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Gain Knowledge about Food Regulations and Local Food

Contributed by: Jane Jewett, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture

Maybe ignorance is bliss, but sometimes lack of knowledge about food regulations holds people back or trips them up in efforts to get more local food into school lunches.

A new project aims to change that.  Called “Blazing Trails through the Jungle of Food Regulations,” it will bring training about food regulations and how they affect local food systems to every county in Minnesota in 2019 and 2020.

Training topics include the framework of food regulations; exclusions and exemptions from licensing; food licensing, license types, and fees; agency jurisdiction; and how to avoid getting stuck in the system.

Trainers are from the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association, and Renewing the Countryside. The project is funded by a grant from the North Central Region of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE).

Local organizers are wanted in each county to recruit participants, arrange a meeting space, and do local advertising. There is a $100 allowance per county to cover local organizing expenses. Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) coordinators and U of MN Extension staff are especially invited to be part of local organizing.

The workshops are free and open to everyone who has an interest in local food. We do want three local leaders at each workshop to take a binder of resource materials and agree to serve as local resource people for questions about food regulations. That role doesn’t mean knowing all the answers. It does mean pointing people in the right direction, and knowing when and how to reach out for help.

More details, contact information, a registration form for counties, and access to resources are all available on the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture website: www.misa.umn.edu/farm-food-resources/blazing-trails
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