ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The University of Minnesota Extension is offering courses to help you stay up to date on important topics to protect your farm and your customers and improve the safety and quality of your fresh produce. Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are science-based, farm-level practices for keeping fresh produce safe through on farm practices. All farms are welcome to attend and learn more about GAPs and practices to improve the safety of your fresh produce.
GAPs Half-Day Training Course
These 3.5-hour online courses offer an in-depth look at GAPs on the farm. These sessions are strongly encouraged for all fresh produce farms regardless of size. This course will help you prepare your food safety plan and pass a GAP audit if you seek one for your farm. Trainers include experienced farmers and Extension staff.
Dec 2: 9:00am – 12:30pm
Jan 26: 9:00am – 12:30pm
Feb 17: 9:00am – 12:30pm (For Extension Master Gardener Volunteers)
Mar 11: 9:00am – 12:30pm
These sessions are $15 per farm and include a certificate of attendance for all participants. You must register in advance at https://z.umn.edu/GAPsTraining. Each session will provide similar information so you can choose the one that works best for your schedule. The February 17th session will focus on practices for Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and those members are encouraged to attend that session.
One Hour GAPs Deep Dives
These interactive webinars go into detail on specific food safety topics. You will have the opportunity to learn from experienced farmers in each session. All Deep Dive sessions are 9:00am – 10:00am.
Feb 9: This webinar will provide an overview of Lean Farming principles as they relate to operating a small produce farm. Lean Farming is all about efficiency to save money and time, but also goes hand-in-hand with food safety. Hear how a seasoned farmer; Ellen Polishuk, a 35-year farming veteran and co-owner of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Northern Virginia, has integrated Lean Farming techniques and improved her farm, employee morale and the safety of the produce. Come with your questions, this will be an interactive webinar!
Feb 16: Hear from Katie Bishop about packshed design for improved product postharvest quality and safety.
Feb 23: Recordkeeping on the farm, for food safety and profitability, is key and Jack Pahl of Pahl’s Market, Apple Valley, Minnesota will show us how he incorporates it on his farm.
These one hour deep dive sessions are free to attend but you must register in advance at https://z.umn.edu/GAPsDeepDive.
For questions about this educational series please reach out to Annalisa Hultberg; UMN Extension Educator, Food Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions or need assistance with registration, please contact Katie Drewitz at email@example.com or call 320-255-6169 ext. 1.
— Katie Drewitz University of Minnesota Extension