Community invited to Meet the Producers at the Swaner EcoCenter | ParkRecord.com

Community invited to Meet the Producers at the Swaner EcoCenter

Event focuses on sustainable foods

There's something empowering about knowing where your food comes from and how it's prepared.

Not only does such knowledge make food more appetizing, it also helps people appreciate the work and care it takes to get food from the farms to the table.

The journey of produce, and more, will be addressed during the sixth annual Meet the Producers that will be held 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, at the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter.

The event — which will feature between 20 and 25 local farmers, ranchers and other food producers — fits with the missions of three of the area's nonprofits: Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, Recycle Utah and EATS Park City.

"Our mission is focused on preserving, educating and nurturing people's connection to nature," said Brittany Ingalls, Swaner EcoCenter conservation coordinator. "Meet the Producers is an awesome opportunity for people to connect with local producers and sustainably grown foods. It is also an opportunity to highlight these producers and farmers who are doing a wonderful and amazing job at producing these foods.”

Ingalls feels it is important for the Park City community to get to know these local producers.

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The producers will include fruit and vegetable farmers, dairy farmers, ranchers, cheese makers, chocolate makers and spice growers.

"They will be set up mostly inside the EcoCenter," Ingalls said. "If it's good weather, then we'll have a few set up outside."

Meet the Producers has gone through some different iterations, and the Swaner EcoCenter is grateful to work with Recycle Utah and EATS Park City this year.

"We have a wonderful and robust nonprofit community in Park City," Ingalls said. "Opportunities like this where we can work for a common goal is great. It's been fun."

Molly Brooks, Recycle Utah director of outreach and communication, concurred and said her organization is happy to be part of the event this year.

"Historically, Recycle Utah started Meet the Producers, but as it grew, the Swaner EcoCenter took it over because they had more space," she said.

The event still fits in with Recycle Utah's mission to empower people to lead sustainable lives.

"One great way to do this is to eat and buy locally," Brooks said. "It's about getting food from local producers and farmers [which] helps sustain the community."

Buying locally also reduces food miles, which is the distance it takes to get from where the food is produced to a meal at the table.

"The less food miles, the less CO2 emissions are involved in the process," Brooks said.

Recycle Utah was part of the committee that helped find local farmers and producers for the event.

"I also wanted to add that Savory Kitchen will be on hand to prepare locally sourced appetizers," Brooks said. "We're excited about this because Savory Kitchen is a great company in Park City and they are part of our green-business program."

Recycle Utah's Green-Business program is a free service available to Park City and Summit County businesses that are looking to craft sustainability plans, or increase existing green endeavors.

In addition, Recycle Utah representatives will be on hand to talk with the public about backyard composting.

"We will provide information to those who would like to do some composting at their homes for their gardens," Brooks said.

The third presenting partner for Meet the Producers is EATS Park City. EATS is an acronym for Eat Awesome Things at School.

The nonprofit works with the Park City School District to improve school food offerings
and to provide nutrition education so kids can understand why they need to eat more nutritionally.

"We're all about teaching kids about healthy eating," said Ann Bloomquist, EATS Park City executive director. "We feel that information about where the food comes from, how it's produced and the environmental impact is just as important as how the food impacts people's bodies."

Bloomquist feels Meet the Producers is an effective way to promote EATS philosophy.

"First off, we want to promote local eating as much as possible," she said.
Secondly, this gives our community a chance to come out to meet people and join our neighbors and build on our community's strength."

Thirdly, EATS Park City will have the opportunity to show what kinds of things it does with the school district.

"We come up with food options and we will have samples of one of the recipes that will be offered at the schools this year," Bloomquist said. "We will also provide information about the 15 to Clean program that Park City's Child Nutrition Services is putting on this year."

The program, which started in the fall of 2016, will oversee 15 potentially harmful ingredients eliminated from all school food over the course of three years.

Another thing Bloomquist likes about Meet the Producers is it shows that buying from local farmers keeps the money in the community.

"This is the first time we've been a title sponsor for Meet the Producers, but we have been involved for the past two years," Bloomquist said. "It's great that our three organizations worked on this together. I think it's fantastic when you can create a partnership. I was excited to be a part of this."

Recycle Utah, EATS Park City and The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter will present Meet the Producers from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, at the EcoCenter, 1258 Center Drive at Kimball Junction. The event, which is free and open to the public, will showcase local farmers, ranchers and a variety of food producers who will be on hand with information and samples. For information, visit http://www.swanerecocenter.org.