Small Town, Big Vision

Original Airdate: 
July 2019

Sometimes the most groundbreaking ideas come from the smallest communities. In a town where everyone knows your name, people find innovative ways to uplift not just themselves, but also their friends and neighbors. Meet the owners of Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, which entertains visitors from around the world with only 6.5 acres and 50 employees; see how local artist Jason Nessen immortalizes his community in paint on the walls of Tremonton City; and learn how the crew of the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville is working to make life on Mars a reality.

Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, co-owners of Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah, have been serving up locally sourced, farm-to-table food for nearly 20 years. Originally founded to cater to visitors to the nearby Grand Staircase National Monument, Hell’s Backbone has become known for its mission and work ethic as well as its food, with a commitment to hiring locally, and paying workers a living wage. Learn how this 50-employee, 6.5-acre farm & restaurant works to embody loving kindness through good food in a small town.

Tremonton has a history of murals, dating back to a vigilante artist who began painting on abandoned buildings in the 1970s. These days, local artist Jason Nessen has taken up the helm. Since his first work in 2003, Jason has painted 12 murals around the city, featuring the Tremonton Fire Department, the high school softball team, the family of a local business owner, and more. We’ll see how people like Jason have helped Tremonton City win Best of State for Public Art three years in a row.

What would life be like on Mars? That’s what the researchers and space buffs at the Mars Desert Research Station outside Hanksville are working to find out. Students and researchers from around the world gather at this remote desert outpost run by The Mars Society to spend a week or more in a simulated space habitat, never leaving the confines of their space suits or breathing the fresh air outside. Hear from Dr. Karl-Henrik Dahlqvist and the rest of the mission crew about everything from growing crops on Mars to teaching the next generation about space.

Visit the This Is Utah page to learn more about the series and upcoming episodes.

Length: 
28 minutes
Closed Caption: 
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Funding for This Is Utah provided by

George S. and Delores Doré Eccles logo
Utah Office of Tourism logo
Dee Foundation logo

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