By Caroline Clark, Tennie Davis and Nefi Treviño
Utah farmers and volunteers with Farmers Feeding Utah passed out locally grown food to the food insecure in downtown Provo this morning.
Farmers Feeding Utah is a campaign of the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation, an organization that was set up as the charitable arm of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. Farmers along with volunteers from a variety of organizations gathered behind the Utah Valley Convention Center to distribute locally grown food.
Matt Hargreaves, vice president of communications for the Utah Farm Bureau helped organize the event in partnership with Farmers Feeding Utah. Hargreaves, a BYU communications alumnus, focuses on public relations and sharing the stories of farmers and connecting farmers and consumers together.
“Only 1% of the population in Utah are farmers, so 1% feeding all the rest of us. Sometimes we misplace or forget where the food comes from,” Hargreaves said.
Hargreaves said farmers were hit especially hard at the beginning of the pandemic, so the Utah Farm Bureau teamed up with other organizations to help sustain farmers who lost food markets during the national shut-downs beginning in March 2020.
The bureau raised funds to buy food from local Utah farmers and give the food to those recently unemployed and struggling with food insecurity.
“All the donations that Farmers Feeding Utah gets we use to buy food directly from farmers, and then that food goes to people in need in the community,” said Aubree Thomas, the communications coordinator for the Utah Farm Bureau. “It’s a great win-win situation for everyone, and it’s helping a lot of people (along) the way.”
Dustin Lemon, a local farmer from Roosevelt, Utah, raises beef and grows hay. He said generational farming is declining across the nation, as most farmers are 50 or older.
“The younger generation doesn’t typically want to come back to the farm because it is hard work,” Lemon said. “It’s a tough business but at the end of the day I love what I get to do. It’s just awesome to see what this means to people and how much it helps them.”