“It’s putting a smile on farmers’ and ranchers’ faces across the state,” said Ron Gibson, Utah Farm Bureau President. “This program right here is the one that is really exciting.”
Gibson talks about the Touch of Utah Box, a program that brings local produce and farm products to Utah residents. The idea began to ensure Utah farmers’ crops and livestock would not go to waste due to supply chain and environmental issues and has developed into a popular subscription service for families in need and those who want to buy locally.
The box, sponsored by Farmers Feeding Utah, is filled with products from Beehive State farmers only. It’s a great example of the way to help families struggling with food insecurity and local farms. In a state that has faced a record-breaking drought over the past two years, it’s a way to help numerous people affected by it.
“This drought has been really hard, COVID has been really hard, and the trade wars before that,” Gibson continued. “This is now our opportunity as a state to say we want local agriculture here in the state of Utah.”
Utah is coming out of one of its worst droughts on record, which has made farmers’ jobs even harder across the state’s already-arid lands. In addition to programs like this one, farmers join in on a state program that increases their water use efficiency, and each is designed to make farming more sustainable.
The box, similar to national subscriptions services like Blue Apron, includes high-quality products fresh from the state’s fields. Recent boxes have included various options, everything from peaches, cherries, mushrooms, and butter to Red Butte Hatch Chile cheese, burgers, ribeye steaks, and even fine chocolate. Though the program is barely six months old, it’s already distributed more than 1 million pounds of food to hundreds of food-insecure families throughout the state, including more than 300 in the Kanab area alone. Many farmers have refused anything other than wholesale prices for any products to such families. Each month the box has unique contents, and a subscription gives members unique access to purchase these Utah-grown foodstuffs. Utah residents can subscribe to the program for less than $100 per month.
The Touch of Utah box is vital to a circular economy that helps Utah farmers, small businesses, and families in need across the state. As the state and farmers work together to ensure a viable farming future despite environmental and economic challenges, programs like Touch of Utah are the building blocks to success.