As a local gardening and wild foods instructor through West high School’s Community Education program for years, I have noticed a steady increase in the interest of the community to eat healthier, local foods.
My students have indicated that they are starting backyard gardens or even foraging the many available foods to increase their health through better nutrition and more outdoor exercise.
Many are younger millennials simply wanting to eat and live better in harmony with nature and to eat more locally produced food than earlier generations.
However, many urbanites in today’s world do not have access to good garden space.
Although my spring classes have been canceled for obvious pandemic reasons, I hope to resume those classes in the fall through appropriate “social distancing”.
One viable solution for those of us wanting better nutrition might be to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to purchase organically grown foods from a trusted local farmer.
Over the years I have also noticed a definite growth and variety of such new, small local farms here in Utah.
One such CSA is located right here in my own Glendale neighborhood, Stagl Organics, run by Shad Stagl.
Shad grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado, but later became a vegetarian and started his local CSA five years ago.
His growing number of annual customers receive their “share” of organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables for 23 weeks from May through October.
Those members generally pay up front to join, but he also allows a payment plan for those who cannot afford, especially during these times, however, the average weekly cost is only about $33.
We have already seen how America’s a large unsustainable corporate food production model has failed to provide nutritional food worldwide.
Many believe that model has actually created more starvation in the world because our low-cost, but low in nutrition grains have been lured peoples away from their healthier historical local foods.
Those lower nutrition foods have created their own obesity pandemic here in the US for decades.
This newest current pandemic has likely magnified this shortcoming, and, I personally suspect that the Covid 19 scare might be partly to blame for this recent surge in the desire to eat heathier, and Shad’s recent surge in customers.
Although we have all heard of governmental pandemic-related assistance for small businesses, I think many such local businesses like Shad’s have largely fallen through the cracks.
Although Shad has reached his goal of increasing his customer base every year for the past four years this is the first season that he has reached his capacity.
Because of the recent surge in customers, he could benefit from funding to help improve his infrastructure, and, is even interested in taking on employees to help him to facilitate Utah’s shift back to more locally produced food.
Although my wife and I grow, forage and or harvest much of our own food, I know my wife and I have benefitted from Shad’s vegetable growing knowledge.
Check out Shad’s great website or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find a CSA near you on the CSA Utah website.
Dan Potts is a local vegetable garden and foraging instructor