Jan. 2021: What Farmers Need to Know (+ CFSA’s Job Board to Staff Your 2021 Crew)

Here’s the top news for sustainable farmers in NC & SC

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CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Nahid,

Happy New Year! I hope you were able to enjoy the holiday season and stay safe.

Speaking of safe, now is the time to start thinking about food safety as you start planning for this year’s growing season. Whether you are planning on getting GAP certified for the first time, renewing your certification, or want to make sure you are following good agricultural practices, this month’s edition of the Grower’s Toolbox provides you with some important updates to the USDA’s Harmonized GAP Program as well as information on virtual Produce Safety Rule Grower Training and Navigating the GAP Audit webinars.

We are still accepting applications for a Local Food Distribution Coordinator and Market Access Coordinator if you or someone you know is interested in applying.

Cheers,

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Karen McSwain, CFSA Associate Executive Director for Programs

Considering transitioning to organic? We can help!
Post-Harvest Wash Stations:
Simple Infrastructure & Sanitizer Guidance
by Chloe Johnson, CFSA Local Produce Safety Manager
Post-Harvest Station at Central Carolina Community College Student Farm (a CFSA member)

Are you thinking of adding a post-harvest produce washing station to your farm’s infrastructure this upcoming year? If so, here are some things to consider.

Most important, you should know this does not have to be a complex system. Ideally, you would have a triple stainless-steel sink, plenty of food-safe surfaces for drying your produce, with a roof over the entire set-up. However, all these components aren’t absolutely necessary.

Before we discuss the infrastructure, make sure you ask yourself: Why do I want to wash my vegetables at all? Get clear about your reasons. You might be under the impression that buyers prefer washed produce because of food safety concerns. For an informed buyer, this is not true. Keep reading.

Check out CFSA’s Farm Jobs Board

We post jobs and internships from our members throughout the year, but the biggest influx of postings is in January as farms prepare for the spring season. Check out our Internship & Farm Job Referral Service for new on-farm opportunities throughout the Carolinas!

Got a job or internship to submit? Review our posting instructions or contact Membership Coordinator, Marianna Spence. We’ll post your opportunity and email it out to our membership listservs. CFSA Membership is required to post – join today!

Listening Session: GMO Contamination in Seeds

Are you concerned about potential GMO contamination in seeds? If so, share your concerns during an important listening session Protecting the Integrity of Seed: A Listening Session on GMO Contamination on January 19 from 3-4:30 p.m.

Listening session hosts, Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), Friends of Family Farmers, Cultivate Oregon, Our Family Farms, OSU Extension Small Farms Program, Oregonians for Safe Farms and Families, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) invite participants to answer the following:

  • How important is non-GE seed to your market and success as a grower?
  • Do you routinely test non-GMO seeds for detectable levels of GE traits?
  • Have you been financially harmed by GMO contamination?
  • What questions do you have about GMO contamination?
  • What resources do you need?
  • What resources do you already have?
  • Are there opportunities for collaborative solutions and policy change?

Input gathered will directly inform future educational events and policy recommendations in 2021 and beyond. In addition to these questions, it is also important for them to know what steps you have to take to avoid contamination risks and the financial costs they incur, and how the availability of non-GE seed affects your operation.

Need growing space?

There’s space available to growers at Lomax Farm, CFSA’s research and education farm in Concord, NC.

Whether it’s a field, greenhouse space, or a spot in our resident farmer program, let us know if you have questions or are interested. Email our farm coordinator, Dylan (dylan), for more information.

2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the second-ever Local Food Marketing Practices Survey.

The survey asks producers about their production and local marketing of foods during the 2020 calendar year, including the value of food sales by marketing channels such as farmers markets, restaurants, CSAs, and roadside stands. This information is vital to researchers, policymakers, farmers, ranchers, industry professionals, and USDA personnel who will use it to inform their work on local and regional food and agricultural systems.

Specific USDA programs that rely on this information include the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmers Market Promotion Program, Local Foods Promotion Program, and Specialty Crop Block Grants Program, the Farm Service Agency’s Microloan Program, the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program, and the Food and Nutrition Service’s efforts to expand EBT availability at farmers markets. The information is also used by state and local agencies, farmers, and ag organizations, and researchers and extension agents who support and promote local food markets.

Farmers and ranchers who receive the survey may complete it securely and conveniently online or by mail. The deadline is February 16, 2021.