Food Safety Workshops for Fruit and Vegetable Growers to be Offered Across Iowa

17 Feb 2012
Ames, IOWA - Growers interested in improving food safety and post-harvest handling of fruits and vegetables can learn both at one of five upcoming Farm to ISU and Iowa State University Extension sponsored workshops. Workshops will be offered on

• February 23 in Westphalia, Iowa at St. Boniface Church: 12:00-4:00
• March 20 in Ames, Iowa at Linden Training Center on the ISU campus: 12:00-4:00
• March 27 in Marion, Iowa at the Linn County Extension Office: 12:00-4:00
• March 28 at Iowa Western Community College: 12:00-4:00
• April 5 at Linden Training Center on the ISU campus: 8:00-12:00

The workshops will also cover the implications of recent federal food safety legislation on small growers as well as the opportunity to become a vendor to Iowa State University. To register, growers can log on to the ISU Dining Farm to ISU website located at http://www.dining.iastate.edu/farm/workshops/.
“Fruit and vegetable growers work to deliver a safe product from farm to table,” said Margaret Smith, program coordinator with ISU Extension's value added agriculture program, and co-team leader for the workshops. “This may require additional planning and implementation of new practices and protocols on the farm.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s good agricultural practices (GAPs) address microbial food safety hazards for unprocessed fruits and vegetables from the farm to retail. “These good agricultural and management practices are important to ensure safety as well as quality of most fruits and vegetables sold to consumers or retail foodservices in the unprocessed form," said Cathy Strohbehn, ISU Extension specialist, associate professor of hotel and restaurant and institution management, and workshop co-team leader.

"There are actions producers can take at each step - growing, harvesting, washing, sorting, packing and transporting – to meet these objectives, with the added benefit of presenting a competitive advantage within the market,” Strohbehn said.

“On-farm food safety is critical to both the grower and the consumer,” said ISU Dining – Farm to ISU Coordinator – Courtney Long. “This specific workshop highlights important steps for producers to take.”

Topics to be covered during this half-day workshop include microbial risks, the regulatory landscape, safety issues and information about how to develop a farm food safety plan based on GAPs principles. We will also include a meal and an overview of the steps farmers must take to successfully sell to ISU Dining.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion of On Farm Food Safety Training, suitable for framing at points of sale.

Fees for the GAP, Farm to ISU workshops are $25.00 per person and free for second family or business member, which includes take home reference materials, lunch and refreshments. ISU Dining will reimburse the registration fee for those farmers currently cleared to sell to ISU Dining. Farmers who are cleared before or on the day of the workshop will also have their registration fee reimbursed.

The Farm to ISU workshops are partially funded by a two-year competitive grant to Nancy Levandowski and Farm to ISU by the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).

The workshops were developed as part of a competitive grant to Strohbehn and Smith from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Paul Domoto, ISU Extension specialist and professor of horticulture, and Lester Wilson, ISU professor of food science and human nutrition are additional project team members on this grant. More information about the project can be found at www.iastatelocalfoods.org.

Established by the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act, the Leopold Center supports the development of profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources. More information about the Leopold Center is available on the web at: www.leopold.iastate.edu, or by calling the Center at 515-294-3711.

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Contacts :
ISU Dining: Farm to ISU Coordinator
Courtney Long: 515-294-2892
farm2isu@iastate.edu
For more information about this workshop please refer to the Farm to ISU website at http://www.dining.iastate.edu/farm/toolkit/

Cathy Strohbehn, Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management, 515-294-3527, cstrohbe@iastate.edu

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