by Tom HARALDSEN
BOUNTIFUL—A century ago, a baby boy was born on the family farm in Bountiful. It was 1918, and Charles W. Bangerter grew up working on that parcel of land for the next 80 years. His grandfather Nicklas had purchased the parcel in 1902.
Charles’ son Alan Bangerter continues that multi-generational love and passion for farming on nearly 12 acres of agricultural land that today is surrounded by homes and businesses. Action taken by the Bountiful City Council should help maintain this urban farm for a few more generations.
As he had done previously with the Farmington City Council and with Davis County, Alan Bangerter requested creation of an agricultural protection area for his farm at about 1280 N. 400 East. The city doesn’t have a specific zone designation for that, but planning director Chad Wilkinson said both the county’s agriculture protection advisory board and Bountiful’s planning commission forwarded favorable recommendations for the request. It passed unanimously.
“A lot of people ask me how I feel about having my land surrounded by development here,” Bangerter said. “I am happy to be an island in Bountiful.” The Bangerter farm has not only kept a scenic open space alive and growing, literally, in the community, but his produce is in high demand at Bountiful’s Farmer’s Market and in many local grocery stores.
“We hire local employees every growing season,” he said. “Many of Bountiful’s businessmen and women got their first jobs working for us as teenagers during the summer. We pay out wages in excess of $400,000 per year.”
Production is high during peak season—Bangerter Farms harvests and delivers the equivalent of two semi truckloads of fresh vegetables per day to local warehouses.
In recent years, urbanization has taken its toll on many farms, including creation of portions of the Legacy Parkway and Legacy Bike Trail. Just a few weeks ago, the Bangerter family successfully stopped plans by Farmington City to turn some of their land into soccer or recreational fields by receiving the protection designation from that city’s council.
“The preservation of the remaining areas of farm land in Bountiful as well as Davis County is vital,” Bangerter said. “Not only do we feel that we are losing ground—literally—but that a rich rural heritage is being paved over.”
So the Bangerter’s sought protection, which they received. And each member of the city council had a positive comment to make about the impact or memories they have of the urban farm within the city’s borders.
“This proposal is consistent with the intent of the state’s agricultural protection area statute,” Wilkinson reported. “The City does not have an agricultural zoning designation, but because the (farm) has been operating for over 100 years, the agricultural use is considered a legal existing nonconforming use.”
“We all love the farm,” Mayor Randy Lewis said. “We love what your family has brought to the community.” Councilwoman Kendalyn Harris said she worked on the farm for a part of a summer as a youth. “It was very hard work, but it helped me learn to work. I’m so glad you’re here.”