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Salt Lake City announces Food Equity Microgrant awardees

Salt Lake City—Today, Mayor Erin Mendenhall and the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department announced the list of groups that have been awarded funding through the SLC Food Equity Microgrant pilot program, which launched earlier this year.

The new grant program provided $35,000 in total funding to increase residents’ access to fresh, healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant food by supporting community-led projects aligned with the recommendations from the City’s Resident Food Equity Advisors’ 2021 Report. Projects led by and serving those who identify as members of groups that have been most negatively impacted by the food system were prioritized for funding, and accessibility and equity were central to the program’s design and goals.

Thirteen community groups engaged in projects that address one or more of the grant priority categories (growing food, inclusive outreach for food resources, dignified food access, and healthy food environments) were selected for funding. The awardees are: Carry the Water Garden, East Central Community Council, First United Methodist Church, The Food Justice Coalition, Grünhof Greens, Jayhawks, New American Goat Club, Peace Gardens International Academy, Salt Lake Canning Co, Salt Lake City Food Not Bombs, Somali Community Self Management Agency, Vanavil Community Garden, and Wasatch Community Gardens/Artes de Mexico en Utah.

Additionally, 45 individual residents or households were awarded $250 each to support their own home food production efforts such as vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees, food preservation, backyard chickens, and beekeeping.

“This microgrant program is a way for Salt Lake City to support the critical and diverse food equity and access work that organizations, individuals, and businesses are leading in our community,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “I’m so grateful to our awardees for the incredible services and programs they provide to ensure everyone in Salt Lake can get the food they need.  I’m thrilled to support community solutions through this program.”

Salt Lake City Sustainability’s Food Equity Program Manager Maria Schwarz said, “Access to funding is a huge barrier for community groups and organizations that are working to strengthen our local food system. These organizations know what needs to be done and many have been doing it for years, but many had never applied for or received any type of grant before. It’s important that the City is taking step to remove barriers and center equity and accessibility as we put money into the community through these grants.”

One recipient is Wasatch Community Gardens and Artes de Mexico en Utah. The SLC grant will help fund the Families as Teachers program, which is part of the organizations’ Sabores de Mi Patria collaboration. Kimberly Yapias and Vicky Lowe, of those organizations, said the funding will “help the sustainability of the program and help people feel like they have the information, resources, and support they need” to garden in their own communities.

The Mayor and City Council renewed the SLC Food Equity Microgrant program’s budget for Fiscal Year 2024. Applications for the next round of funding will open in early 2024. Interested residents and organizations can visit the program page to learn more at: www.slc.gov/sustainability/food-equity-grant/

This year, the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department is also undertaking an update to the Salt Lake City Community Food Assessment and just wrapped up the second cohort of the Resident Food Equity Advisors’ program—both of which will inform future City work on food.