PrimusLabs already offers free materials online to help such individuals, and Garrison said those tools are the foundation of the first prong of the program. PrimusLabs plans to provide training to extension staffs at low costs, which Garrison said will basically equal the company’s travel and staff costs to conduct the training sessions.
The second prong of the Small Scale Local Farm Food Safety Program has already been beta-tested by the Yolo County (Calif.) Farm Bureau. Designed to train growers, it is a seven-hour course that can be sponsored by small co-ops, school districts and other entities that want to ensure their local suppliers have adequate food safety programs.
The course includes information about how to develop food safety programs and manuals, as well as mock audits. Garrison said participating growers will be able to submit their manuals and self-audits for review by trainers.
The third aspect of the program is intended to help growers follow through with food safety plans and better connect with customers. It includes software for personal computers and an app for mobile devices so local growers will be able to show customers what they have done in regard to food safety practices.