On Wednesday, December 14th, I participated in a webinar about Food Safety Education and Planning for Agritourism Providers. This webinar was hosted by Ben Amsden from Plymouth state university center for rural partnerships, and Lisa Chase and Londa Nwadike from University of vermont extension and focused on discussing risk management and food safety practices for those involved in agritourism activities. Most of the farmers in our project participate in agritourism events such as U-pick operations, farms stands, and community supported agriculture, and they have asked questions about how to deal with the health and hygiene practices of patrons.
The first part of the webinar focused on risk, seeking advice on risk management, and developing a risk management plan. Most farmers are familiar with general or product liability insurance however other plans are available can that cover special events, the premises, and physical damage. The second half of the webinar discussed food contamination, the impact of foodborne illness, and risk-based food safety principles. It is important to discuss issues with your employees like how to influence patrons to employ good hygiene practices when coming on your farm. The proper placement of signage and availability of sanitary facilities will encourage patrons to follow good hygiene practices on the farm.
Agritourism is not normally discussed when talking about on-farm food safety but this is a significant source of revenue for some farming operations. This reminds me that each farm is different with different inputs (water, animals, workers, and patrons) requiring the assessment of risk on each individual farm and the development of risk reduction strategies that meet the needs of the farm.
Please find the recorded webinar, Powerpoint slides, and other resources at Agritourism:A Web-Based Resource for Farmers