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Growers Learn Safe Food-handling Practices

NDSU Extension’s Field to Fork program is a collaborative effort to improve people’s knowledge of growing, transporting, processing and preserving produce.

Shaundra Ziemann-Bolinske demonstrating a pH meter
Shaundra Ziemann-Bolinske demonstrating a pH meter (NDSU photo)

Field to Fork has 2,447 webinar views, 55% of those surveyed will change their practices, konwledge of the subjects presented increased from 52% to 82%. There were 8,485 Facebook views and 484 likes or comments. There were 4,969 Twitter views abd 64 likes or retweets. There were 66 likes on Instagram.More and more people are interested in growing and preserving their own food, and even selling it, but they may not be aware of safe food-handling practices.

An estimated 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from a foodborne illness each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The fact is that foodborne illness is preventable,” says Shaundra Ziemann-Bolinske, an agent with NDSU Extension’s Burleigh County office.

Shaundra is working to keep North Dakotans safe through Extension’s Field to Fork program.

It’s a collaborative effort of Extension agents and specialists, NDSU research faculty, growers and regulators to improve people’s knowledge of growing, transporting, processing and preserving produce, particularly those specialty fruits and vegetables grown in North Dakota. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service provided funding for this project.

Here are some resources the Field to Fork team developed:

A webinar series on topics such as canning, which vegetable varieties grow best in North Dakota and safe food handling while processing and selling local foods (webinars are archived)

A workbook showing when to harvest fruits and vegetables, and a weed guide with common yield-reducing weeds

Food safety demonstration training kits (pH meter, dehydrator and canning equipment) that were distributed to 25 Extension county offices for workshops

Face-to-face and webinar- and module-based food safety training for growers and small food businesses

Educational materials (news releases, online modules, fact sheets, Facebook posts and PowerPoint presentations) about North Dakota-grown specialty crops, including apples, chickpeas, dry beans, grapes, leafy greens, onions, pumpkins and raspberries

“Next, we’re going to assist the North Dakota Health Department in providing information about the new North Dakota Cottage Foods Act and create a food safety checklist to help cottage food industry entrepreneurs working with North Dakota specialty crops,” says Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor Julie Garden-Robinson, who leads the Field to Fork program.

For more information:

Julie Garden-Robinson, 701-231-7187,

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