Mission & Program Overview
The goal of Utah Farm-Chef-Fork is to enhance farm security, community vitality, and reduce food miles by connecting Utah consumers, producers, and restaurants. The program was launched in 2012 and has connected hundreds of farmers with chefs, and has also linked low-income and ethnic-minority populations to the local food movement across the state. The program exists thanks to funding by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Specialty Crop Block Grant program, the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program, Slow Food Utah’s Micro-Grant Program, as well as key partners including: Utah State University Extension Sustainability, Create Better Health, Utahns Against Hunger, Utah Department of Health, and Slow Food Utah.
Our efforts since 2018 have focused on connecting low-income and ethnic minority populations around the state to Utah’s local food movement, along with creating and coordinating the Utah Farmers Market Network. Our team also created a marketing campaign to remind SNAP customers that they can use their benefits at participating farmers markets in Utah.
Given COVID-19, our team also worked with the farmers markets statewide to develop a COVID-19 Response and Best Practices Guide for Utah Farmers Markets, along with a COVID-19 Resources Guide for Direct Marketing Farmers.
Additional information can be found on our Utah Farmers Market Network website.
Our research team launched the first series of trainings for farmers and chefs, which addressed barriers and benefits to direct marketing, effective communication techniques, communication technologies, message framing, and use of social media. We also launched a series of statewide chef-producer mingles to allow an opportunity for further networking. The trainings saw participation from over 70 specialty crop producers and chefs and the feedback was positive and energetic. Even more, producers throughout the state have followed-up with news of successful relationships established as a result of these mingles.
Our team expanded outreach into more and diverse communities throughout Utah. We assessed needs regionally and continued to provide trainings and networking opportunities with a focus on direct marketing and the growing infrastructure of our sustainable agriculture and food culture.
In fall of 2014, we 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,” which is still occurring on an annual basis in Utah.
2015 - 2018
Between 2015 and 2018, we added a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training to our training series in order to help producers stay current on new regulations. We also offered farm tours, local food community workshops, and food hub exploration workshops.
Utah Farmers Market SNAP Toolkit
Encouraging SNAP Shopper Participation at Utah Farmers Markets
2018 Moab Local Food Guide