Everybody’s got to eat, but not everybody appreciates the work farmers put into bringing food from the soil so you can bring it home from the grocery store. That’s why at this Saturday’s Downtown Farmers Market the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) will be pulling out all the stops with a menagerie of all things good and earthy to attract folks to the booth to learn more about farming and food sustainability. When your not busy petting goats, checking out the beehive with live male bees (they don’t sting), or getting a tutorial on threshing wheat, you can also learn about why food dependence is going to be a critical thing for the state and nation in coming years.
For Jed Christensen, UDAF’s Director of Marketing, the time is right to make hay while the sun is still shining by alerting the public to what could be a growing concern over U.S. food production. He cites a study that shows that between 2002 and 2007, Utah alone lost 600,000 acres of farmland.
“I know we’re a growing state and that’s a good thing,” Christensen says. “But once prime agricultural land is turned into asphalt lots and strip malls that’s the last crop it will produce.” Christensen’s concern is that in the future food dependency from foreign imports may present international security concerns to the country much the same way oil has.
“Historically we have been able to provide food for ourselves and other nations, but our imports have doubled over the last 15 years. I know there’s nothing wrong with having a cantaloupe in February or strawberries in December, but let’s not become totally dependent on foreign food—let’s keep our agriculture strong,” Christensen says.
Visitors to the booth can learn more about farming and food preservation techniques and learn more about becoming an AgriAdvocate.
Downtown Farmer’s Market, 300 W. 300 South, Saturday, Aug. 14, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.