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Moab, UT

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Moab
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    YGP uses county grant to help feed most vulnerable

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    On June 22 the Grand Conservation District awarded the Youth Garden Project a $4,500 grant expressly focused on COVID-19 response efforts. The Grand Conservation District values local agriculture and its partnership with the Youth Garden Project is focused on both short- and long-term improvements in food production and distribution within Grand County.

    Kaitlin Thomas and Kara Dahrenwend
    Kaitlin Thomas of the Youth Garden Project, left, and the Grand Conservation District’s Kara Dohrenwend clutch a grant check. Courtesy photo

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Youth Garden Project has directed more focus and resources to local food security and distribution initiatives connecting local producers to programs that distribute food to those in need.
    The Youth Garden Project was asked to lead a food distribution subgroup of Grand County’s COVID-19 task force focused on local food and supply chains. The group is composed of local producers and professionals involved in food systems and sustainability. Funds from Grand Conservation District will support this initiative and in turn, support local and regional agricultural endeavors, further conserving agriculture in Grand County. The preliminary focus has been establishing existing resources, contacts, and general sharing of information across sectors.
    This work will continue beyond the present impact of COVID-19. YGP’s role is to support the needs of local growers to get their food to consumers and lead the required networking so that effective resources are both established and shared for the success of local food production. When the City of Moab reinstates the Market on Center, YGP will serve as a local grower advocate.
    In addition, these funds will help support projects currently underway to get more local produce to those experiencing food insecurity. YGP has partnered with Full Circle Intertribal Center (FCIC), setting aside three garden beds with culturally relevant food specifically for the group to cook with. While COVID-19 has changed the group gatherings happening at the YGP site, the produce will still be harvested and then included in the care package boxes that FCIC is currently distributing to native elders in the Moab community via their Stronghold Program.
    In 2018 YGP started “CareShares,” a program where a weekly box of produce is distributed to families that are food insecure. In 2019, the program expanded and we now divert two large boxes of food to both the Moab Valley Multicultural Center and Seekhaven, which then distributes to clients in need. With many families struggling as a result of the economic situation in 2020, YGP has committed to expanding this program to divert more food to those in need, rather than sell to purchasers. They are also developing future plans to grow CareShares even more. Funds from the Grand Conservation District allow YGP to increase its produce distribution to people in need.
    For questions about the Grand Conservation District, the Youth Garden Project, and/or their programs contact: GCD- Kara Dohrenwend kara@reveg.org or YGP- Kaitlin Thomas kaitlin@youthgardenproject.org

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