Viewpoint: Local food drives Utah's economy like few other industries

Spring has sprung upon Utah with all the cheeriness and warmth of an aggressive Easter Bunny. Flowers are in bloom, grass is perking up, and the despotic grip of winter seems to finally be slipping. This holds many implications for the Beehive State, arguably the most vital being a catalyst to start work on one of Utah’s greatest economic staples.

When thinking about Utah’s exports, people think of salt, erroneously of honey and esoterically of technology, but most people don’t think of food as a major export. This is a mistake nearly every bee in the hive of the Wasatch Front makes.

Food drives Utah’s economy like few other industries do. According to Utah’s Own, a state program dedicated to boosting local products, buying locally not only supports local business, but supports the state as well. Utah’s Own director Seth Winterton elaborated on this principle, saying, “When you buy Utah products, you support local Utah families. Economists say that for every $1 spent on local food products, it adds $4-$6 to the state economy and helps to reduce the pollution from transporting goods long distances.”

This kind of buying power needs to stay in the state. In an increasingly global marketplace, small vendors are unable to keep up with the production of large companies for many reasons, but the most democratic blame could be pointed toward the Utah public.

When you make the choice to buy locally, you make the choice to support local economies. You could use the example of the democratization of the marketplace. In non-economist speak, this means you vote for which business you want to succeed. Once you cast your vote, it becomes more money than you paid. It’s for this reason that large companies drawing large amounts of democratic revenue stomp all over smaller companies. Utahns can’t restructure these businesses organizations. They can’t advise them toward marketing and investing strategies. Most can’t donate large sums of money. Amidst all of this, the simple decision to support Utah business is the greatest civil responsibility Utahns have to their democratic economy. Looking for stores that sport the Utah’s Own logo is a great way to start.

When you shop locally, the state economy is bolstered, Utah’s agriculture is grown, and you gain an appreciation for what the state has to offer.

One Utah company is taking an aggressive stance on the promotion of Utah products. The Grand America Hotel, the only five-star hotel in the state, recently debuted an all-Utah buffet. If the well-to-do companies and tourists can recognize the quality of products that come from the state, then the whole state should as well.

Whether you do it by snacking on Beehive Cheese or dining at Zupa’s, feed the state economy by feeding yourself.