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

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

 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

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

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

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

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

Meeting Urban Growers’ Unique Produce Safety Needs

March 3, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator One of the many lessons I’ve learned, or I should say re-learned, over the past year is how important titles can be. I’ve gone from searching “15-minute yoga” on YouTube to the more specific “15-minute Zoom fatigue yoga.” It may be mostly the same content, but if “Zoom” … Read More

Cold Temps, Hot Food Safety Projects

February 24, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Tricia Wancko, Food Safety Grant Coordinator Punxsutawney Phil has decreed six more weeks of what has shaped up to be a frigid winter, but there are plenty of food safety projects to catch up on while the fields are frozen and you’re keeping toasty inside your burrow. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Outreach Program … Read More

New FSMA Recordkeeping Requirements are Coming

February 12, 2021Food Safety

By Aaron Shier, NFU Senior Government Relations Representative and Billy Mitchell, Food Safety Training Coordinator The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is opening their virtual doors to everyone, including the farming community, to comment on the proposed food traceability rule. National Farmers Union (NFU), which regularly comments on federal rulemakings important to its members, will certainly … Read More

New Year, New Water Test

January 6, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Organize the tools. Clean the barn. Patch the pants. As farmers make their New Year’s resolutions, produce growers have an extra one to add: test the water. Contaminated water is often the culprit of produce-related food borne illnesses – but with proper precautions, it can be avoided. … Read More

Using Old Methods to Teach New Food Safety Techniques

December 16, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Built on Booker T. Washington’s practice of taking educational opportunities to rural areas, designed by George Washington Carver, and financed by Morris Jesup, Jesup Wagons were “moveable schools” that delivered the university classroom experience to farmers across Alabama. Back in 1906, they were horse-drawn wagons but gradually evolved with the … Read More

New Tools Bring the Farm to Screens

December 2, 2020Food Safety

By Melanie Arthur, NFU Intern Pre-pandemic, you needed a few essential things to host an on-farm tour or educational event. First, a place for people to park. Second, some hot coffee brewing. And, finally, a good story to tell and a megaphone to carry your voice across the farm and to your attendees. Now, with trucks staying parked at home and farmers getting their coffee refills at home, farm … Read More

Urban Farm Education Continues to Grow

November 10, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator Over the years, the picture of a farmer and farm service provider working together has often looked the same – two people, sometimes with paperwork sprawled across a tailgate, looking out over rows and rows of a crop surrounded by farmland stretched to the horizon. It’s a classic … Read More

No Tricks, All Treats With Value-Added Products

October 28, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, FSMA Training Coordinator  Like a moth to a glowing jack-o’-lantern, you may be drawn towards towering shelves of mass-produced candy this Halloween season and tricked into thinking that local treats are a thing of the past. Do not be scared: farm-made, value-added products are alive and well in 2020. The old classics, … Read More

TUCCA Steers Food Safety Education in New Direction

October 14, 2020Food Safety

By Melanie Arthur, NFU Intern “Parking lot, go ahead and blow your horns. Let everybody know that you are here!” food safety trainer and technical service provider Darrell McGuire shouted at the crowd. Alabama farmers and ranchers – who had drove their vehicles up to the Bethel Spring Missionary Baptist Church to hear speakers present … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Kansas Farmers Union Connects with Urban Growers On-Farm and Online

September 30, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Charlie Michel, National Farmers Union Education and Outreach Coordinator When a statewide COVID-19 lockdown upended their food safety event planning, Mary Howell and Mercedes Taylor-Puckett of Kansas Farmers Union (KFU) were quick to respond with creative solutions for delivering on-farm education to Kansas growers. A primary challenge was reaching producers in cities like Wichita, … Read More