Farmers Feeding Utah was a win-win program

Farmers Feeding Utah was a win-win program

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Utah farmers were faced with nowhere to send their commodities because of supply chain breakdowns. At the same time, families were losing income and food pantries were unable to keep up because of increased demand and reduced donations.

Working with the Utah Farm Bureau and other agencies, Utah State University Extension raised money to pay farmers so they could bring food to Utahns in need. The program was beneficial for farmers whose products were purchased, and for families in need who received the donated food. More than 10,000 families were reached with a half-million pounds of food purchased from farmers. These events took place in Salt Lake City, Logan, St. George and the Navajo Nation.

More than 900,000 pounds of food were purchased from Utah and Southern Idaho farmers and distributed to Utahns at outdoor drive-through events. In addition, 605 live sheep were donated to members of the Navajo Nation as an extra source of food.

Farmers Feeding Utah can be used as a model for agricultural and public health professionals across the country as a way to successfully collaborate across disciplines to address disruptions to the food supply while simultaneously reducing food insecurity. This comprehensive approach made a significant impact in Utah and has the potential to be just as valuable for other communities across the country, especially those with large agricultural industries.

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