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New farmers' market organized by South Salt Lake locals

Feb 01, 2018 08:00AM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

The SLC Veggie Swap farmers' market will have various fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers. (SLCVeggieSwap.com)

In its first season, a local nonprofit startup called SLC Veggie Swap plans a new strategy to make a healthy impact on the community. 

The vision of the SLC Veggie Swap is to bring a better sense of community to an area that needs it—the City of South Salt Lake. The mission statement is as follows: 

“To create a community garden and farmers’ market where individuals can come together to promote the benefits of locally grown, organic food that is environmentally friendly, sustainable, and cost-effective and which delivers economic, health, and educational benefits to a vast array of Salt Lake residents.” 

“Sustainable and regenerative agriculture has always been a passion of mine,” said Jen Hill, SLC Veggie Swap founder, and one of three women board members of the nonprofit. “In the past two years my favorite hobby stepped into high gear while establishing a local CSA business, which involved cultivating four different gardens and providing weekly fresh produce to its members.”

One garden on Main Street is currently leased to the SLC Veggie Swap by Hollie Mason, the owner of The Point Pilates studio (2650 South Main), who chose to create a garden space in a vacant lot behind their studio, instead of another building development or a paved parking lot.

“I am excited to see where it goes,” Mason said. “I feel like that neighborhood is going to benefit a lot from the garden. That is what we have been trying to do with the pilates studio and everything is to bring positive things to that neighborhood. I believe the garden will certainly help.” 

“This will be a community space garden with kind of a different twist,” Hill explained. “Instead of leasing out plots in the garden, it is going to be an active community-supported garden and educational space for both aspiring and experienced gardeners.”

Hill sees the space benefiting the gardening collective. “We plan to host events and tours in this garden to teach and inspire more people to better cultivate their own existing spaces, encouraging organic and sustainable methods rather than those that could be harmful to our environment and our health. We want to promote healthy lifestyles and sustainable living and encourage people to learn and participate in gardening.” 

SLC Veggie Swap is also eager to help local gardeners who might find themselves with too many zucchinis or tomatoes. In addition to the community garden, the Veggie Swap Market will invite community backyard gardeners to exchange their excess organically-grown fruits and vegetables.

They are in planning stages with the South Salt Lake Fire Department on the exact market location (corner lot of Main Street and 2700 South), the SLC Veggie Swap Market will be testing out a few different market days and times to find out the needs of community members. Remaining produce will be donated to other local nonprofits, such as the Green Urban Lunchbox and Backyard Garden Share who give produce to the Utah Food Bank and the Meals on Wheels Plus program. Food trucks from the Spice Kitchen and other local vendors will be invited to the weekly market as well.

The SLC Veggie Swap is in communication with teachers from Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in hopes to develop after-school activities for their students in the garden. Kristina Hansen and her agricultural science students at the Granite Technical Institute are also assisting this season by starting many of the plants from seeds in their greenhouses, including 100 strawberry plants. South Salt Lake’s Mark Miller Subaru has pledged to fund a new fence to enhance the garden’s curb appeal and for functional purposes. 

SLC Veggie Swap aims to be a significant force in promoting sustainable and organic living in South Salt Lake. Check out more on their website: www.slcvegswap.com 

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