Mission & Program Overview
Utah Farm-Chef-Fork was envisioned in 2012 and since then has connected hundreds of farmers with chefs across the state in an effort to reduce food miles and enhance farm security. It is a Utah Department of Agriculture and Food 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.
During spring 2014, our team expanded outreach into more and diverse communities throughout Utah. As we assess needs regionally, we continue to provide trainings and networking opportunities with a focus on direct marketing and the growing infrastructure of our sustainable agriculture and food culture.
Last fall, our program partnered 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. This statewide event was called “Eat Local Week.”
In light of new USDA funding, we have been offering additional programs. The first of these new programs was a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training in Kaysville, Utah, in May 2015. We have also hosted a farm tour in Moab, farm dinner in Cedar City, and two Food Hub Exploration workshops in December. More information about upcoming events can be found on our Extension Sustainability Facebook events page!