Increasing the Use of Farm Fresh Food in Institutional Settings by Educating Chefs, Youth, and Local Farmers through Demonstrations, Workshops, and Visual References

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2017: $7,448.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Hendrick House Farms
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Coordinator:
Ann Swanson
Hendrick House

Information Products


  • Fruits: melons
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, peppers, radishes (culinary), cucurbits, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: herbs


  • Crop Production: crop rotation, fertigation, irrigation
  • Education and Training: demonstration, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution
  • Pest Management: mulching - plastic, row covers (for pests)
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture, sustainability measures


    I intend to provide farm to table education to foodservice providers, youth, farmers and the local community to encourage moving away from prepackaged, pre-processed, unhealthy food that institutionalized kitchens often provide while also creating awareness of the importance of supporting local farms in the community.

    Project objectives:

    There are four population sectors I am targeting to implement the proposed educational project. The first sector is youth in the community. I plan to hold three one-hour workshops to demonstrate farming in the stages of planting, harvesting and consuming. My goal is to show youths where their food is grown and the difference in quality between food off the farm and processed food. I will work with University of Illinois Extension leading youth workshops and educating children on the importance of farm fresh food.

    The second sector will be food service workers. I intend to assemble a workbook to be used as a field guide to educate them in health benefits and proper storage and also provide them with recipes to build on when transitioning to farm fresh cooking during four workshops that are three hours long, twice a year. During these workshops we will be writing menus for upcoming semesters with the hope that chefs will order more local food and we will discuss reducing food waste using more in-house processing methods.

    The third sector I will be targeting is farmers. I intend to work with The Land Connection in educational workshops for local farmers from a “chef’s point of view.” I will also be reaching farmers through presentations at state wide conferences with the intent to increase business for local farms by sharing my knowledge on how to interact with chefs, packaging and receiving and what chefs look for regarding quality and reliability.

    The fourth sector I plan to target is the general public. I will be publishing articles in the New Illinois Farmers listserv, Illinois Fruit and Vegetable newsletter and The Land Connection Newsletter. I will also educate the community through social media, websites and weekly blog posts to increase the use and purchase of locally-produced food.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.