On April 8, 2013, around 40 market managers and growers attended a food safety training at the University of Arkansas “Farm” (research facility) in Fayetteville. With concern growing around food safety, managers and growers alike are recognizing risk factors associated with selling produce.
The keynote speaker at the training, which was sponsored by the U of A, was Gretchen Wall, Produce Safety Alliance Program Coordinator at Cornell University. Gretchen gave an overview of the Food Safety Modernization Act and provided a Farmers Market Self-Help Form to help growers identify problem areas in their farming procedures and where they might focus on developing better agricultural practices. She also provided some practical solutions for small scale wash stations and post-harvest water management.
Other speakers included Steve Seideman, U of A Extension Food Processing Specialist; Harrison Pittman, Director of the National Agricultural Law Center; and, Ron Rainey, Co-Director, U of A Risk Management Education Center.
Ultimately, AFMA would like for Food Safety trainings to be readily available to all growers/farmers market vendors in the State. We look forward to supporting the U of A Extension Office in providing them.