News Releases

March 29, 2018

Vermont Produce Growers Awarded $74K in Second Round of Produce Safety Improvement Grants

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) awarded $74,000 to nine Vermont produce growers making on-farm improvements that prevent or reduce produce safety risks. Prompted by high demand, VAAFM's Produce Program issued a second round of funding to help Vermont producers continue to grow food safely, efficiently, and economically.

Funds were granted on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible farms that grow, harvest, pack, or hold "covered produce" as defined by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. In the first round, eight farms received $74,029 to assist with on-farm food safety improvements. In total, the program has awarded $148,029 to 17 Vermont produce farms. In both rounds, applications exceeded the total available funds within minutes; a total of 44 applicants requested $353,470 in produce safety improvement grant funds.

"Our farms are working hard to go above and beyond produce safety standards. The number of farms seeking funds to implement produce safety practices is truly remarkable. We encourage farmers to work with our Produce Safety Team to learn about additional funding opportunities in the future," said Vermont Agriculture Secretary, Anson Tebbetts.

Projects granted in the second round include renovations to wash and pack areas, equipment upgrades and improvements to produce cold storage on the farms listed below:

* Ananda Gardens to retrofit an existing barn to be adequately equipped to wash and pack produce ($10,000)

* Bear Roots Farm to install a year-round produce washroom and walk-in cooler in a new barn space and add stainless steel washing equipment ($10,000)

* Harlow Farm to update the root vegetable wash and pack line with materials that can be easily cleaned and sanitized ($6,179)

* Chapin Orchard to upgrade storage and processing areas with food-grade plastic panels, a stainless-steel sink, and epoxy-based floor treatments and create effective drainage in the facility ($5,740)

* Naked Acre Farm to build a wash/pack house that will be sealed from outside elements ($6,179)

* New Leaf CSA to upgrade the wash/pack area to a covered facility, add a cold storage unit, and install stainless steel counters and a sink for produce washing and handling ($9,502)

* Shelburne Orchards to add a protective insulation layer to the refrigerated storage room that can be effectively cleaned ($10,000)

* Singing Cedars Farmstead to improve the primary packing shed to exclude outside elements and add cleanable surfaces and storage for packaged produce and supplies ($10,000)

* Red Wagon Plants to improve the produce wash station by adding a covered roof and concrete pad ($6,400)

VAAFM's Produce Program is committed to assisting produce growers with making produce safety improvements and upgrades to their farm operation focused on food safety and improving the sustainability of their businesses. For more details about the program visit http://agriculture.vermont.gov/produceprogram.

Questions related to the Produce Safety Improvement Grants or the FSMA Produce Safety Rule should be directed to (802) 522-3132 or AGR.FSMA@vermont.gov.

Media Contact: Dominique Giroux, Education & Outreach Coordinator (Produce Safety), Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets, (802) 522-3132, Dominique.Giroux@vermont.gov

Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: March 29, 2018 15:09:55