Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Workshops to be held in Council Bluffs

Along with the increasing consumer interests in buying locally grown foods come food safety expectations from buyers. Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, certification can be used by fruit and vegetable producers to meet buyer requirements for food safety.  Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will hold GAP workshops this spring for farmers who sell directly to consumers through Farmers Markets or CSA’s, and those considering sales to retail foodservices.
 
The one-day workshops are offered as Level 1: KNOW and Level 2: SHOW. Level 1 is training for growers who provide food to consumers through community–supported agriculture or farmers’ markets, or are considering retail foodservice sales. Training covers good agriculture best practices and market considerations.
 
Level 2 workshops guide farmers in the development of a written farm food safety plan. Growers who are considering sales to retail foodservices such as grocers, restaurants, hospitals and other institutions should attend this workshop.  After attending the workshop, growers interested in adding value to fresh produce and selling products in a convenience form will have the tools to demonstrate that GAPs are in place. Farmers can then offer food safety assurances to buyers.
 
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach faculty and specialists instructing the workshops include Angela Shaw and Heather Snyder, food safety; Catherine Strohbehn, food safety and local foods systems; and Linda Naeve, value added agriculture. The workshops are funded through a grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
 
A Level 1 workshop will be held at the West Pottawattamie Extension & Outreach office in Council Bluffs on March 8th.  A Level 2 workshop will be held in the same location on March 21, 2014.  Participants must have completed Level 1 to be eligible to participate in the Level 2 workshop.  Growers completing Level 2 GAP training will be audit ready and equipped to service larger food distributors. 
 
For registration information, contact ISU/Mills County Extension at 712-624-8616, or go to www.extension.iatstate.edu/mills. To register on-line, go to: http://www.fshn.hs.iastate.edu/angela-shaw-food-safety/good-agricultural-practices-workshop/#cost-and-registration.    Registration deadline is March 1.

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