There’s a great deal of work happening in the Mid-Atlantic to get more locally grown and raised food onto store shelves, into school meals, hospital cafeterias, etc. Farmers, food hubs, distributors, state departments of agriculture, local food advocates, and many more, continue to address barriers, and to test solutions, for broadening wholesale market opportunities for local food. At the same time, food safety federal regulations are changing, requiring a higher level of time and investment on farms selling into wholesale market channels to comply with new requirements. Adding to the confusion, not all buyers have the same requirements.
This is the first webinar in a two-part series co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Local Food Distribution Work Group and the Chesapeake Farm to Institution Work Group (a partnership of Healthcare Without Harm and the Chesapeake Foodshed Network), will feature expert panelists, respondents (including farmers), and time for discussion. We will explore the basics of food safety laws impacting fruit and vegetable farmers, food hubs, and distributors – what are the new rules, when will they go into effect, what (broad) changes do they require for farms and facilities to come into compliance. We will then explore more in-depth what the wholesale marketplace requires with respect to these rules and how local government, extension services, food hubs, and nonprofits have been working with farmers to help them obtain required certification.