Food Safety Spotlight: Take 5 with Iowa Farmers Union

July 19, 2022Blog, Food Safety, Member Spotlight

By Kathryn Kavanagh, Food Safety Project Coordinator Since 1915, Iowa Farmers Union (IFU) members have worked together to strengthen Iowa independent family farms through education, legislation, and cooperation by supporting sustainable production, safe food, a clean environment, and healthy communities. Among the grassroots producers and advocates is Christina Dexter, Communications and Outreach Director at IFU. … Read More

Another Year of Local Food Safety on the Horizon

July 12, 2022Blog, Food Safety, News

By Kathryn Kavanagh A global pandemic, fragile supply chains, and rising food prices may sound all doom and gloom, but they’ve also sparked a new wave of interest in local food, with small-scale growers and processors busier than ever growing and providing food for their communities. Food safety is a top priority, as integrating best … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Take 5 with Minnesota Farmers Union

May 23, 2022Blog, Food Safety

By: Kathryn Kavanagh, Food Safety Project Coordinator Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers, ranchers, and rural residents, incorporating legislative advocacy, education, and cooperation into all they do. Their work ranges from programs like Minnesota Foodshed, Minnesota Cooks, and youth summer camps all … Read More

Food Safety for All Types of Learners

April 27, 2022Blog, Food Safety

By: Katherine Olvera, NFU Intern How do you learn best? Some of us turn to workshops hosted by experts where we can see things firsthand and ask questions. Others like to do some learning from the comfort of our own home (or farm!), turning to online resources. As the Local Food Safety Collaborative (LFSC), a … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Bins, Brushes, and Brains

February 8, 2022Blog, Food Safety

By: Billy Mitchell Totes, fish baskets, buckets, RPCs, and more – harvest bins on a farm go by many names.  At the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association conference, TOFGA for short, farmers Lorig of Middle Ground Farm and Finnegan of Steelbow Farm presented about the bins they love, how and why they use them, … Read More

Hot Reads for Cool Nights

January 6, 2022Blog, Food Safety

By: Billy Mitchell & Tricia Wancko Y’all, it is cold outside. Sure, colder in some places than others—how Montana Farmers Union members survive the winter without their eyebrows freezing off, I’ll never know—but we’re all feeling the chill of winter and looking for some warmth and coziness. If you’re like us, nothing gives you the … Read More

Compost – the Gift That Keeps on Giving

December 14, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By: Billy Mitchell Soil gives us so much. It feeds us physically by providing incredible local food to eat. It feeds us emotionally as a medium for beautiful flowers that are feasts for our eyes and hearts. It even feeds us spiritually, giving us soft grass to picnic on with loved ones and trees perfect … Read More

Food Safety Coast to Coast

November 30, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By: Billy Mitchell and Tricia Wancko Although miles apart, the East and West coasts of the US share a lot of things like beautiful views and amazing wildlife. Another thing they share? Both coasts have communities of small-scale growers who care about improving their food safety and food quality practices. Over the past few weeks, … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Introducing the Montana Farmers Union & Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center

October 28, 2021Food Safety

By: Billy Mitchell & Tricia Wancko Montana Farmers Union took root in their state as homesteaders—a classic way to say local food producers—who discovered the necessity of working collaboratively to create a regional and sustainable food system. With a similar purpose, the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center (MMFEC) works to grow Montana’s local food economy … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Introducing Keep Growing Detroit

September 28, 2021Food Safety

By: Billy Mitchell & Tricia Wancko When thinking of Detroit, most people have images of an industrial area focused on auto production alongside a soundtrack of Motown songs and KISS running through their heads. A lesser-known—but just as vibrant and important part of Detroit’s history—is its connection to agriculture. Since 1841, Detroit has hosted one … 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