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P2 Farmers Feeding Utah: An Innovative Approach to Increasing Healthy Food Access and Supporting Local Agriculture

      Objective

      Farmers Feeding Utah (FFU) aims to help Utah farmers and families who have been impacted by COVID-19. FFU temporarily improves participants' food security, increases the availability of fresh, local food in pantries, and provides product outlets for farmers.

      Use of Theory or Research

      Utah has seen a 300% increase in the need for food assistance since the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020. Additionally, processing shortages and market losses have left many Utah farmers without a market for their products. FFU provides a food system change that connects families in need to fresh, local food.

      Target Audience

      FFU is targeted towards food insecure families and struggling farmers. Families experiencing intergenerational poverty are given priority at the food distribution events. Locations for FFU events are identified by need, based on increases in unemployment and SNAP enrollment.

      Program Description

      FFU is a partnership between the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation, Utah Farm Bureau, and Utah's SNAP-Ed program, Create Better Health. Individual and corporate donations are collected to purchase nutrient-dense, locally produced foods to distribute to those in need.

      Evaluation Methods

      FFU collects outcome data at the distribution events, including the household size of those reached and effective marketing strategies. Additionally, the number of farmers and food pantries supported by the program and pounds of food donated are collected.

      Results

      To date, FFU has held 8 food distributions across the state of Utah, including in the Navajo Nation. Over 1.1 million pounds of food, including produce, meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, and live sheep, have been distributed to over 21,000 families and 25 food pantries. The program has supported 27 Utah farmers.

      Conclusion

      While FFU was developed in response to COVID-19, the need for food system changes to better connect individuals experiencing food insecurity with local products will remain beyond the pandemic. FFU is dedicated to finding sustainable solutions towards a more equitable regional food system.
      Funding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education.

      Appendix. Supplementary data