- Education and Training: extension, workshop
The goal of this project was to train a group of extension educators who work with fruit and vegetable producers in order to develop a better-coordinated effort to raise grower knowledge of food safety practices, and GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) in particular. Due to recent activity surrounding food safety outbreaks, food safety concerns are high among consumers and GAPs certification is required for wholesale markets. The immediate audience for this project is agricultural professional (primarily extension agents/educators, Department of Agriculture, personnel, and other grower-educators) in Kansas and Missouri who producers turn to for information and assistance as they attempt to develop and implement farm food safety plans. A Farm Food Safety Plan is a critical piece of documentation that is required by GAPs certification, and this could be an important barrier for small-acreage and diversified growers. In particular, several extension educators in KS and MO work with Amish and Mennonite growers, and one of the goals of this project is to provide education for our agricultural professionals that can serve the needs of this important and growing group of vegetable producers. Professionals educated under this project will gain competence and confidence and will serve as valuable resources both for serving producers and for education other agricultural professionals.
- Agricultural professionals in Kansas and Missouri knowledgeable about farm food safety planning and certification procedures for GAPs.
- Agricultural professionals that can assist producers to achieve Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAPs/GHPs) certification in order to meet requirements of wholesale markets.
- Strengthened, safer local food systems as a result of expanding access to markets and increased adoption of farm food safety practices.
- Short-term Outcomes: 28 trainees in farm food safety requirements and resources for certification and the capacity to assist producers, including those with limited access to technology
- Medium term Outcomes: Training of at producers by agricultural professionals that participated in the project workshops/training, and increasing producer awareness of GAPS, even by those not seeking certification as a result of producer interactions with knowledgeable professionals.
- Long-term Outcomes: stronger, safer local and regional food systems in Kansas, Missouri and the surrounding region.