AMES, Iowa — Along with 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 fall for farmers who sell directly to consumers 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. Farmers considering sales to retail foodservices such as grocers, restaurants, hospitals and other institutions, and those interested in adding value to fresh produce and selling products in a convenience form will have the tools to demonstrate GAPs are in place after attending the workshop. Farmers then can offer food safety assurances to buyers.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach faculty and specialists instructing the workshops include Angela Shaw, food safety; Paul Domoto, horticulture; Catherine Strohbehn, food safety and local foods systems; and Linda Naeve, value added agriculure. The workshops are funded through a grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Council Bluffs Workshops – Iowa Western Community College, 2700 Colege Road
Des Moines Workshops – DMACC Continuing Ed Center at Southridge Mall, 1111 East Army Post Road
Dubuque Workshops – Dubuque County Extension Office, 14858 W Ridge Lane
Iowa City Workshops – Johnson County Extension Office, 3109 Old Highway 218 South
The fee is $25 per workshop with discounts for farms and multiple level participation. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion following the program. Registration can be made online at http://bit.ly/12sLsxE . For more information or to book a date, please contact Heather Snyder at 515-294-9020 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.