- Agronomic: corn, potatoes, sorghum (milo)
- Fruits: apples, apricots, berries (other), berries (blueberries), berries (brambles), cherries, grapes, melons, peaches, pears, plums, berries (strawberries)
- Vegetables: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), leeks, onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, brussel sprouts
- Additional Plants: herbs
- Animals: bees
- Miscellaneous: mushrooms
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, workshop
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems
An important component of the economic sustainability of small farms is direct marketing in the form of roadside stands and farmers’ markets. Training provided to local farmers included business planning and leadership, however, outbreaks of foodborne illnesses traced back to products sold in farmers’ markets shed much needed light on the food safety practices and food handling training needed for this sector of the market. The problem is that most of the beginning, small and medium-sized farmers lack both monetary and human resources to obtain a third party certification.
The proposed program will provide Extension agents the necessary knowledge to train other Extension agents and farmers’ market managers who in turn will educate the farmers, farmers’ market vendors and their employees on lowering the risk of foodborne illness outbreaks. Agents will also gain insight into the new regulation as it applies to medium-sized farms that would be covered by the FSMA, but most importantly, it will help them provide guidance to limited resource farmers registered at the farmers’ markets to understand the regulation and provide a platform for them to build a food safety plan.
Project objectives from proposal:
Access food safety educational materials.
Participate in a series of in-class training programs.
Conduct SSARE regional conference to extend training resources and methodology to Extension educators to other states in the Southern region.
Develop comprehensive web-based educational/training programs to extend opportunities for educational Extension personnel nationwide.