California’s farmers are as diverse as the crops they grow. The safety of the food their farms produce is paramount. To make sure smaller farmers can take advantage of a comprehensive approach to food safety, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has developed resources and training with the particular needs of smaller operations in mind.
The program, called the Small Farm Food Safety Project, is funded through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and will include a series of workshops throughout the state designed to help small, specialty crop farmers establish comprehensive food safety programs. The workshops will be offered in multiple languages (English, Spanish, Hmong and Chinese) and will help farmers apply practices to improve the safety and quality of food, enhance marketability, and promote sustainable agriculture.
Food safety is important to farmers regardless of the size of their farms. For smaller operations, though, the costs and the paperwork and simply navigating the regulatory process can be significant barriers. CDFA is providing this training to help farmers minimize the complexity and expense by focusing on the key areas where improvements can and should be made on these smaller farms.
The scheduled workshops will occur from October 23-November 8. Training will include a checklist of key food safety topics, including recordkeeping, harvest activities, storage, transportation, hygiene, water testing and handling of manure. The grant includes a cost share program for eligible farmers.