Impacts: COVID-19

Impacts: COVID-19

The Problem

In the Survey of Mothers with Young Children, 17.4 percent with children 12 years old and under reported that since the pandemic started, “The children in my household were not eating enough because we just couldn’t afford enough food.” Of those mothers, 3.4 percent reported that it was often the case that their children were not eating enough due to a lack of resources since the coronavirus pandemic began.

17.4%

couldn’t afford enough food

3.4%

are often not eating enough

Mother and child hiking near a canyon

Helping Agricultural Producers

The Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program (CFAP), administered through the USDA Farm Service Agency, began the end of May and runs through August. This is the first program directed at farmers based on impacts from COVID-19. USU held a webinar in cooperation with the Utah Farm Service Agency on June 4. A recording of the webinar is available at extension.usu.edu/apec/farm-financial-health. The webinar provides details of the program and how to fill out the application. This program focuses on dairy and livestock.

For questions, contact your local county Extension office or Ruby Ward, agricultural entrepreneurship specialist at ruby.ward@usu.edu or (435) 797-2323.
farmer in field

Community Partnerships

Farmers Feeding Utah Performs Three Miracle Projects

In 2018, Utah State University was approved by the Board of Regents to house a Hunger Solutions Institute. The institute works with professors, agencies, and communities to solve hunger issues throughout Utah, the nation, and the world by helping those with limited resources obtain access to healthy food choices. Utah’s Create Better Health SNAP-Ed mission mirrors USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services mission to work with partners to provide food and nutrition education to people in need in a way that inspires public confidence and supports American agriculture.

When the food system is interrupted, as it is now with COVID-19, our food options become limited. During these unusual circumstances, it is crucial to support those who work so hard to provide us with the products we consume and require for survival. The idea of farmers having nowhere to send or process their commodities, while so many people are not sure if they will have enough to eat, is tragic. Farmers Feeding Utah is designed to avert this tragedy by supporting the livelihood of our local farmers and also making sure those in need have access to healthy food.

To date, Farmers Feeding Utah, a partnership between the Utah Farm Bureau, Utah State University, and various community stakeholders, has completed three miracle projects: 1) the Navajo Nations, 2) Northern Utah and 3) West Salt Lake. These projects are miracles for farmers, whose products are purchased, and for families in need, who receive donated food.

Navajo Nation Miracle Project

Farmers Feeding Utah donated

605
live sheep

16,000 lbs
of frozen lamb

10,000 lbs
of flour

4,000+
individuals fed

to members of the Utah Chapters of the Navajo Reservation

The retail value of the food received was ~$200,000

Northern Utah Miracle Project

Farmers Feeding Utah donated

42,000 lbs
of potatoes

20,000 lbs
of beef

19,000
dozen eggs

$100,000
of dairy

to 450 families in Cache Valley and to stock four local food pantries

The retail value of the food received was ~$331,000

West Salt Lake Miracle Project

Farmers Feeding Utah donated

16,000 lbs
of meat

850 dozen
ears of corn

240,000 lbs
of potatoes

800 lbs
of cherries

350 lbs
of garlic

to 450 families in Cache Valley and to stock four local food pantries

The retail value of the food received was ~$331,000

For more information about USU’s Hunger Solutions Institute and the Create Better Health program, contact Heidi LeBlanc, director, at (435) 760-0925, or heidi.leblanc@usu.edu. For more information about Farmers Feeding Utah, visit farmersfeedingutah.org.

COVID-19 Community Efforts by USU Extension in Cache County

Cache Valley Gardeners Market
Women giving away masks and gloves
Cache Community Food Pantry
Farmers Feeding Utah Cache Valley event

Without This, I Wouldn’t Get to Eat Vegetables

USU Extension Senior Pop-Up Farmers Markets

Smiling market customer

It is anticipated that food insecurity has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The USU Extension Senior Pop-Up Farmers Market is a partnership with Salt lake County Aging and Adult Services and various other organizations that provide produce to seniors. USU has 21 scheduled farmers markets in 2020, due to anticipated higher numbers of seniors attending markets as well as a higher demand for produce.

According to the 2010 census

~15% of Utah seniors face the threat of hunger
50,000+ seniors reported that they are currently struggling with hunger

In 2019, the USU Extension Senior Pop-Up Farmers Market partnership provided

6,300+ lbs of free produce to local seniors
=$14,500 value at the farmers market
1,620 seniors received produce at the pop-up farmers markets held directly at senior citizens centers

"Having this is good for the community. Lots of people don't eat healthy. If they could get fresh produce, they would eat it.”

West Jordan Senior Center

"Having this is good for the community. Lots of people don't eat healthy. If they could get fresh produce, they would eat it.”

Friendly Neighborhood Center
~10% of Salt Lake County's total population is seniors = ~110,000 Seniors
For information about the markets and where they will be held, seniors can contact their local Salt Lake County senior center, the Salt Lake County Adult and Aging Services, or Meals on Wheels at (385) 468-3200. For more information about how the program works or to re-create this program in your own area, contact the USU Extension Salt Lake County office.

Utah State University Botanical Center

The mission of the USU Botanical Center Gardens is twofold: to teach specific horticulture skills to the public demonstrating varieties that can be grown in Utah, and to distribute locally grown, quality produce to food insecure populations in Davis County. A partnership with the Bountiful Food Pantry started in 2018 to identify at-risk groups in Davis County that could benefit from fresh produce being delivered every other week. The program delivers to a subsidized housing area and to an elderly care facility. Any excess produce is donated to the Bountiful Food Pantry where it is distributed to clients who are food insecure.

Urban Farm Demo Garden

1/8 Acre planted intensively, includes vegetables, cut flowers, small fruits, and tree fruits

Produce donations
2019 1,502 lbs = $2,397 value
2020 2,000 lbs of produce projected

Edible Demo Garden

  • 1/2 Acre tree fruits
  • 1/4 Acre small fruits
  • 1/4 Acre vegetables
Produce donations
2019 3,453 lbs = $7,710 value
2020 4,000 lbs of produce projected
USU Botanical Center
USU Botanical Center
For more information about how the program works or to re-create it in your own area, call the USU Extension Davis County office at (801) 499-5370. You can also help volunteer at the garden by participating in the Davis County Master Gardener program. Contact Stacie Stone at (435) 919-1323 for information. For more information about the Bountiful Food Pantry, call (801) 299-8464.

Increased Demand for Gardening Information

USU Extension offices statewide have seen a massive increase in the demand for basic gardening information, especially related to growing edibles. In response, USU faculty members in Davis and Cache counties have teamed up to create “The Garden Guys and Gal” social media group as a means to address many common questions that are being asked statewide. The page launched April 17 on social media and quickly gained over 500 followers on Facebook and 116 on Instagram. The faculty have made 87 posts on both platforms and have received a great response from the public.

USU Extension YouTube Views
2019 March-June 460,721 +83%
2020 March-June 844,799
USU Extension YouTube Hours of Watch Time
2019 March-June 25,709 +77%
2020 March-June 45,633
Garden.usu.edu Page Views
2019 March-June 126,167 +283%
2020 March-June 483,498
Garden.usu.edu Website Users
2019 March-June 43,509 +83%
2020 March-June 79,630
USU Extension's Gardening Experts Facebook Group
January 2020 1,196 +508%
June 2020 7,275
Sego lily graphic
lettuce
The Garden Guys and Gal hosts
Garden.usu.edu provides a wealth of resources and information about online and local classes, specific growing information, access to social media resources, and more.

A Sense of Security from Preserving Foods at Home

Jars of food on shelves

There are many reasons home food preservation is popular. Some preserve food to save money, for food security, or to have more control over ingredients and production practices. Food preservation popularity has been accelerated by the current COVID-19 pandemic, and online resources and Facebook Live events have seen a marked increase in use. Whatever the reason for preserving food, it is important to remember to follow research-based, tested, and food-safe recipes and processes.

  • Canning

  • Drying

  • Freezing

  • Storage

  • Pickling

  • Packaging

  • Nutrition