The Produce Marketing Association (PMA), Sysco Corporation and will hold a local grower training in Orlando, FL on October 13.

The one-day workshop is designed to help local growers explore the challenges of implementing a company food safety plan, meet the requirements of restaurant and retail outlets, and above all, protect their business and bottom line.  The workshop will include hands-on demonstrations as well as discussions with experts in order to provide growers with necessary tools to build customized food safety programs for their businesses.

“Our customers want local food and our responsibility is to source local food that’s been grown under safe, strict growing and harvesting conditions,” said Rich Dachman, Sysco’s vice president of produce. 

“Partnering with PMA allows us to take our shared commitment to sustainability and offer an effective means to give local growers access to some tremendous resources, right in their backyard,” Dachman said.

The workshop will kick off with a discussion about the changing food safety environment, where PMA food safety experts will provide attendees with a brief history of food safety and discuss the importance of establishing a food safety culture.  A Sysco representative will follow with a discussion on the importance of food safety to companies while summarizing the objectives of Sysco’s local grower program.  A chef and restaurateur will be on hand to discuss their perspectives on food safety and local sourcing.

Later sessions at the workshop will be led by Primus and will cover how to build a customized food safety program, as well as the basics of third party audits.  Lastly, PMA food safety experts will conclude the workshop by outlining next steps for implementing customized food safety plans, and where growers can find help.  Q&A and hands-on demonstrations will also take place throughout the day in order to ensure local growers can apply learning to their businesses.

“The unique value of each workshop is its specific relevance for the local grower,” said Johnna Hepner, PMA’s director of food safety and technology. “To have PMA, Sysco and Primus food safety experts in your neighborhood and speaking directly to your needs is an unprecedented opportunity for local growers. This workshop absolutely will give them the tools they need to develop a food safety program so they can compete in today’s new reality.”

For more information on the workshop, please see PMA’s website or the event flyer.