GAPs for Small Farms: Dispelling Myths, Getting the Facts, and Designing a Food Safety Plan for Your Farm

Dates:   Wednesday, March 23rd and Thursday, March 24th

Times:   8:30am – 3:30pm both days

Loc.:       Geneva Experimental Station, Food Research Lab Room 251

630 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456

Cost:      $80 (NOFA-NY members), $100 (non-NOFA-NY members). Price includes food, materials packet, and digital resources. $20 for one additional representative on Day 2 (see below for details).

In recent years, produce related foodborne illnesses have hit the media and impacted fresh fruit and vegetable growers. One of the impacts is a new food safety law that will bring changes to the fresh produce industry and likely affect producers both large and small. Many producers are nervous about what this could mean for their farm business. Join NOFA-NY and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Betsy Bihn, Robert Hadad, and Craig Kahlke for a 2-day intensive workshop that will help you understand food safety risks and implement food safety practices. This training will be good for any producer interested in taking a proactive approach to food safety, and especially useful for anyone who is interested in selling to large retailers, institutional markets, or other buyers who require GAPs certification.

On Day 1, Betsy, Robert, and Craig will offer producers an in-depth look at GAPs, how and where microbial contamination can occur, and how to use the GAPs standards to write a farm produce safety plan. Also on Day 1, NYSDAM’s Wendy Ingersoll, Mike Farwell, and Mike Santoro will describe the GAPs audit and answer your questions about this procedure.

On Day 2, we will break out the laptops and the extension educators will help you write your own farm produce safety plan. NYSDAM personnel will be back on Day 2 to field more questions about audits as you work through your plan. For Day 2, you will need to bring a laptop with Microsoft Word. If you do not have a laptop, there will be a limited number of laptops available for you to borrow- please let us know as soon as possible if you need to borrow one! If you would like to bring along a more computer-savvy employee of your farm on Day 2, the cost is only $20 for this additional person to cover the cost of food. Your registration includes lunch, snacks, and coffee, as well as a packet of food safety reference materials and digital files of food safety resources. An on-farm food safety consultation generally costs about $100/hour, so this is a great value!

Pre-registration is required, and the deadline to sign up is Sunday, March 20th. To register for this workshop, visit the NOFA-NY website: www.nofany.org/events/field-days, or call our office at (585) 271-1979, ext. 509. Space is limited, so register today!


From UVM Extension New Farmer Project & Law for Food Webinar

Founders of Law for Food, Kenneth Miller and Adam Prizio provide legal support specifically tailored to meet the business and legal needs of small-scale farmers and food entrepreneurs. This presentation will focus on hiring and managing employees, handling on-farm work stays, internships, and volunteer labor. Legal distinctions between interns and employees, as well as the fine line separating independent contractors from employees will be discussed. Other topics to be covered include worker’s compensation, unemployment, H2A visas, wage & hours statutes, worker accommodations and workplace safety. More than a dry discussion of the law, this session will examine the real costs of hiring and training workers in the context of the financial realities of an agricultural business, with a view to understanding how business owners can manage the business, and their employees, profitably.

Newcomers to online learning are welcome. All you need to participate is internet access and a computer that you can hear sound through.

To participate, please go to http://tinyurl.com/UVMEXT-LaborOnFarms at about 11:45 am Eastern time on March 10, 2011.  For more information, contact or call 802-223-2389×203. If you require accommodations to participate in this program, please let Mary Peabody know by March 5 at 802-223-2389 or 1-866-860-1382 (toll-free  in Vt.) or so we may assist you.

If you have not participated in a webinar before, we recommend you download the necessary software for free the day before the webinar is scheduled at http://www.elluminate.com/support/index.jsp.

Land Access for Beginning Farmers– Part II. Presenters Kathy Ruhf and Ben Waterman will talk through the many variables that should be considered when assessing farms, land, and farm infrastructure for rental or purchase. Learn about the more important land use regulations and state programs, such as the Current Use Program, that will effect your tenure situation as a beginning farmer. Finally, you’ll be introduced to existing programs and services in Vermont that can assist you with developing farm tenure arrangements and support you while you establish your farm enterprises once you’ve settled. To participate in the webinar, go to http://tinyurl.com/UVMEXT-LandAccessPart2 about 15 minutes before the start of the presentation on March 23, 2011.

Presenters:

Ben Waterman coordinates the Land Access Program at the Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and provides free consulting services to land owners and farmers on natural resource management, farm enterprise start-up, farmland conservation, land use regulations and farmland tenure. Currently he is working to renew a program called Land Link Vermont which matches farm seekers with owners of farm assets looking for farmers. He works closely with UVM Extension’s New Farmer Project to develop educational resources for small farmers in start-up stages.

Kathy Ruhf is co-director of Land For Good, a New England nonprofit organization that specializes in working land access and farm succession. She has worked for over two decades on beginning farmer and farmland tenure issues. She also coordinates the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Kathy lives in western Massachusetts.

For more information, contact or call 802-223-2389×203.

Land Access for Beginning Farmers–Part I. Join Kathy Ruhf, co-director of the non-profit Land for Good, and Ben Waterman, coordinator of the Land Access program for the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, to go over some basic concepts about holding farmland. Look at options (owning versus leasing) and variations on these tenure options. The presenters will touch on kinds of leases and landlords, affordability (land and housing), and financial readiness. They will also cover how to search for farm property and hints for negotiating successful transactions. To participate in the webinar, go to http://tinyurl.com/UVMEXT-LandAccessPart1 about 15 minutes before the start of the presentation on March 9, 2011.

Presenters:

Ben Waterman coordinates the Land Access Program at the Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and provides free consulting services to land owners and farmers on natural resource management, farm enterprise start-up, farmland conservation, land use regulations and farmland tenure. Currently he is working to renew a program called Land Link Vermont which matches farm seekers with owners of farm assets looking for farmers. He works closely with UVM Extension’s New Farmer Project to develop educational resources for small farmers in start-up stages.

Kathy Ruhf is co-director of Land For Good, a New England nonprofit organization that specializes in working land access and farm succession. She has worked for over two decades on beginning farmer and farmland tenure issues. She also coordinates the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Kathy lives in western Massachusetts.

For more information, contact or call 802-223-2389 x203.

Groundswell is thrilled to announce the launch of our new hands-on training program for serious aspiring farmers and market gardeners. Groundswell’s New Farmer Training Project aims to increase the number, diversity, profitability, and environmental sustainability of area farmers by providing training, mentoring, business planning support, and affordable access to land at EcoVillage in Ithaca.

Beginning April 15 and running through November 15, the program provides 100 hours of classroom training, hands-on workshops, farm visits, and supervised work experience on sustainable farms. Instruction will be provided by experienced farmer mentors, as well as subject matter experts from our partner institutions such as Cornell University, USDA, and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Tuition for the 2011 Sustainable Farming Certificate Program is just $600, and substantial scholarship support is offered, including several full scholarships.

ToolDemo1WEB

Our flexible curriculum is geared for both entry-level trainees and more experienced beginning farmers and interns who want to deepen their knowledge of sustainable production practices and the science behind those practices. Trainees can choose to concentrate their studies on the management of vegetables, fruits, livestock, or poultry, or pursue a diversified curriculum. Each trainee will have an individualized Learning Contract, and will be evaluated on the basis of that contract before being awarded a certificate of completion. The April-November curriculum focuses on sustainable production systems and exposes trainees to a variety of successful small farm management models. A separate certificate program will be offered in the winter with a focus on business planning, management and marketing.

Groundswell is committed to the vision of a regionally self-reliant food system that provides good food and economic opportunities for everyone. We’re working hard to make the program a welcoming one for trainees from diverse cultural, racial, and economic backgrounds. Minority, new immigrant and limited-resource trainees are especially encouraged to apply. Most classes will be held evenings and weekends to accommodate folks with job, family or farm responsibilities.

The application for the 2011 program is now online. For more information, email us at .

Groundswell’s New Farmer Training Program is offered in collaboration with Finger Lakes CRAFT and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant #2010-49400-21799.