From the National Young Farmers Coalition:
Farmers are some of the most creative, innovative folks we know, and we want to hear more about how you are dealing with produce safety risks on your farm operations, especially in light of COVID-19. To do this, the National Young Farmers Coalition is looking for produce farmers to help lead and participate in online food safety focus groups this summer, which is where you come in! We want to hear more about how you are integrating produce safety practices into your farm, especially in light of COVID-19. Each hour-long virtual focus group will feature a farmer co-facilitator discussing their operation and systems and 8 - 10 farmers asking the lead farmer questions and sharing their own experience with the topic. The farmer co-facilitator and participants will be paid for their time; $250 and $50, respectively, and be joined by Maggie Kaiser from the Coalition and Billy Mitchell from National Farmers Union. Topics may include:
- CSA/Boxed Share Distribution during COVID-19
- Creating SOPs
- Wash & Pack Station Design for Produce Safety, Efficiency, and Ergonomics
- Worker & Volunteer Training
- Aquaponics and/or Hydroponics
- Making Compost On-farm
- Managing Livestock and Fresh Produce/Rotational Grazing
- Produce Safety in Urban Environments
- Other produce safety topics of interest to farmers like you!
To be a participant: You should have a little bit of food safety knowledge, some experience around the topic, and the ability to make decisions and implement produce safety practices on their farms. Participants receive $50.
To be a co-facilitator: You should have experience around one (or more!) of the topics above and have the ability to make decisions and implement produce safety practices on your farm. You will need to prepare a ten-minute overview of your farm and how your operation reflects one of the above topics (or a different produce safety topic) and help lead the conversation with the focus group participants. Please reach out to email@example.com if interested. Co-Facilitators receive $250.
More information and sign-ups can be found at youngfarmers.org/focusgroups. We will continually be adding more focus groups throughout the summer so make sure to check back if the scheduled ones don't work for you!
Do you know a farmer who has figured out a really great system for any of the above topics that you would really love to hear from? Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do!
All focus groups will be recorded and the audio shared with other farmers in our network via our online resource library. If these topics are not in your wheelhouse or you're not in a long-term management role, please check back for the recording.