State Legislative Alert: Help Support Local Food & Farming

March 01, 2019

Between March 4th and 7th the Executive Appropriations Committee of the Utah State Legislature will consider a set of funding requests that, if funded, would help increase access to fresh local foods, support Utah farmers, and strengthen local food economies across the state. 

These appropriations requests include funding support for Utah Produce Incentives (e.g. Double Up Food Bucks), a local food hub startup fund, and a local purchasing incentive to help schools serve more Utah-grown foods to their students. See below for additional details.

Please call or email members of the Executive Appropriations Committee TODAY and ask them to support the following requests

  • Utah Produce Incentives/Double Up Food Bucks;
  • Local Food Hub Start Up Fund; and
  • Incentivizing Local Purchasing for School Meals.

Together these proposals represent a win-win-win for Utah Farmers, Families, and Local Economies.

Contacting committee members 

House and Senate Leadership and Executive Appropriations Chairs need to hear from you!  Anyone can reach out and encourage committee members to prioritize these requests. However, if your legislators are on the committee, let them know you are a constituent. 

* = most important legislators to contact

*Executive Appropriations Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs:

*Sen. Jerry W. Stevenson (R), 801-544-1211, 
*Rep. Bradley G. Last (R), 435-817-0064, 
*Sen. Don L. Ipson (R), 435-674-6301, 
*Rep. Jefferson Moss (R), 385-250-6738, 

*House & Senate Leadership (also on Executive Appropriations)

*President Sen. Adams (R), 801-593-1776
*Majority Leader: Sen. J. Vickers (R) 435-586-9651
*Minority Leader: Sen. Karen Mayne (D) 801-232-6648

*Speaker Rep. Wilson (R) 801- 538-1029,
*Majority Leader Rep. Gibson (R) 801-491-3763,
*Minority Leader Rep. King (D) 801-560-0769,  

Other Committee Members

Sen. Luz Escamilla (D), 801-550-6434, 
Sen. Daniel Hemmert (R), 801-380-8262, 
Sen. Jani Iwamoto (D), 801-580-8414, 
Sen. Derek L. Kitchen (D), 801-674-6141, 
Sen. Ann Millner (R), 801-900-3897, 
Rep. Karen Kwan (D), 385-249-0683, 
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss (D), 801-647-8764, 
Rep. Val L. Peterson (R), 801-224-4473, 
Rep. Angela Romero (D), 801-722-4972, 
Rep. Mike Schultz (R), 801-859-7713, 

If you don’t know who your legislators are you can find out here

Talking Points

  • Please support the 'Utah Produce Incentive/Double Up Food Bucks', 'Local Food Hub Start Up Fund', and 'Incentivizing Local Purchasing for School Meals' appropriations requests. These requests would be a win-win-win for Utah Farmers, Families, and Local Economies.
  • 97% of Utah’s produce needs are supplied by out of state sources. These funding requests would incentivize retailers, schools and consumers to purchase local foods and offers a way for farmers to meet the demand.
  • Utah Produce Incentive programs, like Double Up Food Bucks, increase low-income SNAP customers' access to healthy local foods, provide farmers with new customers and more income, and keep more food dollars circulating in the local economy.
    • An estimated $34 million per year is spent on fruits and vegetables by Utah SNAP customers. The overwhelming majority of that supports farmers outside of Utah. Utah Produce Incentive programs presents an opportunity to redirect a substantial portion of these lost food dollars back to Utah farmers.
    • Utah Produce Incentives/Double Up Food Bucks currently benefit small to medium size farmers selling at 25 farmers markets and farm stands in 11 counties across Utah. This appropriation would grow the farmers market program while expanding Double Up to grocery stores, benefiting medium to large size farmers as well.  
  • A local food hub (for aggregation and processing) will expand farmers' access to local markets by providing restaurant, schools, and grocery stores with a reliable supply of fresh, Utah-grown foods.
  • By giving schools extra funds to purchase locally grown foods for their meal programs, students will eat more farm-fresh foods, while local farmers and ranchers will gain greater access to some of the largest institutional buyers of food in the state.

More information

Representative Steve Handy (District 16, Layton), and Senator Gene Davis (District 3, South Salt Lake) introduced a set of funding requests to Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee in February that would help increase access to fresh local foods, support Utah farmers, and stregthen local food economies across the state. These requests will now be prioritized by the Executive Appropriations Committee during the week of March 4-March 7th. Only requests that are prioritized by the committee will have a chance to be funded. The requests include:

  • Utah Produce Incentives/Double Up Food Buckson-going $400,000 in funds to support programs like Double Up Food Bucks that increase the buying power of low-income families and individuals who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This request will help grow Double Up at Utah’s farmers markets and farm stands, and will help expand the program to grocery stores! It is estimated that the annual $400,000 investment will pump $626,500 a year into the state's economy.
  • Local Food Hub Start Up and Development Fund: one-time funding of $250,000 to start a grant fund to provide seed money to individuals or groups serious about starting a local food hub anywhere within Utah. Over time, one food hub could generate $12.8 million to the Utah economy a year and create more than 30 jobs.
  • Incentivizing Local Purchasing for School Meals: one-year pilot program, $250,000. Providing School Food Authorities a small incentive to buy local food has significantly increased the amount of local food in schools in other states that have tried similar programs. It's a win for school children, farmers and the Utah economy.

Fact Sheets


Photo by Jess Church