There is a little farm in Cedar City, Utah called Red Acre Farm. Because of what one very young girl in 2007, only 12 years old to be exact, wanted to do: grow, raise and sell food, this Center was founded! Her passion for gardening led to a natural progression of selling to friends and neighbors and then a CSA was formed in 2009 , employees were hired and the farm was growing.
Experiencing the Nevada health department raiding a farm to fork dinner while helping a close family friend would change her perspective forever. After that food regulations for small farms and producers in the state of Utah began to be looked at. In most cases it was impossible for a small local producer to sell anything but raw produce without incurring costs, jumping through hoops and dealing with unclear and burdensome regulations.
Only a week after being invited to and being recognized for her growing farm business by the Governor at the 2014 Utah Rural Summit she received a cease and desist order. In 2015 wanting to have a way to be able to sell her raw milk legally she and her Mom headed to the sate Capitol to change the statue that in 2007 had outlawed sharing milk from a cow. Being there resulted in so many asking them “Who are you with?? At the time, they were just a small family who owned a 1 acre farm in rural southern Utah. But that experience, combined with the discovery that they were only one of many who care about good local food, farmers and farms in Utah that felt they had no voice gave them a growing desire to be a voice for food and small rural and urban agriculture. They knew they had to create a way to promote and protect robust local food economies: the freedom to choose what we eat, how it is grown and the opportunity to farm.
Since 2015, they have been actively involved in policy-making and advocacy, aGvocacy as we like to call it. Because of her persistence and much negotiating, sacrifices made, both of time and money, the herd share bill passed in the final hour of the legislative 2015 session. In 2016 we returned to the Capitol and began working on a Food Freedom Bill. We officially filed to be a non profit and in 2017 we could now say we were with “Red Acre Center!? This was done entirely through volunteer hours. In 2018 we were officially granted non profit staus and returned for our 4th legislative session, we started paying a full-time analyst that works on research as well as a part-time lobbyist. We were successful in passing two landmark bills: raw milk amendments allowing raw milk sales on farms and transportation in a mobile unit, and The Homemade Food Consumption Act allowing small diversified farms and anyone wanting to sell direct to consumer now making it possible for consumers to have greater access to local food.
Equally important to the Center is education and building community .
The Center wanted a place to get together, gather from north and south, east and west; a forum to bring in some of the most important and influential voices in the local food movement. A place to hear what is happening here in our state and across the country. A shared experience where we could talk and share a meal together. And so, the first anual Farm & Food conference was held in 2017 ! We have grown both in attendance and sponsors. We added a day , a seed exchange, a charted bus for the farm tour, a town hall meeting, Bites & Beverages, and a farmers market!
Late summer 2018, the Center held its first successful annual fundraising farm to fork dinner and silent auction: Gather. We continue to offer farm tours for schools and focus on developing the Learning Center to further our work to teach and help young farmers and new farms in order to build local food economies.
As farms, farming and the local food movement grow and change our story and who we are and what we do and the story of agriculture both large and small rural and urban will continue to be told We’re excited and want to be a positive part of that story we invite you to be part of that story with us.