In November 2018, the LFSC Steering Committee met in Washington, DC to evaluate progress on the LFSC project to date, as well as provide direction on upcoming project activities.
The Steering Committee's is tasked with providing strategic guidance to ensure efficient and effective execution of LFSC's main objective: To assist local, organic, diversified, sustainable, and identity-preserved agricultural producers with FSMA compliance. Committee members represent a broad diversity of expertise with backgrounds in agriculture, academia and government, creating a robust network with direct access to growers across the nation.
Highlights include a presentation from the Deep South Food Alliance on their "Grower Liaison Model", a unique effort to conduct grower outreach and education through community assets, e.g. on-farm demonstration sites. Through this model, they have established best practices for working with minority growers in the southern region of the United States. The Committee also received a preliminary version of the National Young Farmers Coalition's produce safety training promotion video (view it below!) and updates on a produce safety guidebook that is forthcoming.
Most notable, the Committee received preliminary outcomes of the nationwide local grower and processor needs assessment spear-headed by Cornell University. The needs assessment is composed of a survey that was distributed and listening sessions that were held throughout various regions of the United States. From July to December 2018, Cornell University focused on analyzing these large amounts of quantitative and qualitative data. After an initial review of these outcomes, the Steering Committee requested further analysis into several areas to better quantify emerging trends and potential means for conducting outreach and education with growers.
The full day meeting featured discussions on a variety of topics and LFSC's future activities, including: "Helping small processors or growers with FSMA's Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule" and "Supporting state departments of agriculture with education and outreach efforts and On-Farm Readiness Reviews".
In total, 21 participants provided invaluable feedback to LFSC on its work to date and strategic guidance for furthering the LFSC mission.