Sage Mountain preps new campaign | ParkRecord.com

Sage Mountain preps new campaign

Jeff Dempsey, The Park Record

Community Outreach Advocate Erin Brown (left) and Sage Mountain Founder Lauren Lockey have announced the creation of FoodPrint Park City, a community effort that will encourage people to gradually shift their diets away from meat. (Courtesy of Erin Brown)

Local group Sage Mountain call themselves "An Advocate for Farm Animals," and so this year they are celebrating Earth Day with a new campaign: FoodPrint Park City.

"FoodPrint Park City is Sage Mountain’s community-based initiative that attempts to address the negative impact our existing food system and diets have on our health, our environment, and the billions of farmed animals being raised each year for human consumption," said Community Outreach Advocate Erin Brown. "It advocates for the widespread adoption of a whole foods plant-based diet in order to tackle these pressing, large-scale issues.

"FoodPrint Park City will bring to light current food system problems and present solutions at the local level via a progressive diet-driven framework."

The guiding principles of FoodPrint Park City, Brown said, are that a whole foods, plant-based diet is good for the planet, good for a person’s own health and good for the farm animals that are slaughtered by the billions every year. She said the phrase "think globally, act locally" sums up the effort nicely.

"Park City has the unique ability to set a progressive example as a town actively reducing its FoodPrint while truly addressing some of the biggest issues our planet is facing," she said. "And what better time to start than in honor of Earth Day?"

Lauren Lockey, founder of Sage Mountain, said FoodPrint is one more way her organization is trying to change people’s perspectives on animal farming.

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"This is so important because the human population is currently sitting at just around 7.4 billion," she said. "Right now, roughly 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year for human consumption across the world. That is 3,000 animals slaughtered per second, just so we can continue to eat products that are not only bad for our health but even worse for the planet."

Lockey, who adopted a vegan diet when she was 12 years old, said FoodPrint is primarily about education.

"We all have a choice and I truly believe we all possess this innate desire to make the world a better place," she said. "When we choose more plant-based foods, we prevent and reverse chronic disease, boost athletic performance, halt rainforest destruction, conserve water, cut greenhouse gas emissions, preserve our wild lands, help avert species extinction, begin alleviating world hunger, avoid additional marine life destruction, reduce waste pollution, and eliminate the suffering of billions of farmed animals.

"The question really should be, ‘why aren’t we all vegan?’"

Lockey said Sage Mountain began six years ago with the goal of establishing a farmed animal rescue, but their goals have since shifted. Now, she said, their focus is on education efforts like FoodPrint, which they believe will have a greater impact.

"In the end we want to see Parkites change their habits by reducing (and eventually eliminating) meat, dairy, eggs, and fish from their diets," she said. "To accomplish this we offer, and will continue to ramp up these efforts: newsletters, recipes, facts, research, potlucks, events, fundraisers, and eye-opening interviews with vegan athletes, environmentalists and those who have recently transitioned to a vegan diet. These are all powerful ways to empower others to make that change toward a healthier way of life."

Lockey said Sage Mountain will also use FoodPrint as a springboard for advocating at the municipal level.

"We want to take this idea further and wider than just asking individual households to modify their habits," she said. " incorporating diet into Park City’s long-term Environmental Plan, it becomes more of a policy level change than solely isolating personal choice."

Brown said Sage Mountain is currently working with Park City’s Sustainability Department to get their assistance in crafting a strategic plan for FoodPrint. The goal is inclusion in the Environmental Plan and to become "a vital piece of the City’s Resolution to Achieve Net-Zero for the broader Park City community by 2032."

Brown said FoodPrint has three main areas of focus to gain support at a grassroots level.

"Our three initial target areas will be increased plant-based food choices in local restaurants, providing additional opportunities within the Park City School District for students to learn about the impact their diet is having on the planet as well as household and individual level eating pattern modifications," Brown said.

FoodPrint Park City will be refined and a detailed strategic plan outlined over the next two months, at which point they will begin approaching local restaurants, the school district and the city with their proposals.

"Once that has occurred, we will continue to work closely with the Sustainability Department on ways to best become incorporated into both the Environmental Plan and the Net-Zero efforts," Brown said. "We plan to become a vital and permanent component of the fabric of Park City within the next 3-5 years."

That timeline, over a period of years, is no accident — Brown said Sage Mountain knows asking people to change their diets has to be a gradual process.

"Sometimes, with some people, one piece of information or one video clip is all it takes to change their actions overnight," she said. "For others, being pushed and prodded can feel too uncomfortable and instead they disengage and it can be very difficult to re-approach them in the future. That is why FoodPrint Park City really takes into account the fact that not everyone has the information yet and to create lasting change it is vital to meet people where they are at that moment."

Lockey said Sage Mountain is looking forward to the challenge.

"It does feel like an uphill battle at times because we are working against habits that have been ingrained in all of us since childhood," she said. "However, it is a worthwhile battle."

For more information visit SageMtn.org. or contact Brown or Lockey directly at erin@sagemtn.org and lauren@sagemtn.org . Sage Mountain will host a Thirsty First Thursday event at 6 p.m. June 2 at High West Distillery at Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship.