Workshop to Offer Training on Writing Farm Produce Safety Plans
- By Virginia Nickerson
Burlington--Having a food safety plan in place can help fruit and vegetable growers improve operational efficiency and produce quality as well as improve on-farm sanitation and minimize the risks of microbial contamination.
To assist growers who want to create a customized farm produce safety plan for their operation, University of Vermont (UVM) Extension's Center for Sustainable Agriculture will offer free workshops at five locations this winter. Although the workshops will teach the principles of good agricultural practices (GAPs), they are designed for small, diversified farmers who sell directly to local markets and do not intend to become GAP-certified in the near future.
The Center's GAP Program Coordinator Ginger Nickerson will conduct the sessions with assistance from local growers who have implemented produce safety practices on their farm. Each workshop will cover potential on-farm sources of microbial contamination and what to do to reduce that risk from planting to post-harvest handling. All participants will complete a detailed draft of a farm produce safety plan for their operation. They also will receive a free practical produce safety manual.
The workshops, which include lunch, will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the following dates and locations:
- Feb. 24--Morrisville; Stone Grill, 116 Vermont Rte.15.
- Feb. 26--Burlington; Burlington Co-Housing, 180 East Ave.
- Feb. 28--Newport; Gateway Center, 84 Fyfe Dr.
- March 11--Rutland (co-sponsored by Rutland Area Farm and Food Link); Rutland Regional Planning Commission Office, 67 Merchants Row (Opera House).
- March 12--Bennington (co-sponsored by Bennington College); Center for the Advancement of Public Action Center, Bennington College.
The workshops are funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Program grant administered by the Vermont Agency of Farms, Food and Markets. They are open to fruit and vegetable growers from Vermont and neighboring states.
Register online at http://www.eventbrite.com/o/uvm-center-for-sustainable-agriculture-1519520706 or by phone at (802) 656-5459. Registration forms also may mailed to Cheryl Herrick, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 23 Mansfield Ave., Burlington, VT 05401. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, please contact Ginger Nickerson at (802)505-8189 or firstname.lastname@example.org two weeks prior to the workshop date.