Here’s an opportunity that may be of interest to some of our growers!
Please distribute widely! I apologize for any cross-postings.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 21, 2010
Amanda Segar, 517-432-3381
Michigan Food & Farming Systems
Advanced GAP and GHP Workshops Tackle Food Safety Certification
EAST LANSING, Mich. – An advanced workshop series on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) is reaching out to Michigan produce growers trying to tackle food safety certification, which is being required by regional grocery stores and wholesale distributors looking to source local products.
“These workshops are diving into the key risk areas of concern for fruit and vegetable farmers as they understand certification standards and practices that wholesale and retail buyers are requiring to ensure safe food for their customers,” said Elaine Brown, Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS). Each workshop will offer an overview of audit considerations and expectations, lessons learned and perspectives from auditors, as well as from growers who have become certified, and the buyer’s perspective on the importance of food safety certification.
These three workshops will take place on Feb. 2 at the Starting Block, Inc. kitchen incubator in Hart, Feb. 9 at the Southwest Michigan Research and Education Center (SWMREC) in Benton Harbor, and Feb. 16 at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Eastern Market District of Detroit from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.
In addition to an auditor panel and GAP certified growers, industry representatives from groceries and distribution centers, like Sysco, will share their retail perspective on the importance of good practices.
There is no cost to attend, but the value is more than $50 per person and includes lunch. Participants will have the opportunity to purchase the revised, 240-page “Wholesale Success: A Farmer’s Guide to Selling, Post-Harvest Handling and Packing Produce” Manual for only $25, which retails for $75. FamilyFarmed.org developed this “Wholesale Success” manual to build the capacity of Midwest farmers to meet the burgeoning demand for local food. It features comprehensive sections on issues like building buyer relationships, food safety and calculating return on investment, along with crop profiles with specific harvesting, cooling, storage and packing information on fruits and vegetables grown in the Midwest.
For more information or to RSVP, please contact the Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) office at (517) 432-0712 or email@example.com. A flyer is also available for viewing and download at http://www.miffs.org/media/GAP GHP Workshops10.pdf. Space is limited, so register early to save your spot, as participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration is required in advance to ensure adequate meals and materials. Please register by the following dates for each session: Thursday, Jan. 28 for the session in Hart; Wednesday, Feb. 3 for the session in Benton Harbor, and Wednesday, Feb. 10 for the session in Detroit.
These workshops are funded by a Specialty Crop Block Grant. Other sponsors include: MIFFS, the Michigan State University Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University Extension, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Starting Block, Inc. regional kitchen incubator, SWMREC and the Eastern Market Corporation.
Founded in 1998, MIFFS is a statewide membership organization (501c3) whose purpose is to promote diverse efforts that foster and sustain food and farming systems that improve economic, ecological and social well-being. MIFFS has been effective at establishing successful partnerships among producers, markets and institutions that have created more profitable, environmentally friendly food systems in Michigan.
The organization’s vision is based on the premise that agricultural productivity, environmental stewardship and profitability reinforce each other for the benefit of Michigan’s rural and urban communities. To learn more, please visit www.miffs.org or call (517) 432-0712.
Emily (Buckham) Beutel
Michigan Food & Farming Systems - MIFFS
Bringing Farmers and Communities Together
PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS (effective 6/10/2009)
172 Natural Resources Building
East Lansing, MI 48824
Ph: (517) 432-0712
Fx: (517) 353-7961