Natural Resources

Title

Utah Farm-Chef-Fork: Building Sustainable Local Food Connections

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Food Distribution Research

Volume

46

Issue

1

Publisher

Food Distribution Research Society

Publication Date

3-2015

Abstract

While research documenting the impacts of direct marketing locally produced foods find positive impacts across the food supply chain (i.e. producers, chefs, consumers, and the overall economy), significant barriers to efficient farm-to-chef connections remain. Lack of knowledge and communication regarding product availability and quality are primary barriers. This paper outlines the activities and impacts of the Utah Farm-Chef-Fork program, who’s primary goal is to enhance community vitality and reduce food miles by connecting Utah producers and restaurants through workshops, mingles, farm and restaurant tours, and other locally-sourcing food events. In 2013-2014, the program conducted six farmer/chef workshops and six mingles statewide, with 172 farmers, 73 chefs, and 24 educators participating. Workshop materials specifically addressed common barriers and benefits experienced by farmers and chefs in local sourcing. Mingles provided producers and small food processors the opportunity to showcase their products to chefs and specialty store owners in attendance. Impact measures show significantly increased understanding and confidence among participants in establishing local-sourcing relationships, as well as plans for increased activity in the future.