Summit County Community Market set to return Aug. 14 | ParkRecord.com

Summit County Community Market set to return Aug. 14

The Summit County Community Market is scheduled to be held this year on Tuesday, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11. Vendors will accept government benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Summit County residents will soon have another place to purchase fresh, locally grown food.

The Summit County Community Market is set to return this week, with local growers offering fresh produce, as well as cooking demonstrations. It will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11 in the parking lot of Park City Hospital from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Summit County Health Department in 2017 first partnered with the Sheriff's Office and other growers, such as Summit Community Gardens and Utah State University Extension, to create the farmer's market and provide fresh produce for low-income families. Park City Hospital, Urban Food Connections of Utah and the Utah Department of Health are also participating this year.

The community market is the only local farmer's market that accepts government benefits such as electronic benefits transfer (EBT) and supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP).

There are approximately 700 SNAP recipients in Summit County, according to Shelley Worley, director of health promotion at the Health Department. She said 42 percent of people who attended the market in 2017 used their double up food bucks (DUFB) to purchase the produce, with 89 percent becoming returning customers. DUFB is a program through the Utah Department of Health that matches the value of SNAP.

"It just gives them more access to fresh produce," she said. "It's a win-win for us. Low-income families will eat healthier foods and will be able to learn about seasonal produce. But, it's not just for low-income families. This also benefits the farmer because the dollars stay with the local economy."

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The farmer's market was created as part of the Health Department's efforts to provide another option for families to purchase locally grown food. The partnerships have helped localize the market.

A greenhouse and large garden was constructed in 2017 outside the Sheriff's Office and jail to allow inmates to grow a variety of produce for the markets. Approved inmates are also allowed to attend the markets to personally sell the produce.

Kacey Bates, corrections sergeant with the Sheriff's Office, said the inmates are looking forward to participating again this year. However, a recent issue with the garden is preventing them from attending the first two markets.

"But, they are excited to give back to the community and provide things that they are working hard with," she said. "Our garden does a lot of things. It provides the inmates with education and with a sense of satisfaction in giving back. It allows them to learn and grow while they are incarcerated."

Jeni Jones, who works in public relations at the Park City Hospital, said the partnership with the Health Department will allow the market to offer more than produce, such as a lunch special.

Hospital staff will be offering health screenings for depression, blood pressure and diabetes from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Anyone who participates will be offered a $10 produce gift card that can be used at local grocery stores. Car seat checkpoints will also be held from 1 until 4 p.m.

"I think it's a wonderful thing that the community and Health Department are doing," Jones said. "The fact that they are offering EBT cards– I just think it is really addressing a need in the community. It is also central to our goal to promote the healthiest lifestyle as possible. We would love to see it to be successful."

Staffers from the Utah State University Extension Office will be providing cooking demonstrations and the Summit County Library book mobile will be available on Aug. 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Worley said the Health Department tried to respond to feedback from customers attending last year's markets by providing longer hours and more vendors.

"We are really trying to touch different avenues of education, but really we're just trying to make the connection between food and health and how important it is to eat fresh food on a regular basis," Worley said. "It promotes your physical and mental health, and we want to make that connection for people and make it visual."