Latino Immigrant-owned Farms Training in Food Safety (LIFT)

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

ALBA&s two -year (9/30/22 to 8/30/24)Food Safety Outreach Project project,Small- Holder Immigrant-owned Farms Trained on FSMA Requirements (SHIFT) , will serve primarily Mexican immigrant and other Latino-owned farms, at various stages of development from pre-launch up to 10 years of operation. At the center of SHIFT operations is ALBA&s 100-acre organic farm training facility in the heart of the Salinas Valley. Over 20 years, ALBA has provided intensive on-farm education and training to over 700 aspiring farmers, college students and field workers, about 90% of which are Latino. Roughly 200 organic smallholder farms were incubated in this time, most of which were launched since FSMA passed in 2011.Since then, ALBA&s comprehensive farm incubation program changed dramatically. FSMA and increasingly stringent buyer requirements caused ALBA to invest significant time and resources to raising our own capacity to support farmer compliance. ALBA hired two food safety positions, trained program staff, implemented a Quality Management System, and was certified under the USDA/AMS Group GAP program. These efforts enabled ALBA to support 150 beginning socially-disadvantaged farmers (BSDFs) to obtain food safety certifications to date.Under SHIFT, ALBA will serve 64 BSDFs on-site, while expanding our services to off-site farms. Using longstanding partners - Coke Farm, California FarmLink and Kitchen Table Advisors - as a referral network, ALBA will provide targeted training and assistance to at least 76 off-site BSDFs for whom there is a lack of available assistance.In addition, SHIFT will expand our partnership with Hartnell College, more actively engaging their food safety program for on-farm demonstrations and offering internship opportunities at ALBA. In all, over 60 students will be trained in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in the classroom and learn auditing techniques in the field. Another 50 students in ALBA&s 1st Year Farmer Education course will join them in workshops and field days before returning to the workforce. Accounting for some overlap in objectives, SHIFT will increase the knowledge and capacity of over 200 beginning socially disadvantaged farmers and future agriculture professionals. Hundreds more BSDFs will access newly developed Spanish-speaking food safety resources through ALBA and partner networks.