Food Safety Spotlight: Introducing Keep Growing Detroit

September 28, 2021Food Safety

By: Billy Mitchell & Tricia Wancko The Local Food Safety Collaborative (LFSC) continues to grow! Earlier this year, Michigan Farmers Union (MIFU) partnered with Keep Growing Detroit (KGD), an organization that supports greater food sovereignty, provides education to urban farmers and gardeners, and cultivates community connections in the Detroit area. Their vision is of a … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Introducing Missouri Farmers Union

September 14, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell & Tricia Wancko Missouri Farmers Union (MOFU) works to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life of agricultural producers—whether they are long-established or new to their agricultural journey—and provides a home for those producers who are committed to conserving their state’s natural bounty. As part of that work, MOFU … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: A Food Safety Community Grows in the Northeast

August 4, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Lowering produce safety risks. Growing great food. Building community. Growers and service providers have a long list of top priorities. The voluntary Community Accreditation for Produce Safety (CAPS) program of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association—with operation coordinated by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension—aims to help growers adopt … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Meaningful Collaboration at IAFP

July 21, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator “Representation matters.” “Meaningful collaboration.” These simple yet powerful sentiments were shared by Armitra Jackson-Davis (Alabama A&M University) and Kranti Yemmireddy (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) during the International Association for Food Protection’s conference session, “If You Want to Go Fast, Go Alone; But If You Want … Read More

What Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition Means for Agriculture

July 15, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director To address corporate consolidation in nearly every sector, President Joe Biden last week signed a sweeping executive order aimed at promoting competition and fairness throughout the economy. The order includes 72 directives that will be carried out by 12 federal agencies, many of which target the agricultural sector: It will offer … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Preparing to Lead

July 7, 2021Blog

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator, & Tricia Wancko, NFU Food Safety Grant Coordinator The Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training provides an excellent opportunity both for growers to learn about the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) and for trainers to build community as they enhance their skills teaching food … Read More

Don’t Be Duped by Deceptive Labeling

July 6, 2021Blog

By Danielle Endvick As we head into the holiday weekend, many families will be firing up the grill and celebrating with burgers and steaks cooked to sizzling perfection. Or, in sadder cases, charred to an unrecognizable blackened blob. Whether you’re one of the lucky folks feasting on a grillmaster’s handiwork or instead find yourself chomping … Read More

Blistering Temperatures Scorch Crops, Threaten Farmers and Workers

July 2, 2021Blog

This week, the Northwestern U.S. has experienced some of its hottest temperatures ever, with some cities and towns surpassing previous record highs by double digits.  The heat wave, which is unquestionably related to anthropomorphic climate change, is deeply concerning for a number of reasons. For one, heat can be extremely deadly, especially in regions that don’t experience it often … Read More

Gullah Geechee Cooperative Builds with Food Safety Focus

June 23, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator, & Tricia Wancko, NFU Food Safety Grant Coordinator A visit to the Gullah Farmers Cooperative processing, packing, and distribution facility on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, fills you with the same sense of promise as a freshly tilled field in spring—all the pieces are in place and … Read More

Beekeepers Work to Protect Hives By Keeping Them Local

June 22, 2021Blog

By Jeanne Janson, NFU Journalism Fellow With honey bee populations declining at rapid rates, beekeepers, farmers and consumers alike are grasping for solutions that will tackle the big picture problems like climate change. Ang Roell, however, believes change starts on a much smaller scale – one the size of a thumbnail. Ang is the author of … Read More

Celebrate Juneteenth By Keeping Our Promises to Black Farmers

June 18, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director Until recently, Juneteenth has been celebrated only in certain Black communities, with barbecues, parades, rodeos, and other festivities. A portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth,” the holiday marks the day that the final enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were freed following the Emancipation Proclamation ­­– undoubtedly an event worth remembering. … Read More

 Food Safety Spotlight: Food Hubs and Food Safety

June 9, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator, & Tricia Wancko, NFU Food Safety Grant Coordinator “I’m really passionate about helping to make the local food movement in Alabama successful, and I feel like that is only going to happen if we are extremely creative and cooperative,” explained Farm Food Collaborative Co-Manager Carey Martin-Lane at … Read More

Spring Brings Another Year of Local Food Safety Collaborative

May 26, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Bags of asparagus. Hot pepper jams. Turkey tail mushrooms. Over the past year and half, consumers recommitted to sourcing locally and discovered diverse and delicious food close to home. They also turned to virtual options to learn how to cook, preserve, and source those local ingredients. Farmers … Read More

Farmers Deserve the Right to Repair Their Tractors

May 24, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director Thanks in large part to the introduction of machinery like tractors and combines, farms today are far more efficient and productive than they were a handful of generations ago. Though these time- and labor-saving technologies can run tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, farmers often aren’t able … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: The ABCs in School Gardens

May 12, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Farm to school programs continue to grow in popularity, with some schools taking part in hyper-local sourcing by using school gardens and farms to provide students with opportunities for taste testing and hands-on learning. Teachers tending these school plots may ask themselves, “how do we grow the best tasting produce while following food safety practices to keep our kids safe?” Thankfully, teachers are well-primed to … Read More

Alpha Gamma Rho Donates $2,600 to Support Farm Mental Health

May 7, 2021Blog

By Connor Hultman, previous Noble Ruler of Alpha Gamma Rho chapter at Iowa State University In the Fall of 2020, the men of Alpha Gamma Rho at Iowa State University set out to raise as much money as they could for the agriculturalists of the United States that make the world go around. After a … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Take 5 with Gretchen Wall of the Produce Safety Alliance

April 29, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA), a collaboration between Cornell University, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is probably best known for developing the PSA Grower Training Course that growers and educators use around the country. Perhaps less well known, … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Good Design for Good Practices

April 28, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator On a recent episode of the Tilth Alliance Farm Walks Podcast, Ryan Lichttenegger of Steel Wheel Farm in Fall City, Washington, and Andy Chamberlin, Agricultural Engineering Technician at the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, dove into some of the ins and outs of DIY hygienic design. Lichttenegger recently … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Take 5 with Michigan Farmers Union

April 28, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Over the past year, Mary Mcgraw and Blain Becktold provided outreach and education with the Michigan Farmers Union as part the Local Food Safety Collaborative, a cooperative agreement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We asked them to take a break to reflect back on this … Read More

 Diagnose and Discuss: Food Safety Clinic Benefits Growers

April 14, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator If you have a community-based farm and want to identify ways to strengthen your operation, there’s no better place to go for suggestions and solutions than other farmers— alongside some back up from educators who know your area well. Pennsylvania Farmers Union (PAFU) created a virtual space for urban growers to gather, learn, diagnose, and discuss areas for potential improvement on their farms at the Mid-Atlantic Produce Safety Clinic for Growers. The clinic … Read More

Drought Grips Western U.S.

April 8, 2021Blog

After a year riddled with pandemic-related challenges, farmers were hoping for an easy, uncomplicated growing season. Unfortunately, for many that dream seems unlikely, as much of the Western half of the country is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the dry conditions can be attributed to “a weak summer … Read More

Small Business Loans Extended

April 1, 2021Blog

A day before the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was set to expire on March 31, President Joe Biden signed a two-month extension into law. The program, which provides forgivable loans to cover businesses’ payroll and other costs, is now open for applications through May 31, 2021. Though the term “paycheck” is used in the program name, businesses are not … Read More

Scaling Good Manufacturing Processes Education to Small-Scale Processors

March 31, 2021Food Safety

By Tricia Wancko, Food Safety Grant Coordinator Many small-scale farms and food businesses—whether they are chopping, canning, preserving, aggregating, or dehydrating value-added products—might not know where to begin when navigating the Preventive Controls Rule (PCR) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). While many of these small processors may be exempt from parts of the rule, they still must comply with Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMPs). CGMPs are the foundation for … Read More

Why Farmers Are Worried About Bill Gates (And Other Non-Farming Land-Owners)

March 29, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director You’ve likely heard the buzz that Bill Gates, in addition to being one of the wealthiest men in the world, is now also the largest private owner of farmland in the United States. Over the past several years, the billionaire has amassed a portfolio of 242,000 acres of cropland across … Read More

Good Practices Bring Great Results for Small Farms

March 17, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator “Camaraderie with the whole team.”  “Much more fun!”  “Peace of mind.”  For most farmers, those phrases may conjure up memories of early fall picnics with staff, family, and friends after the season has slowed down. But for growers Kim Butz, Nathan Vannette, and Roberto Meza, those were the phrases that came to … Read More