AMES, Iowa – Keeping produce safe and healthy takes a team effort and that includes growers who donate some of their own bounty.
While well-intentioned, volunteer gleaners and donors can also be a source of contamination if food safety protocols are not followed.
To help keep Iowans safe as they give to others, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach food safety team is offering Safe Produce for Donation workshops in five locations this summer.
Each three-hour workshop will include in-field activities where participants learn about proper food harvesting and handling. The workshops are supported by the ISU Extension and Outreach Growing Together Iowa project, an initiative of the Master Gardener and SNAP-Education programs.
Workshops are geared toward produce donors, according to Shannon Coleman, assistant professor and food safety and consumer production specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. However, the program applies to those who grow and harvest food for donation, including youth, Master Gardener volunteers and 4-H volunteers.
“We want to make sure the produce they are growing in the garden is safe for consumption and that they are following safe handling practices from garden to pantry,” Coleman said.
Participants will learn how to keep their tools and utensils clean, how to harvest, store and transport produce, and how to think critically about food safety issues.
“I hope they are able to see how easy it is to follow food safety practices in the garden, and I hope we are able to give them tools they can take out to their sites, wherever that may be,” Coleman said.
Safe Produce for Donation Workshops
The workshop will be offered at the following locations, beginning June 17:
- Cedar Rapids, June 17, 9 a.m. to noon.
- Storm Lake, June 18, 1-4 p.m.
- Boone, June 20, 9 a.m. to noon.
- Sioux City, June 29, 9 a.m. to noon.
- Urbandale, July 13, 9 a.m. to noon.