EASTON, Md. — A workshop to help farmers reduce contamination risk and get closer to food safety certification will be held Tuesday, August 27, at Warren and Lavette Blue’s urban farm, The Greener Garden in Baltimore.
The half-day workshop, Best Practices for a Clean and Successful Harvest, will be hosted by Chesapeake Harvest, Future Harvest CASA, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s (UMES) Small Farm Program. It will cover best practices for cleaning packing surfaces, worker training, and reducing contamination risk during postharvest handling. Attendees, regardless of prior training or farm size, will gain an understanding of how to maintain the highest levels of food safety in their operations. The workshop will be conducted by food safety educators Lindsay Gilmour, Elizabeth Beggins, and Berran Rogers of UMES, along with food safety educator trainees Aleya Fraser and Kimberly Raikes. Participants will also be treated to a healthy food preparation demonstration and tasting using seasonal farm products, offered by Crystal Forman of Holistic Wellness and Health.
“By bringing the workshop onto the farm, with plenty of real examples, we will demystify food safety principles for new and experienced farmers alike, regardless of any prior classroom training,” said Elizabeth Beggins, food safety consultant with Chesapeake Harvest. “There is a wealth of online food safety resources for farmers — fact sheets, templates, videos — but they can be overwhelming without the addition of workshops and individualized coaching.”
This workshop is part of a grant to Chesapeake Harvest and Future Harvest CASA from the USDA-NIFA Food Safety Outreach Program to help farmers be more competitive and efficient via food safety certification. The program created by the grant offers a series of workshops on making operations more efficient and clean, and free one-on-one consulting provided by food safety educators Lindsay Gilmour and Elizabeth Gilmour. The workshops and consulting will continue through 2020.
Quote from program participant:
Thelonius Cook | Mighty Thundercloud Edible Forest Farm | Birds Nest, VA
“I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for the assistance I received from Chesapeake Harvest in helping me pursue GAP certification. In particular, Lindsay and Elizabeth were a pleasure to work with. Not only are they both wonderful human beings, but their knowledge and expertise were extremely valuable in helping me construct my food safety plan. Without their assistance, I don’t know how else I would have been able to navigate through all the food safety standards and requirements and create a comprehensive plan on my own. Before working with them, I had been a little overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, but they were extremely organized and efficient throughout the process. I found everything valuable, from our initial walk-thru risk assessment on my farm, to each of the online planning and writing sessions. They also supplied me with all of the templates and resource documents I need for my farm, and I am confident that I now have the knowledge and tools to maintain a Harmonized GAP compliant food safety program on my farm.”
For more information or to schedule one-on-one produce safety consulting, contact Elizabeth Beggins at elizabeth@chesapeakeharvest.
–Elizabeth Beggins, Chesapeak Harvest