Skip to main content

School Garden Food Safety: Got questions? We can help!

Contributed by: Anne Sawyer, University of Minnesota Extension

Harvesting fresh herbs with clean hands and
clean, sanitized scissors. Photo: Anne Sawyer
Do you have questions about food safety in your school garden? If so, we are here to help!

Anne Sawyer and Annalisa Hultberg are University of Minnesota Extension Educators in On-Farm Food Safety. We help Minnesota produce farmers and gardeners reduce risks of contamination that can lead to foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella or Norovirus, in fresh produce. Produce can be contaminated from animal or human feces (think unwashed/poorly washed hands, bird droppings, etc.), dirty water, or dirty tools and surfaces. If contaminated produce is eaten raw, it could make people very sick. Fortunately, there are several simple steps that you can take to minimize the risk of foodborne illness in your school garden!

Food safety is especially important in a school setting, where young people may be eating the produce. If you are growing produce for a food shelf, school cafeteria, or sending it home with families, it is essential that you take steps to ensure that the food is as safe as possible for anyone that eats it. The good thing is that basic food safety practices are also good for postharvest quality, so things you do to keep the harmful pathogens off your produce also result in high quality, long-lasting produce. Good food safety practices can protect your school garden, people who eat your produce, and our local food system.

As Extension Educators, we teach growers about Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPs. GAPs are science-based best practices that can help minimize the risk of making anyone sick from eating fresh produce grown in your garden. GAPs education includes topics such as:

  • Assessing food safety risks in your garden;
  • Personal hygiene, such as handwashing, not working while sick, and wearing clean clothes and shoes;
  • Water use and testing;
  • Soil amendment use, particularly manure or compost;
  • Cleaning and sanitizing harvest tools or equipment (e.g. scissors and harvest buckets) and food contact surfaces (e.g. sinks and tables);
  • Keeping animals out of the garden and looking for signs of animals prior to harvest;
  • Recordkeeping, including garden food safety plans and standard operating procedures.

We are in the process of creating materials that will best help you to learn about and implement food safety in your school gardens. As part of this process, we want to know what you’re already doing in your gardens related to food safety. At the 2019 Schoolyard Gardens Conference, held on March 1 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, we asked participants a few questions about food safety in school gardens, and here’s what we learned:

School gardens are feeding students! 100% of respondents (n=29) said that students eat produce from their school garden. This is great! We don’t want food safety concerns to be a barrier to letting students eat the fresh produce that they grow. Our goal is to empower you to grow and serve safe, healthy produce! And yes, you can serve school garden produce in the cafeteria.

Food safety training in the garden. Only 24% of respondents (n=29) said they do some food safety training for students or staff participants in school gardens. A basic food safety training would include topics like handwashing, not harvesting if you’re sick, not harvesting anything with feces on it (bird droppings, for example), and doing a pre-harvest assessment to look for evidence of animals. We can help you figure out what a food safety training would look like for your garden.

Field handwashing stand. 
Photo: UMN GAPs Education Program
Access to handwashing. A majority of respondents (63%, n=27) said they have access to handwashing near their garden. Handwashing is one of the most important steps in preventing the spread of germs from one person to the next. Note that hand sanitizer is not an acceptable substitute for handwashing in the garden. You can, however, make your own handwashing setup. You’ll need a jug of clean water, soap, paper towels, a bucket to catch dirty water and a receptacle for used paper towels.

Pre-harvest poop patrol! Most respondents (59%, n=27) said that they look for signs of animals prior to harvest. This is great! Animals – or people – can find their way into our gardens and bring contamination with them in the form of saliva, feces, or urine. Looking for signs of animals and contamination is a great first step to reducing the spread of foodborne illness from fresh produce. You can use a flag to mark the location and don’t harvest in that area. Should you choose to remove the contamination after harvest, do so cautiously, using designated tools, and remember to wash hands afterwards!

Contamination can be hard to see! Blueberries with bird droppings. Photo: Anne Sawyer
Cleaning and sanitizing? Most participants (81%, n=26) said they did not routinely clean and sanitize garden tools and equipment. Cleaning and sanitizing is one of the less obvious – but no less important – food safety practices that you should do in the garden. If you think of the garden as a restaurant or a kitchen, you would envision that anything touching the food would be kept clean. Things to consider would be harvest bins, scissors or knives used to cut produce, tables used to set produce on, or sinks/surfaces used for washing produce. You can clean most anything using water with regular dish detergent and a scrub brush. Then, follow up with a clean rinse and spray of sanitizer, and allow to air dry. If you have access to a sanitizer that’s used on food contact surfaces in the cafeteria, that will do nicely for garden purposes. If you need to make your own sanitizer, use 1 Tbs. of regular, unscented household bleach (6% sodium hypochlorite) per gallon of water. This can go into a spray bottle to be used as a sanitizer.

Got questions? We want to help! 75% of respondents (n=20) said they had questions about or wanted help with food safety in their gardens. That’s what we’re here for! We want to help you, but we need your help in figuring out how best to do so. What are the things that would be most helpful for you? Food safety training checklists? A toolkit with food safety plan, procedure and recordkeeping templates? Train-the-trainer curricula? Videos? In-person workshops? We are working on all of the above, but if you have ideas, preferences, or are willing to provide feedback on materials as they are developed, please let us know!

You can contact us or visit the Extension GAPs Education Program web page to learn more about GAPs, food safety plans, or the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule.

Anne Sawyer, PhD
Extension Educator, On-Farm Food Safety
sawye177@umn.edu, 651-480-7704
Farmington Regional Office
Print Friendly and PDF

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Everyone has their own SEO packages their packages are according to the client's demands whatever kind of service they want and cheap SEO services USA is also giving the services in the cheapest rates for the new ones.

      Delete
    2. this is such a nice thing that they are utilizing the free space of the school for the plantation in our office Logo designer PK we have planted around 15 trees for the air pollution and for keeping the environment save and healthy.

      Delete
  2. Some of the difficult and logical questions about the school garden, food, and safety trending food and trending fashion Pakistani Waistcoat Designs. Food and safety are particularly valuable and necessary in a schooling system.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This activity is very useful for us because through this, we can enjoy a good health and make our atmosphere pleasant. Almost every person likes such kind of gardens and healthy life. Assignment writing services.

    ReplyDelete
  4. School garden safety is necessary to prevent a danger from students, some basics rules are that students should wear proper shoes, preventing their feet's getting hurt. i am also a professional essay writer at my school and we have proper attention in the matter of child safety because safety comes first

    ReplyDelete
  5. This article content is really unique and amazing.This article really helpful and explained very well.So i am really thankful to you for sharing keep it up..

    Private label gummy

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful article. It's very useful. As a home tuition service provider, I really appreciate your post. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    I find a very good website for the Singapore Tutors, You can visit this site.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Book Writing Service, We deliver a class of services in the field of Ghost writing Services, hip hop ghostwritings for hire, rap ghostwriters, christian faith publishing services through world-class research & a profound From the moment you get in touch with us to the point where we hand you over your potential bestseller, you are sure to enjoy the highest level of customer service with our team.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Our logo designs services dekalb illinois company is the best place for you in this regard. We have a group of experts who know the importance of logo designing for a business brand in USA. They know the value of money that any business spends on its real recognition. Professional logo designs services USA company designs logos which are impactful and worthwhile for the business. We create a fusion of texts, images and colors which proves in genuine assistance in the blooming of any business.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a excellent website it is. I really appreciate your post.
    Clipping Path || Photo Editing Company

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much for the information that you have shared here with all of us. You have made it easier for us...

    seo services usa

    ReplyDelete

  11. It was useful to thank you for your site
    Please visit our site as well world class university

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have to admit that you have shown a great inspiration in this wonderful site. I understood that we should teach a tactical approach in every learning opportunity that we received even in our own ways of learning before teaching technical skills and showing the result to others to come up for successful and contented result and through this i was able to modify each project that i have specially this one: here

    ReplyDelete
  13. As the schoolyard became more successful and increased production, even after sampling, holding a "salsa party" and transporting the products back to the country with students, there was still a surplus of products. autobiography ghostwriter said that It is during this time that the school often chooses to work in the cafeteria to provide nutritious food for the entire group of students.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. As mentioned by learn Quran Online Food safety is the duty of each individual in school sustenance programs. Each activity can possibly affect the security of the food, regardless of whether during buying, putting away, getting ready, holding, serving, or cleaning. Sanitation is Top Priority.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This topic is my fav. I must say you writer a brilliant piece of blog to the point and very informative . Thanks for sharing such a great information with us ..

    Professional eBook Ghost Writers in USA

    ReplyDelete
  17. Every person need to grow our business and also know about logo design singapore is the one of the company is working in covid-19 as well. but mostly companies get it order but cant meet deadlines as well. logo design SG is very helpfull for complete every business design and development requirement in this season.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi I am the ceo of Sanxinbio. As a representor of my company its my responsiblity to acknowledge you by the best health care prodcucts. We are aloe-emodin supplier product providing you with the best quality and its owner to tell you that it is very healthy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I’m professional Graphic Designer at Clipping Path Service and gardening in my hobby. Learn lots of new thing. Amazing post.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am really delighted to read this blog...
    Please visit our site.. in saeed lawn

    ReplyDelete
  21. A great piece of information..
    Please visit our site as well bin saeed lawn

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank You very much! This post is very useful for me. wilson leather jacket

    ReplyDelete
  23. I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day!
    SEO Agency

    ReplyDelete
  24. I truly like your site.. <a href="https://ainabd.com/”>Office Interior</a>

    ReplyDelete
  25. professional ghostwriting service, We deliver a class of services in the field of Ghost writing Services, hip hop ghostwritings, rap ghostwriters for hire, Christian Faith Publishing Services through world-class research & a profound From the moment you get in touch with us to the point where we hand you over your potential bestseller, you are sure to enjoy the highest level of customer service with our team.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Getting clear, action-oriented feedback can increase employee engagement and retention, so regular in-depth performance reviews are important. Do you find it helpful also? This my way to show my gratitude on every open site that is also been helpful to my own research. Thanks as always สมัครเกมสล็อต

    ReplyDelete
  27. If you are looking for the best tyre offers dubai so you should visit our official site by clicking the link.

    ReplyDelete
  28. People that have been working in the field for years are the best ones for the task. You have to go through their offerings. Check their previous projects. Most of these creative writers and academic writers have their own websites and blogs. If the writer has a website, you can easily go through it and check whether the writer is appropriate for your case! Money matters, but do not reach any cheap organization for your paper help. Take suggestions from your seniors and friends. If you go through the work of a writer, you can easily understand whether you want to work with this writer or not. Do not hurry while choosing the writer for your paper. Take time and after checking a lot of features, then only hire someone.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for sharing a piece of knowledgeable information with us, I got some valuable information in your article. It was awesome to read it. keep sharing great content with us.
    premium laptop backpack

    ReplyDelete
  30. Good blog you have shared. I read and appreciated this well published. Thank you for this blog. Clipping Path | Remove White Background | Product Photo Editing

    ReplyDelete
  31. We are always read your post actually we are working online Class help that a main reason i am searching a lot of blog in online for update information and other tech related. Its really very nice and helpful post for every one. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  32. I always like to read a quality content having accurate information. Economics Tuition

    ReplyDelete
  33. I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented in your post. They are really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for beginners. Could you please extend them a bit from Dissertation Service UK? Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for sharing such a great information with us its really interesting and informative looking forward to see more blogs like this .. .

    UK Dissertation Help

    ReplyDelete
  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love your article admin. Thanks for sharing. Economics Tuition

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi I am Stella Jonas And I provide professional ghostwriting services if you guys are looking for best ghostwriter or publisher feel free to contact me

    ReplyDelete
  39. Ghost book writers is a leading ghostwriting agency that helps authors in anything and everything related to literature. We serve authors globally in writing, Book editing services, proofreading,biography writing services, Amazon publishing services, book cover designer, printing, Book marketing services, hip hop ghostwriters, translations, and more. From inception to fruition, our cadre of veteran ghostwriters, editors, and literature aficionados are there to ensure each project reaches the pinnacle of its potential to make the most of the author’s efforts. We have professional book ghostwriters for hire who are perfect for your writing task.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Keep posting this type of awesome article. Economics Tuition

    ReplyDelete
  41. Selecting a potential research area based on base or concept paper selection for your PhD Dissertation is challenging PhD Assistance Research Lab helps in narrowing down your research topic based on industry challenge and future research gaps identified from the literature review UK

    ReplyDelete
  42. Machine Learning Projects for Final Year machine learning projects for final year

    Deep Learning Projects assist final year students with improving your applied Deep Learning skills rapidly while allowing you to investigate an intriguing point. Furthermore, you can include Deep Learning projects for final year into your portfolio, making it simpler to get a vocation, discover cool profession openings, and Deep Learning Projects for Final Year even arrange a more significant compensation.

    Python Training in Chennai Project Centers in Chennai

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi Guys hope you are doing good I provide book writing services all over USA feel free to contact us on our website https://www.genesisbookwriting.com/

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi I am Stella Jonas And I provide có 500 triệu nên kinh doanh gì 2022 if you guys are looking for best ghostwriter or publisher feel free to contact me xu hướng kinh doanh 2022

    ReplyDelete

  45. We are always read your post actually we are working nghệ thuật lướt sóng trên thị trường chứng khoán cách đầu tư cổ phiếu dài hạn mang lại hiệu quả cao help that a main reason i am searching a lot of blog in online for update information and other tech related. Its really very nice and helpful post for every one. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  46. Marvelous post!!! Your blog is really outstanding. Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful post.
    HTC Desire 12+

    ReplyDelete
  47. It’s an interesting article easy to read and understand. Thank you very much !
    clipping path
    clipping path servicce

    ReplyDelete
  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi I Provide Best Digital Agency in USA Do let me know if you are looking for any Digital Agency

    ReplyDelete
  51. Professional ghostwriters for hire ― Ghostwriting service on the business book, eBook, Autobiography, Memoir, Fiction, Romance & book launch & Thriller. As a known ghostwriting company & services we have a team of professional writers and book editors, Book editing services

    ReplyDelete
  52. According to italian livingroom furniture Once the plants are in the ground, you'll need to keep the garden in good shape by watering, thinning, weeding, fertilising, mulching, composting, and keeping an eye out for pests.

    ReplyDelete
  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Such a great blog it is. And also it is useful. Such a valuable post, We are the best assignment writing service, provider. Consult with us for more details of our Market Research Assignment Help guidance. Visit us for the best assignment writing service- https://www.academicassignments.com/uk/market-research-assignment-help/

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment