Developing an Engaging Produce Safety Add-On Training for Soilless Growing Operations

Added by Camila Rodrigues • Last updated June 3, 2024
Author: Camila Rodrigues
Type: Project (Food Safety Outreach Program - FSOP)

Currently, there is no existing food safety educational material to address the uniqueness of soilless growing operations, generating critical educational needs. To address those needs, Auburn University, Alabama A&M, and the University of Georgia are proposing to develop a newly customized food safety curricula and supplemental educational materials to educate hydroponic/aquaponic growers, particularly focused on challenges encountered by small and new operations. The objectives of this Collaborative Education and Training Project include: Obj.1)To conduct team capacity building and comprehensive needs assessment discussion to educate hydroponic and aquaponic growers on food safety practices. Obj. 2)Develop food safety curricula and supplemental educational materials detailing best practices for food safety for hydroponic and aquaponic growers, aligning with the food safety requirements of the Produce Safety Rule and Good Agricultural Practices. Obj. 3)Conduct Train-the-Trainer workshops to train extension and service providers in proving training for soilless growing operations and deliver Grower Training for hydroponic and aquaponic growers. Obj. 4)Evaluate the project using a mixed-method approach to assess knowledge gain and program impact. The newly developed training will be a valuable addition to existing produce safety training and resources. An advisory board, consisting of hydroponic/aquaponic growers and experts in the area of food safety and soilless systems, will be formed to help with decision-making processes, material content, and program evaluation. Program evaluation will occur throughout the whole project, where feedback from growers and advisory board members will be used to develop educational tools and to estimate program effectiveness and impact.