Why isn’t food security and the preservation of farms and fertile soil and water an issue in Utah?
Fights in Costco and grocery stores over scarce food items during Covid-19 demonstrate that food security and preservation of farms must be a greater concern of Utah political leaders.
This past spring we had a small window into what happens when food insecurity and the disruption of supply chains occurs: supermarket shelves were emptied when panicked customers believed there could be potential shortages.
Despite no actual shortages, scared residents bought out all toilet paper and bottled water at Costco and supermarkets. As a consequence purchasing limits were imposed on everything from milk, meat, eggs to even Ramen Noodles and cans of soup. For over two months rationing of toilet paper and meat remained in stores. This problem clearly demonstrates what the future can look like if supply chains are interrupted.
Currently, we are in the midst of a housing boom in Utah. It seems that our political leaders, county commissioners, and city planners have no problem building over the top of all of our most fertile soil and allowing developers and new homes to steal the water from ranchers and farmers. (read more).
Political leaders neglect to raise the awareness or concern that we are abandoning our state-wide or local food security by squeezing out farmers in the interest of cashing in on a housing boom.
Utah does not produce enough food to sustain itself. according to yourUtahyourfuture.com, the state produces 3% of its fruit needs, 2% of its vegetable needs, and around 25% of its dairy needs . Even though Utah produces enough beef to support our needs, we are completely reliant on multinational corporations to slaughter and process this beef. This was the cause of beef shortages last spring.
The development projects over farmland contrary to the original Mormon Pioneer’s vision of a sustainable future
The acreage of fruit production was cut in half between 1987 and 2006 due to development projects that built over the top of Utah orchards. The farmland is quickly disappearing to development. These developments and the destruction caused by suburban sprawl runs completely contrary to the original Mormon Pioneer’s vision for their sustainable future.
Brigham Young is quoted saying “Utah’s fertile soils were worth their weight in gold” and called upon state and local officials to preserve our farms, concluding that “the value of these lands surpasses … the value of nearly every other conceivable use, and should be reserved for our food security needs.”
Why now are so many of Utah’s political leaders so ready to rezone agricultural areas into residential and vacation properties? According to the ranchers Utah Stories spoke to, it is because many of the political leaders are in the property development business.
Utah Stories spoke to Weber County Commissioner Gage Froerer for our story on the Hadlock Family’s accusations that the Weber County Commissioner’s office has been facilitating the essential “stealing of their water.”
Watch our podcast and read our story on this topic
FOR MORE UTAH STORIES PODCASTS GO HERE.