There is still time to register for the upcoming Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Food Safety workshop on Friday, December 10th in White River Junction, VT! The registration form is attached or go to: http://nofavt.org/events/gaps-food-safely-planning-workshop-growers-0
Even if you have already passed a GAPs audit, if you have never attended a GAPs workshop, you should consider attending this workshop because it will help you tailor and revise the plan for your farm.
Why should you attend?
If you are a commercial grower you should attend because:
- It will allow you to keep or expand markets - Hannafords and Price Chopper will only be buying from GAPs certified growers, starting in 2011. Although we are keeping our fingers crossed that the Tester Amendment will stay in the Food Safety Modernization Act, reducing the FDA requirements for farms doing under $500,000 in gross direct sales, more buyers, including distributors, will probably start requiring GAPs certification.
- It will help you learn the basics of food safety, the most common pathogens and the most important practices to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses on your farm.
- You will go home with a DVD and a hard copy manual of all the materials needed to create your own food safety plan
- And most importantly for your sanity, the best time to develop a food safety plan for your farm is the winter!
Bob Pomykala, President of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association has this to say about the workshop:
"Jane and I attended the Nov. Gaps workshop in Burlington. We were overwhelmed by the amount of time and expense needed to comply. We thought we were doing a good job keeping things clean on our farm, but in order to qualify, we would need to change some our practices, and invest in new infrastructure. I will say this, since we went to the workshop, I am viewing our farm in a more critical way. I never focused in food safety as such, and it has opened my eyes to some practices we use which really need to be changed, regardless of whether we intend to go forward with GAPS compliance or not. I am really glad that we went. In other words, if GAPS is the gold standard, then it is something to strive for, even if we have to take small steps to get there. We all want to produce safe food. There is another GAPS workshop DEC 10 in White River. If you go it will open your eyes."
If you are a buyer, food service director or agricultural service provider, you should attend because:
- It will help you understand the forces behind the push for GAPs
- It will help understand the basics of on-farm food safety issues and what to think about in terms of food borne illnesses
- It will help you understand the realities of what GAP certification means for growers in terms of infrastructure and labor costs, record keeping and business planning
The new registration deadline is Thursday, December 2nd.
The registration form is available at http://nofavt.org/events/gaps-food-safely-planning-workshop-growers-0
If you have questions about registration please call Barbara Richardson at NOFA-VT: 802-434-4122 Other questions, please call Ginger: -- Ginger Nickerson GAPs Outreach Coordinator UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture 106 High Point Center, Suite 300 Colchester, VT 05446 firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Phone: (802) 656-5490 Cell Phone: (802) 249-6701 Fax: (802)656-8874