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Practical Produce Safety Plan Writing Workshops Announced for February 2015

UVM Extension’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture, with support from the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant and Risk Management Agency programs will offer five full day workshops on practical food safety for small and diversified farms who market directly and locally.

Workshop Overview:  As a participant, we will help you start drafting your plan from a template before you even arrive. Once at the workshop, you will :

  • track (with the group) specific examples of how contamination of fresh produce can occur on VT farms,
  • learn from experienced PPS graduates about their set ups and best practices to reduce risk,
  • learn the science behind the risks and best practices
  • have time to keep drafting your plan, get feedback, and enjoy refreshments

By the end of this workshop, you will have finished a on-farm produce safety plan with specific action-steps needed to implement it on your farm.

Why have a Practical Produce Safety Plan?  This plan clarifies the specific meaning of produce safety on your farm. It can be used to train your employees or can be shared with interested retail customers, local, and wholesale buyers. The workshop is appropriate for both organic and conventional growers, and is fully compatible with the VVBGA Produce Safety Accreditation currently being developed.

Note: Although this workshop lays the foundation to help you prepare for a Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) audit certi-fication, it is designed for small, diversified farmers who do not intend to become GAP certified in the near future. The workshop is appropriate for both organic and conventional growers. Please contact Ginger Nickerson at if you are seeking assistance in creating a food safety plan for a GAPs Certification.

Participants from neighboring states are encouraged to attend.

Instructors: Ginger Nickerson, UVM Extension’s Center for Sustainable Agricultural GAPs and Produce Safety Outreach Coordinator and Hans Estrin, UVM Extension and VVBGA Produce Safety Accreditation Program

Workshop Times and Locations:

  • St Johnsbury: Wednesday, February 18: 8:45-3:30; Extension Office, Farmer: Mary Skovsted, Joe’s Brook Farm
  • White River Junction: Thursday, February 19: 8:45-3:30; Yankee Farm Credit, Farmer: Pooh Sprague, Edgewater Farm
  • Swanton (Co-Sponsored by Healthy Roots): Friday, February 20: 8:45-3:30; Workforce Investment Board Training Cen-ter, Farmer: S’ra DeSantis, Diggers Mirth Farm
  • Poultney (Co-sponsored by Green Mountain College): Monday, February 23: 8:45-3:30; Green Mountain College, Farmer, Carol Tashie, Radical Roots Farm
  • Middlebury: Tuesday, February 24: 8:45-3:30; Extension Office, Farmer: Jeremy Gildrien, Gildrien Farm

Registration & Contact:  Register at  Contact Cheryl at 802-656-5459 with any questions.  To request a scholarship or disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Ginger Nickerson at 802-505-8189 by January 28 so we may assist you.

Established in 1994, the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture provides timely information to Vermont communities and the UVM campus.   The Center cultivates partnerships, supports innovative research and practices, and informs policy to advance sustainable food and farming systems. For more information, contact the Center at 656-5459 or