Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Utah Farm-Chef-Fork Gets Extension

Farm chef fork logo
USU Extension

Agriculture is one of the largest industries in Utah, and it takes some effort to locate farms and what products they provide around the state. Roslynn Brain is an associate professor at Utah State University Extension Sustainability. She said farmers can get lost in the online world, which is how most people find their information.

Brain runs the Utah Farm-Chef-Fork project, a program that trains both farmers and chefs about direct marketing benefits as well as training in things such as social marketing. The project has just received a two and a half year funding cycle.

“Research also shows that when farmers use direct marketing– selling directly at farmers markets or to restaurants–  is an effective way to increase their income and decrease farmland loss,” she said.

The Census of Agriculture results from 1982 to 2007 show that more than 300,000 acres of land have been lost due to population growth. That is more than 50 acres a day of farmland that is lost to development.

Brain said it’s important to secure farmland and hopes that when people go out to eat they will ask more questions about where their food is coming from.

“If I had one request for people, it would be when they eat at a restaurant to ask if any of the food is local because that conversation really starts to trigger changes in businesses," she said. "It will be more on the forefront of restaurants throughout the state that local food is in high demand and will help with farm security throughout Utah.”

The National Restaurant Association lists locally sourced meat and seafood and locally grown produce as their top two trends for 2014

Brain said the project is catching the interest of farmers and chefs outside of Utah and because of the new funding, they will be able to launch Farm Dinners in 2015.

“Those will be a way for farmers and chefs to connect in that farmers will provide the food, the chefs will prepare the food and the public will be able to come and eat what is provided.”

The program’s goal is to enhance community vitality and reduce the number of miles food travels from farm to table.