From the desk of
April 22, 2021
As we approach the 51st Earth Day Celebration on April 22, 2021 communities everywhere are participating in Earth Day related events like tree plantings, trash clean ups, recycling events, and online outreach celebrations designed to educate and engage us. Produce Safety and safe practices are not only essential to keeping our produce safe from microbial contamination they can also help you, the grower, make decisions that affect the environment. Through safe practices we can reduce farm waste, energy use, and shape the way produce is packaged and delivered to the marketplace.

The Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety Team is made up of individuals from MDARD, MSU Extension, and Conservation Districts, all institutions with a long history of dedication to growers, farms, and the environment. This year we hope you enjoy our special Earth Day Newsletter and invite you to join us in celebrating Earth Day 2021 by contacting our team to help you implement safe food practices and reducing waste on your farm. 
Earth Day: Sustainable Produce Safety
Jordan DeVries
Produce Safety Technician
In July 2019, the World Resources Institute released a report estimating that global population growth will create a 56% hunger-gap from 2010 to 2050, requiring worldwide food production to grow by 2.27 times. We often hear about how difficult it’s going to be to achieve that growth in terms of water, energy and land use, and that we’re going to have to grow world produce and grain production faster than meat production and fisheries to do it sustainably. But, it’s also worth appreciating that if we first don’t learn how to grow, harvest and handle our produce safely, the global food system could continue to be beset by excess food waste, price inefficiencies and foodborne disease outbreaks that will slow down world produce commodity growth.

Think globally, act locally is a saying that seems to grab headlines around Earth Day and fade into obscurity by summer. But consider for a minute that produce-growing powerhouses like Michigan can more efficiently use their abundant water, land and energy resources than they have in the past. 
Alternative Solutions for Single Use Packaging in Post Harvest Packing
Micah Hutchison
Produce Safety Technician
The FSMA Produce Safety Rule recommends using single-use containers to reduce the likelihood of contamination of produce destined for the fresh market. This reliance on items used only once, then disposed of, is good practice for reducing contamination of harmful microbes but this also creates an issue when considering the affects that single use items, especially single-use plastic, have on the environment. Single-use plastic is just that, plastic created to be used once then thrown away or recycled. These materials are often made from non-renewable fossil fuel-based materials and while most are able to be recycled, they often are not and end up in our landfills or environment. As we near Earth Day, here are some alternatives growers can use to comply with the FSMA PS Rule and reduce the environmental impact of your farm.
Podcast Episode: Budget and Earth Friendly Produce Safety
This episode features Micah Hutchison, a Michigan Produce Safety Technician, and Parker Jones, a Michigan State University Extension Educator and Innovation Counselor. Enjoy this animated and informative discussion where Parker and Micah compare notes and offer some affordable and earth friendly solutions to common on farm produce safety challenges, including produce packaging, hand washing and more!
Michigan State University Extension is offering a FREE course for farm supervisors to provide support as they navigate the requirements of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. This course will provide supervisors with information about the Produce Safety Rule, and how to use relevant resources to support their farm's compliance with the rule. Space is limited, register today!
Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety Team
1715 Lansing Ave, Jackson, MI 49202 | MSU Extension MACD Produce Safety Technicians
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