Garden to Table Outreach Program
Increasingly, foodborne illness outbreaks are being traced to lettuce, tomatoes, cantaloupe and other raw fruits and vegetables. Most foodborne illness is caused by the disease-causing bacteria, viruses, molds and/or parasites found on raw produce that is not carefully grown, harvested, stored or prepared. These microorganisms are a natural part of the environment and can be a problem whether organic or conventional gardening methods are used.The overall purpose of the program is to integrate Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) into food safety principles for all home gardening activities from garden to table – preparing the soil, harvesting, washing, storing and handling. This program utilizes the Master Gardener network as the primary delivery method through a “train the trainer” workshop, and outreach resources such as publications, displays and a Power Point presentation, all directed to home gardeners. All of these resources, as well as evaluation tools and data collection forms are included on the CD.
Information and printed materials on composting and water quality were also included in both the Master Gardener and homeowner training. These are readily available through state Cooperative Extension programs and local and state agencies.