The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded the Alabama Cooperative Extension System with a $300,000 food safety grant.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is the primary outreach and engagement organization for the land-grant mission of Alabama A&M University and Auburn University in cooperation with Tuskegee University.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System will help farmers address food safety and processing challenges. Participants will learn how to safely handle produce from field to processing.

“Education and outreach are essential for ensuring our food supply is safe from the field to the table,” said NIFA Director Carrie Castille. “NIFA’s integrated approach to enhancing food safety practices includes multi-state coordination, community outreach and collaborative projects that enable small farm operators, wholesalers and small-scale processors to get the support they need.”

The project aims to develop a food safety training program to empower limited-resource, minority farmers in Alabama’s “Black Belt” region.

Alabama Extension’s Janice Hall wrote the grant proposal after the Communities Improvement Association in Montgomery reached out to her about their desire to offer training for farmers in the communities they serve.

“The Association will be a critical partner in delivering these programs to farmers,” Hall said. “Many of the training workshops will be held at the Association’s community center.”

The team will adapt educational materials and resources as well as delivery methods to meet the needs of low vision, low hearing and low literacy audiences.

“We will provide large print curricula materials and use magnifying tools, sound systems and large screens positioned for optimal viewing in our in-person meetings,” Hall said. “These accommodations will also be available virtually for those unable to attend face-to-face.”

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