In several states across the country the US Department of Agriculture is offering farmers safety courses that emphasize best practices when preparing homemade food products and selling them at farmers markets.
For the past few years, farmers markets have significantly increased in number across the country. As more and more Americans become increasingly concerned about the state of farm production and the quality of mass produced food, they have been turning to their local farmers, buying more and more produce from local sources through farmers markets or community supported agriculture programs.
These changing consumption patterns have been aided by the USDA, which designed and implemented the Know Your Farmer Know You Food program specifically to encourage increased consumption of locally grown produce.
A recent announcement by the USDA is designed to encourage local consumption. In several states, the USDA is hosting classes for farmers on food safety. Attending these classes will certify farmers handling low-risk products like bread, jam, dried fruits and vegetables, and other baked goods. This certification would not extend to more dangerous products like canned foods and meats.
These classes, the USDA hopes, will increase participation in farmers markets, increasing local consumption and boosting local farm economies.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer