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NC State Extension

Farm to Fork Camp

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Farm to Fork Camps are a Cooperative Extension program between 4-H, FCS, and Agriculture to teach youth (8-18) where their food comes from and how to prepare meals using fresh items from the farm. Program activities include farm visits, cooking demonstrations, and cooking competitions.

Getting Started: Gather inspiration, models and ideas from these Farm to Fork Camps in North Carolina.

Participants clean strawberries to use in a dish.

Participants clean strawberries to use in a dish.

Lee County: This hands-on teen cooking camp emphasizes healthy food preparation  techniques, simple ingredients, and limited use of prepackaged foods. During the camp participants learn how to plan meals, shop, and stock a pantry that encourages efficient meal preparation. Each day teams focus on basic cooking techniques such as roasting, marinating, grilling, baking, steaming, and sautéing. Participants then showcase their talents on the last day during the Cook Smart Eat Smart Teen Challenge. Teams are given the opportunity to compete in planning, budgeting, shopping, and preparing meals. The winning team will advance to the regional competition.

In 2018, Lee County hosted their first regional 4-H cooking challenge for Harnett, Lee, Moore, and Cumberland counties. Each county brought winning teams from their summer 4-H cooking camps to compete against each other and were judged based on their cooking techniques, food safety practices, nutritional knowledge, creativity, and overall presentation. This competition highlighted local foods in the region by giving each team a basket of okra, sweet potatoes, and chicken that was required to be used in a dish of their choice. Along with these items they had access to pantry staples and each created a delicious meal.

4-H Farm to Fork Camp participants at a poultry, egg and hog farm. The farmer and our livestock agent share important facts with the youth before we get items to take back to the kitchen and cook.

4-H Farm to Fork Camp participants at a poultry, egg and hog farm. The farmer and our livestock agent share important facts with the youth before we get items to take back to the kitchen and cook.

Harnett County:  Do you know where your food comes from? Do you like to cook? Come learn about the food on your plate from where it began! In this week long day camp, participants will learn about agriculture from the ground up.

After visiting local farms, picking fruits and vegetables, students will prepare those foods into delicious dishes. On the last day of camp, campers will participate in a 4-H Food Challenge Competition to see which team can prepare the best dish from mystery ingredients!

An evaluation of the Harnett County Farm to Fork Camp revealed:

100% of parents reported that their children, who participated in our cooking programs are:

  1. Cooking at home;
  2. Practicing proper food safety (temping meat, washing fruits & vegetables etc.); and
  3. Using proper knife & culinary skills.

91% of parents reported that their children, who participated in our cooking programs are:

  1. Utilizing healthy recipes we provided and
  2. Eating more fruits & vegetables.

Farm to Fork Resources

Check out these resources to gather models and resources from these programs.

4-H Farm to Fork NCVOL Presentation 2019

2019-Food-Challenge-Rules-and-Guidelines– From Texas A&M 4-H Program

4-H Food Challenge Information– From Texas A&M 4-H Program

National Food Challenge– From Texas A&M 4-H Program