LOGAN – Farmers Feeding Utah campaign identified its first Miracle Project, getting Utah lamb to several Utah chapters of the Navajo Nation in Southeastern Utah who have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and are hurting for food.
“We’ve been blown away by the initial response to the launch of this campaign and are looking forward to making this first delivery of food,” said Ron Gibson, president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, the organization behind the Farmers Feeding Utah campaign. “Through this first project, we’re able to help a very deserving group of people that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and help some Utah sheep ranchers at the same time.
“These ranchers have had their market for lamb reduced significantly with restaurants operating at limited capacity.”
Officials from Farmers Feeding Utah identified the need and set a project-specific goal of $100,000 in online donations by May 20. The distribution of lamb will take place shortly after.
The Utah Farm Bureau and the Hunger Solutions Institute are working with the Utah Division of Emergency Management, USU Extension-San Juan County and local food pantries to facilitate the distribution of lamb to those in need.
Hunger Solutions Director Heidi LaBlanc said she was eager to team up with Farm Bureau with this cause.
“This partnership gets agricultural products farmers can’t sell to the table of families in need,” LaBlanc said. “One of their main goals is to help people with limited resources have access to healthy choices.”
When our food system is interrupted like what is happening now with COVID-19, some people are running out of food options. It is crucial to support those who nourish our nation during these unprecedented circumstances, she said.
“The Farmers Feeding Utah initiative is a way to support those who work so hard to provide products that we literally consume and need for survival,” she said.
The group will also be using the U.S. Department of Agriculture program called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education that builds partnerships with different community organizations to educate people about nutritious food consumption.
“We believe that everyone should have access to nutritious food so they can create better health for themselves and their families through good nutrition,” LaBlanc said.
She said Farmers Feeding Utah is designed to avert this tragedy by supporting the livelihood of our local farmers and making sure those in need have access to healthy food.
“I can’t think of any other way at this time to work together to solve hunger and to provide a hand up to farmers and all Utahans struggling during this climate and pandemic, than to partner with Farm Bureau Association, and Farmers Feeding Utah,” LaBlanc said. “As we all have felt the effects of the pandemic, loss of jobs, uncertainty, confusion, misinformation; we know that we have neighbors and family members in need. It’s been tragic.”
She said she loves the plan of the organization buying commodities that all Utahans need through donations and purchases.
“Providing an opportunity that contributes to the food insecurity and hunger needs, getting food to hungry people will change our future,” LaBlanc said. “This will change the economic, health, and education of our youth in the future.”
Utah Farm Bureau Federation is encouraging all Utahns to help grow a miracle by donating to the Farmers Feeding Utah campaign, so they can keep the state’s farm and ranch families producing the local food we all need, and also feed the growing number of families in need.
The organization has raised nearly $80,000 of their $100,000 goal to help the Utah Chapters of the Navajo Nation that have taken a big hit during the pandemic. They have had an increase in unemployment and a decrease in food access. To get more information, or donate, go to their website: farmersfeedingutah.org