We had the wonderful opportunity to share three excellent workshops with our farmers. These workshops were a result of a collaboration between LINC, WSDA small farms/direct marketing team, and WSU Extension services.
The first workshop was around food safety and GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) audits. Our aim as an organization is not only to have exemplary food safety, but also to provide our farmers with as much technical assistance as possible to make sure that they are up to date on the latest and greatest in on farm food safety. One of our member farms, Estella Farms in Deer Park, graciously hosted our group. We had representatives from WSDA's direct marketing team and their GAP audit team walk our farmers through what an auditor is looking for when they are inspecting a farm. We walked through proper harvesting, packing, and storage facilities. I was so impressed with the thoughtful, thorough questions our farmers asked. You could really see how much they care about provided a safe and healthy product to their consumers!
The second workshop was put on in partnership with WSU Stevens County extension in Valley, WA. Atina Diffley, author of the unparalleled Wholesale Success guide (and also an excellent memoir called Turn Here, Sweet Corn) shared with farmers how to sell to wholesale markets, including food safety, record keeping, packing, and storage. She brought such a wealth of knowledge!
Finally, WSDA helped us put on a Local Buying Mission. We brought together food service professionals, chefs, and nutrition services directors to join some of our farmers on a farm tour so that farmers and food purchasers could come together to really understand each others needs. We then had speed dating where each buyer and each farmer had time for a one on one meeting.
Stay tuned for future events! We are always looking for ways to bring our farmers and purchasers together to reknit our food system!