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67 Merchants Row
Rutland, VT, 05701
United States

(802) 417-1528

Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL) promotes local food knowledge, production and market opportunities for farmers and community members throughout our region.

What's Growin' On

An online community of farmers in the Rutland region hosted by the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link

USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) TRAINING FOR COMMERCIAL PRODUCE FARMERS

RAFFL

USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) TRAINING FOR COMMERCIAL PRODUCE FARMERSDecember 10 White River Junction, VT Registration Deadline: November 26 (Click here for Registration Form)

We recently held an introductory workshop on GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) here in Rutland.  This workshop is an in-depth information session for commercial growers who want to learn more about how the USDA GAP program works and what is included in an audit. If you are interested in becoming GAP certified for wholesale markets, it will help you evaluate your facilities and practices to prepare for a GAPs audit.  Recent outbreaks of food borne illnesses in fruits and vegetables have brought food safety on produce farms to the forefront of consumer consciousness. In response, some chain supermarkets and other buyers are requiring farms undergo a USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Audit to certify that they are following food safety practices.

Attendees to the morning session will learn about pathogens associated with fresh produce, strategies for reducing food safety risks in all steps of production, and how to meet the requirements of a USDA GAPs Audit.

Attendees to the afternoon session will leave with a draft of a food safety plan for their farm. Growers can attend just the morning session or both the morning session and the afternoon session depending on their needs.

All attendees will receive:

  • A manual filled with GAP resources
  • A CD loaded with templates needed to maintain USDA GAP records that you can tailor for your operation

8:30 – 12:00 Morning Session

  • Overview of food borne-pathogens and food safety issues
  • Overview of pending federal regulations, marketing trends and future prospects in food safety
  • Review of the most common on-farm food safety challenges and best practices
  • Review of the GAP Audit Checklist

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch (provided) 1:00 – 4:00 Afternoon Session:

  • Working from a template, growers will draft a farm food safety plan tailored for their operation.
  • The Vermont GAPs Auditor and Extension educators will be available to answer questions.
  • Growers attending the afternoon session will be asked to fill out a one-page evaluation of your operation prior to the workshop to make the most efficient use of your time.

Instructor: Rich Bonanno, Ph.D., UMass Extension Educator with UMass GAP project. Rich Bonanno is an Extension Educator with UMass Extension and is a co-Principal Investigator on the UMass GAP project. He is also responsible for weed management in vegetable and small fruit crops. Rich currently serves as president of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and is a past-president of the New England Vegetable & Berry Grower's Association. Rich owns and operates Pleasant Valley Gardens in Methuen, MA, where he raises vegetables and flowers on 50 acres.

Additional service providers will be on hand to answer questions: Vern Grubinger, Ph.D., UVM Extension and Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers; Dave Rogers, Northeast Organic Farming Association-Vermont Policy Advisor; Ginger Nickerson, UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture GAPs Outreach Coordinator; Hans Estrin, UVM Extension Local Food Network Coordinator; Steve Justis, Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association. Steve Parise, VT Agency of Agriculture USDA GAPs Auditor, will be on hand to help answer questions.

Sponsored by: University of Vermont Extension, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-Vermont), and the Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association. Additional support provided by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture specialty crops program. UVM Extension helps individuals and communities put research-based knowledge to work. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status. If you require accommodations or financial assistance to participate in this program, please let NOFA-Vermont know two weeks before the workshop (Nov. 26) so we may assist you.

Questions? Ginger Nickerson, UVM-Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 802-656-5490, or Dave Rogers, NOFA Vermont, 802- 434-4122.