Note: A previous version of this story listed a higher registration fee. Due to the increased interest in this program, the registration fee has been reduced to $10.
CHESTERHILL, Ohio -- Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, in conjunction with the group Rural Action, will hold a Produce Safety Education Program for farmers from 1-4 p.m. on April 12 at the Marion Community Center, 7474 College St., in Chesterhill in southeast Ohio.
Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPS, for fruit and vegetable production are the focus.
“The Food and Drug Administration will be releasing draft standards for safe production of fruits and vegetables later this year,” said the team’s Ashley Kulhanek. “So it’s a good time to learn about GAPS.”
The instructors will include experts from Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Participants will receive a resource workbook, paper handouts and certificate of participation.
The program will be presented in a conversational format without technology out of respect for the Amish community but is open to the public. Expect a helpful but less formal presentation on GAPS, Kulhanek said.
Attendees won’t actually become “certified in GAPS” by taking the course, Kulhanek added. That certification comes only through a farm audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a third-party company.
“The program can help prepare you for an audit,” she said, “but find out if your customers are asking for education in GAPs or if they actually want an audit certificate, or both.”
Also, the program will double as the required yearly attendance in a comprehensive GAPS class for anyone participating in the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement.
Contact Rural Action’s Tom Redfern, 740-767-4938, firstname.lastname@example.org, to reserve a spot in the program.
Registration is $10 per person, paid at the door by cash or check, with checks made out to “OSP.”
The registration cost is lower than it was for similar programs last year, Kulhanek said, thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Similar programs will be offered in Homerville in Medina County on Feb. 20, in Burton in Geauga County on March 30, and in Wooster in Wayne County on April 27.
For more information, call 330-202-3555, ext. 2918.
OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms, respectively, of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
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Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture.