The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is challenging 10,000 Utah gardeners to come forward and document their gardens during the 10,000 Garden Challenge. Whether locals grow a tomato in a pot, a row in a community garden, have backyard gardens, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program or work a fruit and vegetable farm, Utah is encouraging its denizens to register their gardens! There is no garden too small.
Utah is at the helm of the new “Wilderness to Table” trend, with restaurants like Forage, which offers dishes composed of up to 80 percent of foraged herbs and flowers. The 10,000 Garden Challenge is an example of the local movement for sustainable agritourism and living.
“The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food recognizes the self-sufficiency and sustainability of our Utah citizens and we want to acknowledge that quality by issuing this challenge” said Commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Leonard Blackham. “It is our hope that all of our food growers and communities will participate in this fun and worthwhile event.”
The Utah 10,000 Garden Challenge launched at the Edible Wasatch Annual Treasure Hunt for Local Food June 16th at Reservoir Park in Salt Lake City. The challenge will continue throughout the growing season with hopes of encouraging people to take pride in their agricultural community and document how strong the gardening community is within the state.
To celebrate the growth of the gardens, IFA Country Stores has partnered with the UDAF to provide gift certificates as a small incentive to sign up. For each 1,000 gardens enlisted, a $500 gift certificate will be awarded to a participant, selected at random. A $100 gift certificate to SLOPES by Talisker or The Farm restaurants in Park City will be awarded to an additional participant selected at random for each 1,000 registered gardens. In addition, there will also be awards for communities that sign up the largest number of gardens.
To sign up for the challenge, Utah gardeners should go to http://www.utahgardenchallenge.com/ or visit the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s web site (www.ag.utah.gov) as well as Utah’s Own (www.utahsown.org) and select the Utah’s 10,000 Garden Challenge icon. Links can also be found on the websites of USU Extension, IFA Country Stores and radio station, Z104 FM, KSOP.
As gardeners register on the web site, participants should check back frequently to watch the website map grow in population.
Home to five national parks, 43 state parks, seven national monuments, two national recreation areas and “The Greatest Snow on Earth®,” Utah represents the best of both the Rocky Mountains and the Desert Southwest. Whether it’s heart-thumping downhill skiing, picturesque fly fishing, life-defying rock climbing, serene bird watching, thrill-seeking white water rafting or just communing with nature, Utah has it all – holding true to the state’s Life Elevated® brand. To contact the Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, or to view the Utah Travel Guide online, please visit www.visitutah.com or call (800) 200-1160 or (801) 538-1900.