According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to providing essential nutrients, fruits and vegetables help with weight management and lower the risk of developing many chronic conditions. In Utah, only 34% of adults get two or more servings of fruit each day and even fewer (17.5%) get three or more servings of vegetables.
Summer is the perfect time to try new fruits and vegetables through home gardening, community gardens, and farmers markets. Home gardening is an affordable way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet and working in the garden can improve levels of physical activity. Community gardens can also improve access to fruits and vegetables. Some evidence even suggests that community gardens increase fruit and vegetable availability in food desserts, promote healthy eating, reduce obesity, and improve participants’ mental health and social connectedness. Farmers markets are another way to add variety and improve access to fruits and vegetables.
This summer in Utah there are a number of programs to help individuals and families eat healthy over the summer.
- Local Farmers Markets
- Double Up Food Bucks: Over 20 farmers markets and stands will double food dollars for SNAP (food stamp) users.
- USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program: Grant funds were awarded to coordinate and operate seven mobile market stops and farm stands in the Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods of Salt Lake between June and November 2016.
- Summer Food Service Program: When school lets out, millions of low-income children lose access to school breakfast, lunch, and afterschool meals. The SFSP provides free meals and snack to children who may otherwise have limited access to nutritious food in the summer. More information at Utahns Against Hunger.