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Growing a garden to fight the COVID-19 food supply problem

A new group is helping Salt Lakers grow gardens in their neighborhood to fight food supply problems brought on by COVID-19. (Photo: Moments Captivated Photography)

SALT LAKE CITY – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions in the food supply in Utah and across the country. One Salt Lake area garden group is fighting that problem by helping people grow their own gardens for free. 

The Neighborhood Resiliency Initiative links gardeners’ supplies and volunteers to help them grow fresh produce. There are even people who will donate a plot of land for others to garden. 

Founding member Michael Cundick wanted to start an online database to make it easier for people to find the resources they need to grow a garden in their neighborhood. He also saw a need with so many people losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s been hard for neighborhood-level gardening initiatives to succeed in the past because not enough people have had the interest or ability to get involved. With the unfortunate reality of widespread unemployment…since the pandemic, it truly changes things,” Cundick said. 

He also worries that people who have taken a financial hit have been eating all the cheap, but heavily processed food in their pantries. 

“Those that are worried about disruptions are dealing with a lot of food storage type foods that are not inherently as nutritious as the fresh produce and lettuces and carrots and beets that we’re producing,” Cundick said. 

The Neighborhood Resiliency Initiative aims to lower those barriers by sharing everything from land to seeds. 

Cundick says they make sure gardeners follow good social distancing and other COVID-19 safety practices. 

But growing a garden can have several benefits.

“There is this huge opportunity to create your own food that’s healthy and delicious, and is a healing and meaningful activity,” Cundick said. 

Once the vegetables are ready to be picked, people who donated their land to garden are encouraged to share with the volunteers who helped grow the produce, as well as people suffering from food insecurity in their neighborhood.    

More information can be found at www.neighborhoodresiliency.com


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