Sara Garcia and Heather Johnson of WIFSS managed a booth the 40th annual Eco Farm Conference at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA January 22-25, where they spoke with conference attendees about the food safety requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Produce Safety Rule that will be impacting farmers. Starting on January 1, 2020, the new Produce Safety Rule went into full effect and growers of covered crops, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, now need meet more rigorous standards for food safety on the farm. To aid farmers in meeting these new requirements, WIFSS received funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) to develop user-friendly, online training and on-farm resources that complement the required Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) grower training. The completed training is now available online: After completing the five online modules, growers will know about the basics of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, understand the requirements for water testing, know how to improve worker health and hygiene practices, and be introduced to record keeping requirements and tools to help prepare them for on-farm food safety inspections that are starting this year.

The Eco Farm Conference was attended by thousands of organic farmers from all across the United States and Canada. The WIFSS team even had an opportunity to meet with a farmer from Kenya who registered for the new online training and completed the course! This conference was an excellent opportunity to network with growers, non-profit groups that support small to mid-sized farms, and other groups also working on on-farm food safety. As WIFSS completes the CDFA SCBG project and is actively working to provide outreach to farmers and connect them with this new free online resource, they are looking for opportunities to attend PSA training events to tell growers about this very helpful new resource. Please contact WIFSS if you would like information on how we can come and support your food safety event!