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Utah Farm-Chef-Fork

Mission & Program Overview

Utah Farm-Chef-Fork is a USDA Specialty Crop funded program that is a collaboration between the USDA, Utah State University Extension Sustainability, and Slow Food Utah. The goal is to enhance community vitality and reduce food miles by connecting Utah producers and restaurants.

In the spring of 2013, our research team launched the first series of trainings for farmers and chefs, addressing barriers and benefits to direct marketing, effective communication techniques, communication technologies, message framing, and use of social media. In the fall of 2013, our team launched a series of chef-producer mingles across the state, to allow an opportunity for further networking. The spring trainings saw participation from over 70 specialty crop producers and chefs, and the feedback from these trainings has been positive and energetic. Even more, producers throughout the state have followed-up with news of successful relationships established as a result of the fall Mingles.

In the spring of 2014, our team will expand outreach into more and diverse communities throughout Utah. As we assess needs regionally, we will continue to provide trainings and networking opportunities with a focus on direct marketing and the growing infrastructure of our sustainable agriculture and food culture.

In the fall, our program will partner with communities statewide to present a week of education, networking, social events and outings to raise public awareness of the local food movement as it emerges uniquely in the cities and townships, the markets and farms, and on the kitchen tables throughout our state.

2014 Trainings

Wasatch Front. Sourcing Local Foods on the Wasatch Front

Salt Lake City | March 24, 2014

Farm-Chef-Fork Training and Networking

Register ($15)

Join us for a day of presentations and discussions on Direct Marketing, focusing on the rising opportunities and challenges of infrastructure and new markets in sustainable, local food sourcing.

8:00  Introductions - Kynda Curtis & Michelle De La Oz, USU Extension

8:45  Marketing and Pricing Farm Products for the Restaurant Market - Kynda Curtis USU Extension

10:00  Food Safety/Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) - Shawn Olsen USU Extension Davis County

11:00  Winter Growing: Techniques, Issues, and Product Success - Britney Hunter, USU Extension Davis County and Kelby Johnson, Johnson Farms

12:30  Lunch and Networking Activity

1:30  Chef Panel: Preferred Products and Preferences on Communication, Delivery, Samples and more. – Chef Ethan Lappe, Chef Jerry Liedtke, Chef Sam Oteo, and Chef Chris Gibson

Southern Utah. Local Food, Local Source: A Direct Marketing and Organic Farming Conference

Moab | April 8-9, 2014

Farm-Chef-Fork Training and Networking
April 8

Register ($15)

Join us for a day of presentations and discussions on Direct Marketing, focusing on the rising opportunities and challenges of infrastructure and new markets in sustainable, local food sourcing.

9:00  Opening Remarks - Jeremy Lynch & Roslynn Brain

9:15  Marketing Your Business and Yourself to Chefs - Roslynn Brain

9:45  Priced Right: Maintaining the Balance Between Price, Quality, and Value to your Customers - Ryan Murray, SBDC

10:30  Starting and Sustaining Food Hubs in the West - Dan Hobbs

11:30  Farm Safety Begins on the Farm: A Hands-On Approach to Implementing GAP Principles Into Your Operation - Beth LaShell

12:30  Local Lunch (provided by Moonflower Coop)

1:15  Arrival of Chefs for Networking Block

1:45  Panel Discussion: Direct Marketing Our Local Food Culture (Chef Mike of The Living Farm Cafe, Randy Ramsley of Mesa Farm Market, Jess Dye of Moonflower Coop, Jerry Harris of Castle Valley Farm)

2:45  Closing Remarks


Urban & Small Farms Workshops
April 9

For the organic-minded grower: Join us for a half day of workshops on organic soil and pest management.

9:00  Opening Remarks

9:15  Organic Peach Tree and Root Growth in Response to Understory and Fertility Management - Mae Culumber

10:00 Arthropod and Weed Management in Organic Peach Systems - Andrew Tebeau

10:45 NRCS Grants and Funding Opportunities - Amber Johnson

11:45 Lunch on your own

1:00 Optional farm tour to Castle Valley Farm with Jerry Harris (30 minutes from Moab)

Hurricane | April 15-16, 2014

Farm-Chef-Fork Training and Networking
April 15

Register ($15/day, $20/both days)

Join us for a day of presentations and discussions on Direct Marketing, focusing on the rising opportunities and challenges of infrastructure and new markets in sustainable, local food sourcing.

9:00  Opening Remarks - Jeremy Lynch & Roslynn Brain

9:15  Marketing Your Business and Yourself to Chefs - Roslynn Brain

9:45  Priced Right: Maintaining the Balance Between Price, Quality, and Value to your Customers - Ryan Murray

10:30  Farm Safety Begins on the Farm: A Hands-On Approach to Implementing GAP Principles Into Your Operation - Beth LaShell

11:30  NRCS Grants and Funding Opportunities - Lynn Kitchen

12:30  Local Lunch

1:15  Arrival of Chefs for Networking Block

1:45  Panel Discussion: Direct Marketing our Local Food Culture (Chef Greg of Heartland Farms Coop, Symbria Patterson of Red Acre Farm, Heather Carter of Nature Hills Farm)

2:45  Closing Remarks/ End of Day


Urban & Small Farms Workshops
April 16

For the organic-minded grower: Join us for a half day of workshops on organic soil and pest management.

8:30  Registration

9:00  Soil Fertility Management in Organic Orchard Systems - Mae Culumber

9:30 Organic Vegetable Production - Dan Drost

10:00  Season Extension for Berries and Vegetables - Brent Black

10:30  Break

11:00  General Principles of Organic Arthropod Management - Diane Alston 

11:30  Arthropod Management in Organic Peach Systems - Andrew Tebeau

12:00  Principles of Organic Weed Management - Corey Ransom

12:30  Local Lunch

1:30  Field Trip to a Local Farm


Presenter Topics & Brief Bios



“Marketing your Business and Yourself to Chefs”

Dr. Roslynn Brain, USU Extension


Roslynn Brain is an Assistant Professor in Sustainable Communities at Utah State University. She uses conservation theory, communication techniques, and social marketing tools to foster a broad spectrum of pro-environmental behaviors with a focus on waste reduction and local food movements. Roslynn developed and launched Extension Sustainability (http://extension.usu.edu/sustainability), a set of tools and information for the general public to engage in sustainable behaviors. She also teaches Communicating Sustainability at USU, launched Utah Farm-Chef-Fork, and she designs and co-teaches summer sustainability camps for kids in Utah.

During her workshop, Roslynn will interactively discuss how to create a marketing plan, communication tools available to you, successful farm marketing examples, creating a sales pitch, and how to maintain relationships with chefs/buyers.



“The Farm Friendly Food Hub”

Dan Hobbs


Dan Hobbs is a cooperative development specialist with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative and Economic Development Center. He has twenty years agricultural and rural development experience in the United States and South America and formerly served as executive director of Organic Seed Alliance, NewFarms and Nuestras Raices, all 501(c)(3) organizations. He is trained and skilled in the organizational aspects of setting up producer cooperatives and other member-driven organizations and businesses. He is a founding member of the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative, Colorado Farm and Art Market Cooperative, and the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers. Dan is a fifth generation Coloradan, holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies, and owns and operates a 30 acre organic seed and vegetable farm in Pueblo County Colorado.
Dan is currently working with four food hub projects in Colorado and New Mexico that are in various stages of development. He will present on setting up a food hub with an emphasis on farmer-friendly organizational models and ingredients for success.



“Food Safety Begins on the Farm - A hands on approach to implementing
GAP principles into your operation”

Beth LaShell


Beth LaShell is from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. After serving as an instructor in the Agriculture and Biology Department for 17 years teaching a variety of agricultural-based courses including Animal Science, Agricultural Marketing, Nutrition and Community Based Agriculture, Beth became the Coordinator of the Old Fort at Hesperus in 2010. Her duties include day to day operations, coordinating Fort Lewis College and community uses and conducting research projects on the 6300 acre property that is the site of the original Fort Lewis College. Current research projects include Analyzing Hops Varieties for High Altitude Production, the Old Fort Market Garden Incubator program which serves as an alternative entry point for new farmers, and providing small farmers with information about Alternative Direct Marketing Methods. She has been working with producers developing on-farm food safety plans since 2009 and assisted food service directors in the 4-Corners region with developing a Farm to School checklist for producers.


"Grants and Funding Opportunities through the NRCS in Utah"

Lynn Kitchen and Amber Johnson


Utah NRCS administers a broad range of conservation programs to assist farmers, ranchers, and other landowners in conserving natural resources. These programs provide incentives such as technical and cost-sharing assistance to install conservation practices. If you own or manage farm, range, or forest land, then these conservation programs can help you address natural resource concerns and opportunities on your land.Eligible agricultural producers, landowners and Tribes may apply for financial assistance to help implement conservation practices or establish conservation easements, and grants may be available for eligible groups and organizations to promote new conservation technologies.

In Moab, join Soil Conservationist Amber Johnson for a talk on financial resources available in your area.

In Hurricane, join District Conservationist Lynn Kitchen for a talk on financial resources available in your area.


"Priced Right – Maintaining the Balance between Price, Quality, and Value to Your Customers"

Ryan Murray

Ryan Murray is a seasoned entrepreneurial coach who has worked directly with over 200 small businesses in helping them maximize profits and improve their competitive edge. His expertise includes strategic business planning, marketing, and financial management. Ryan is the Regional Director for the Southeast USU Small Business Development Center as well as the Director for Custom Fit for USU Eastern. Ryan has a BA in Finance and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Westminster College.


"General Principles of Organic Arthropod Management

Diane Alston, Entomologist, Utah State University

Diane is a native of southern California and received her BS in Biology from the University of California, Riverside before heading to the Southeast to complete her graduate degrees in nematology and entomology at North Carolina State University. Diane has served as an extension and research entomologist at Utah State University for 25 years. She also serves as the Utah Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordinator. Her major responsibilities are in development and testing of novel integrated pest management technologies for horticultural crops. She has published over 100 research and extension publications and mentored numerous graduate and undergraduate students. Extension publications, slideshows, pest advisories, research reports and other products of useable knowledge can be viewed on the Utah Pests website (www.utahpests.usu.edu).



Season Extension for Berries and Vegetables

Brent Black

Dr. Brent Black is a Professor and Extension Fruit Specialist at Utah State University in Logan Utah. His interests include high-tunnel berry crop production, tart cherry orchard systems, orchard irrigation management, and alternative crops for small acreage diversification. Prior to coming to USU, he studied management systems and practices for strawberry, raspberry and blueberry production at the USDA research facility in Beltsville Maryland. A native of southeastern Idaho, Brent completed his undergraduate degree in Plant and Soil Science at USU, a Master’s degree in Horticulture at Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology at Oregon State University.



NRCS Conservation Planning and Farm Bill Funding Opportunities

Amber Johnson

Amber Johnson has worked as a conservation planner for NRCS for 11 years and in Grand and San Juan counties for two years. She has worked with a broad range of agricultural producers from irrigated hay and pasture, poultry production, dryland agriculture and small fruit, vegetable and livestock production. Her main professional goals are to help agricultural producers develop conservation plans to improve the environmental quality of their operations, be as sustainable as possible and to continue to produce local food and livestock. She has an educational background in Soil Science, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies. Amber is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Bolivia), and has a continuing interest in international agricultural development. Let’s put together your conservation plan!


2013 Farm-Chef-Fork Archive