On-Farm Food Safety Workshops

On-Farm Food Safety Workshops

On-farm food safety plans became a focus of Real Food Colorado (RFCO) through stakeholder feedback from RFCO’s 2010 and 2011 Connecting Local Farms and Schools (CLFS) Conferences and RFCO’s on-the-ground work with local school districts and producers through the Colorado Farm to School initiatives. It was identified that one significant barrier for most small to mid-sized produce growers’ ability to expand into wholesale and institutional marketplaces is their ability to provide documented food safety plans. Though there are multiple resources that advocate, as well as provide access to information on the need for food safety plans and implementation methods, it has been tutorial workshops that have produced a positive impact on producers with the ability to place “pen to paper” with interactive relationship and technical assistance with experts in the field. Through the CLFS Conference’s workshops focused on food safety, one of the primary requests that came direct from producers was the request for hands-on-tutorial guidance on the development of on-farm food safety plans. In addition, RFCO produced two additional workshops addressing food safety plan development for the Southwest Colorado Farm to School conference in late Fall 2011 and Arkansas Valley Organic Growers in Pueblo, CO, where direct feedback from producers clearly indicated that an extensive workshop series focusing on the implementation and development of on-farm food safety plans will greatly assist more small to mid-sized produce growers in Colorado.