This brand new, innovative program is working to solve barriers to employment for residents of Fayette County while providing skilled, career minded employees to local food businesses!

Our program recruits under or unemployed residents of Lexington and provides them with:

  • 8 weeks (8 hrs per week) of hands on learning experience working with gleaned seconds produce from local farms
  • Training in kitchen safety, sanitation, knife skills, working with fresh produce, cross-contamination, weights and measure, recipe literacy, basic kitchen math, FIFO, working with kitchen small equipment, meat and fish handling, job readiness, and more!
  • A 1-shift (8hr) externship placement to see a day in the life of a local food business
  • A knife roll with chef, serrated, and paring knives
  • A kitchen uniform of all black pants, jacket, and skullcap
  • A food handler’s permit, polished resume, certificate of completion, and stipend
  • 1 year of ongoing support towards continued employment





Your business can be an externship site! Food Force Participants are required to fulfill 8 externship hours at local food businesses. They can perform these hours either in one 8hr shift or two 4hr shifts. The shift can be front of the house, back of the house, production, dish, cleaning tasks, as long as participants get to glimpse a day in the life at your business! The only thing we ask is that you are understanding that for them, this is an unpaid learning experience, and the best way to learn is to do! Make sure they can shadow someone who will show them around, explain why they do things a certain way, and, of course, let them taste something you all make! At the end of the shift, their supervisor will fill out a confidential evaluation form about the student’s performance, while they in turn evaluate your externship site. This becomes a great learning experience for participants as these are gone over with the instructor to better understand areas for growth and areas of interest in the local food sector!


Our classes have lots of space for local businesses to come and talk about who they are, what they do, why they do it, and what is great about local food! Besides that there is always lots of room to incorporate demos, recipes, and assistance for teaching lessons. We also try to get folks out of the classroom with some field trips, so if you would like to coordinate a visit or tour of your business for a class, please get in touch with chris@foodchainlex.org.


Looking to hire? Our graduates will come out of this program familiar with safety and sanitation, mise en place, FIFO, and work flow, as well as rudimentary knowledge of produce and protein processing. They will already have an updated Food Handlers Permit, a brand new uniform of all black chef wear, and a factory sharp knife kit ready to become part of your team! We strive to partner our graduates with a business that will truly interest and engage them, while also providing a safe and upwardly mobile work site for them to grow in. With that in mind, we are looking for businesses that offer living wage pay scales, opportunity for upward growth in management, paid leave, health benefits, and a compassion for the diverse backgrounds that graduates come with.


Fill out this survey to become part of our program! For questions or to just hear more about our program email chris@foodchainlex.org or call 859-576-2804

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