through the Farmers Feeding Utah’s “miracle projects,” including thousands of pounds of lamb delivered to various chapters of the Navajo Nation in May and approximately 100,000 pounds of eggs and dairy products given to food pantries in northern Utah.

“Somebody told me that it’s a little audacious to refer to them as ‘miracle projects,’ ” the lieutenant governor said, “but I think that’s exactly what they are. When you look at the amount of money that’s been raised, the amount of food that has been given, it is nothing short of a miracle.”

Multiple farms in Utah County donated food that was delivered Monday, including Harward Farms in Springville and Payson Fruit Growers, according to Matt Hargreaves, Utah Farm Bureau spokesman.

Ken White, dean of Utah State University’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, said low-income families who have lost jobs, as well as farmers and ranchers, are “two groups that have been really impacted by this pandemic,” adding that “many people haven’t realized that this has really kind of been the perfect storm” for agricultural workers.

“Most of our farmers and ranchers have been weathering tariffs for the last two to three years,” said White. “And to be hit with this pandemic, it really puts a lot of them really on the brink of closing. So the idea that donors will come and donate money and that money can go to our farmers to help compensate them for these fine products that they’ve produced and really get those products to people that really need it makes this a really exciting project and very, very unique, in my opinion.”

Tyson Roberts, owner of Roberts Family Farm in Layton, said farmers are familiar with “the thought of uncertainty,” such as not being able to predict with certainty what the weather will look like heading into the growing season.

“But another thing farmers are about is they’re resilient,” the sixth-generation farmer said. “They find ways to solve problems, to get through tough times.”

Utahns Against Hunger, a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit, praised the Farmers Feeding Utah initiative for getting food to families who are most vulnerable and in need during the global health crisis and economic downturn.

“COVID-19 has really heightened the issue of food insecurity in communities across Utah,” Executive Director Gina Cornia said in a press release. “The work that is being done by Farmers Feeding Utah is critical in making sure that families and individuals have the food they need. It is especially important that when you look at the data, the need has always been there for neighborhoods on the west side of Salt Lake, and that need is only growing as this crisis continues.”

A number of Utah Farm Bureau partners have assisted with the Farmers Feeding Utah campaign, including the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Utah State University’s Hunger Solutions Institute and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To donate to the “West Salt Lake Miracle Project” or other Farmers Feeding Utah initiatives, visit http://farmersfeedingutah.org/.

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