Lecture Focuses on Soup and Sustainability


(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)
(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

Students, friends and the community gathered on Tuesday to attend the library’s monthly soup social.
Along with fresh tomato soup and a variety of bread, attendees were treated to a panel speaking on the theme of “The Big Picture of Eating Local in Utah.”
Speaking on the panel were individuals from across the region who all have a focus on locally sourced food.
James Soares, director of operations for Squatters and Wasatch Brewery spoke to the audience about how Squatters runs.
“All of the ingredients we need to make beer can be found in Utah,” Soares said. “And it matters to us to make an impact on our community.”
Soares focused on the nature of the food business.
“Customers expect a certain quality from us and if we don’t deliver, they would be disappointed and it makes us look bad,” Soares said. “We are a business that focuses on a triple bottom line. Squatters is committed to buying local, but we have a definition of local in a way that the customer can understand how far that actually extends.”
Bridget Stuchly, sustainability program manager for Salt Lake City, said she focused her attention on access.
“Our mission is to create a local and resilient food system that’s affordable and accessible to everyone,” Stuchly said.
Through a two-year research initiative, Stuchly and her team learned about eating habits, growing patterns and consumerism throughout the city. The results have led to the updating of antiquated ordinances as well as potentially creating an incubator kitchen that would last throughout the year.
Along with these results, Stuchly spoke on the shrinking farming community.
“What we’ve seen is that even with a slight increase of farms, there is a 20 percent decrease in size of those farms,” Stuchly said. “We also lack diversity in the farming community, with the typical farmer being an older, white Caucasian male. We need to start asking ourselves, what do we want agriculture to look like?”
Supreet Gill, program manager for the Farm to School program, works directly with school children who would benefit most from food farmed locally.
“We planned this farm field day that replicated a farm and gave students taste tests on all of the things they were trying,” Gill said. “After evaluating a number of students, I was shocked to hear some say things like they had never eaten raspberries, cucumbers or even held a fresh apple before. We need to really just share a meal with someone who doesn’t have access to it, give them the knowledge that these foods exist.”
This event was put on in conjunction with several departments across campus as well as with the support of the Sustainability Resource Center, community partners and many other organizations across the U’s campus. Free food was provided, with fresh ingredients from the campus garden located east of Pioneer Theater.
This social takes place every month in the library’s Gould Auditorium and will focus on sustainability, workers’ wages and other food related topics throughout the semester.
Lindsay Gezinski, professor of social work, said she attends these socials every month.
“I think that food really brings everyone together,” Gezinski said. “It’s something that everyone can relate to and understand. These socials really bring different voices to raise awareness on a number of topics.”
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