Announcing new open source hub for food safety information

processed cold products

Photo: R. Stone

Open Source Food Safety has launched a new initiative and website opensourcefoodsafety.org for the benefit of regional food systems. Food safety is important to everyone, but the information food-related businesses need to make safe products isn’t always affordable or easy to access. The Open Source Food Safety Initiative is setting out to change that.

A collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Humanities, Underground Food Collective, Sarapis Foundation, and open source software developers, the Open Source Food Safety Initiative aims to make information about food safety free, publicly available, and easy to understand. This project emerged out of a Kickstarter-funded campaign in 2014 that has raised $49,000 to date, and received national press on NPR’s Salt, Eater, and The New Food Economy for its innovative approach to helping food businesses navigate the complex world of food safety regulation.

Normally, this information is copyright-protected and food businesses have to pay consultants tens of thousands of dollars to access it. To date, Open Source Food Safety Initiative collaborators have assisted over 20 restaurants and plants with their HACCP plans, thereby bringing the cost of starting a business down and generating for them an estimated quarter million dollars of value.

Now, the initiative’s new website is taking its approach to collaboration around food safety information to the next level. This new hub, www.opensourcefoodsafety.org, hosts Creative Commons-licensed Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans and invites people to share their own plans, commenting on existing plans and adapt plans for their own businesses. The free, familiar, and easy to use online tools makes all this (and more) possible.

“We think this is an incredibly innovative way to help small processors tackle food safety issues,” said Jonny Hunter, project founder and Underground Food Collective co-owner. “We hope processors will not only use this information, but contribute back – strengthening the overall safety of our food system.”

“This project is a delicious example of how widely used free software tools like Google Docs and open source collaboration techniques can be used to improve our food system,” said Devin Balkind, founder of Sarapis Foundation. “This effort not only lowers the cost of starting businesses while increasing the availability of awesome food. It also invites people to imagine other ways food producers can use collaborative technologies to work together and transform their industry.”

Sharing HACCP plans is just the beginning. The Open Source Food Safety Initiative aims to provide food businesses with multi-media guides to navigating food safety regulation, including step-by-step videos that document the process of validating and verifying HACCP plans, interviews with food scientists, and blog posts tackling common food safety issues faced by processors. Their website also hosts a forum for discussion around food safety issues.

Those interested in starting or building a food business, strengthening knowledge infrastructure for regional food systems, or simply invested in the safety of our food system can visit www.opensourcefoodsafety.org to use and modify food safety plans featured on the site, and can share their own food safety plans with others as open source documents by emailing info@opensourcefoodsafety.org

For project updates, subscribe to the Open Source Safety Initiative’s blog, join their Google Group, or check out their Facebook page

slide01Hard cider webinar: Industry Survey Findings and Opportunities for Rural Development. Tuesday, Dec 6, 1:30est.

Matt Raboin, researcher – apple grower – cider maker, has some findings to share and would like to chat with you on the future of cider making. Please join us next Tuesday and invite your colleagues.

To join the call, go to: https://ncrcrd.adobeconnect.com/ncrcrd

For more information, go to: http://expeng.anr.msu.edu/…/…/133/Hard%20Cider%20Webinar.pdf

Gene Schriefer and Paul Ohlrogge invite you to learn more about karst and conservation. They write:

Algae blooms in Florida and Lake Erie, Des Moines suing three northwestern Iowa counties for nitrate contamination, brown water advisories in Kewaunee County, whether the finger is pointed at urban runoff, failing septic systems or agriculture, water quality issues are making front page news.
Southwest Wisconsin has an abundant water resource. In Iowa County, this resource has been mapped. With information we can make informed decisions about how to utilize this resource wisely while ensuring that this supply of safe, clean water remains available use and enjoyment for future generations. While the data was collected in Iowa County, we share many similar karst features with our neighboring counties in the Driftless Region.

We have invited several experts to explain what we know and answer question about land use that positively and negatively impacts our water.

We’d like to invite you to attend a workshop on “Conservation in Karst Landscapes” on August 25, in Dodgeville. The main objectives for this program are:

  • Gain a basic understanding of the bedrock geology of Southwestern Wisconsin, how the geology increases the risk of groundwater contamination; gain a basic understanding of how highly permeable soils (sands) are a risk factor for groundwater contamination
  • Understand the tools local counties are using to determine depth to bedrock and map higher risk areas, and examine the strategies they have used to protect the groundwater resource.
  • Explain how to use field observations and mapping tools to locate karst features and be able to identity common karst features in the field.

 

PROGRAM AGENDA
UW-Extension Conservation in Karst Landscapes

9:30: Welcome and Overview of the day

9:35: Understanding Karst and Karst Issues in Southwest Wisconsin
Understanding water movement in Sandy Aquifers—Madeline Gotkowitz,
Geologist, WGNHS

10:25: The groundwater resources of Iowa County—Paul Ohlrogge, UWEX CRD

11:05 Depth to Bedrock Mapping Techniques & Sinkholes in SW WI- Dave
Hart, WGNHS

12:05: Working Lunch: Mapping shallow bedrock: what we’ve learned -Eric
Cooley, UW Discovery Farms
Recommendations from the Northeast Wisconsin Karst Task Force Report
Kevin Erb, UW Extension

1 pm: Local experiences with Soil Health: What farmers can do to increase
infiltration and reduce nutrient losses— Gene Schriefer, UWEX Ag

1:45 Break

1:55 Optional Field Tour: Identifying Karst Features in the Field/Quarry trip

UW-Extension
Iowa County HHS
303 W. Chapel Street
Dodgeville, WI 53533
Phone: (608)930-9850
E-mail: gene.schriefer@ces.uwex.edu

9:00 a.m. August 25
Iowa County Health & Human Service Building,
303 W. Chapel Street, Dodgeville, WI

Registration—$20—checks payable to UWEX (due August 19)

There are a lot of ways to think about food resilience, and authors from across North America wrote about their experiences, research and vision in a collection of 27 papers, available for download at http://www.foodresilience.org/ 

Tip: There is at least one paper that talks about food resilience in the Driftless region.

These papers are published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences and Studies as a symposium, Part 1 (13 articles) was published in September. Part 2 of the Symposium on American Food Resilience (14 articles) has now been published in the December issue of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. The www.foodresilience.org website provides a complete list of abstracts for Symposium articles – and free downloads of final manuscripts for all the articles. The entire collection is exciting in the diversity of its coverage, as writers on various aspects of the food system draw upon a broad array of perspectives to throw light on a single high-stakes theme – the security of our food supply.

 

The papers form the basis for a workshop at the up-coming National Council for Science and the Environment conference (http://foodenergywaternexus.org/)

The Food-Energy Water Nexus | January 19-21, 2016 …
News. Inside NOAA: News from the Office of the Administrator; The other inconvenient truth | Jonathan Foley | TEDxTC; WATER, ENERGY, FOOD – Nexus Thinking Explained

This is a 3-hour workshop (http://foodenergywaternexus.org/wc-23-strengthening-american-food-system-resilience/). The workshop, which is on the last day of the conference (Thursday afternoon January 21), will review key concepts and for improving food resilience and how participants are translating these ideas into action. The “Food-Energy-Water Nexus” theme of the entire conference will be valuable for anyone who works with the food system.

Workshop: Freight innovations to optimize regional food resiliency

Register for the regional food freight workshop in Chicago here: https://uwccs.eventsair.com/61503dr/rffc

Tuesday January 5, 2016

 

Watching farm trucks pull into the Capital Square farmers market in Madison, WI can make one wonder how to get regional food to regional markets more efficiently. Driftless farm and food businesses, such as Driftless Organics, Morningside Orchard, 5th Season and Organic Valley work hard to figure out how to engage with green transportation options to get their products to Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago. Logistics, labor regulations, congestion, docking arrangements make this all very complex.

In April, 2010 CIAS started convening Driftless Food and Farm meetings where food transportation was identified as a top issue, but there were few resources available to address this critical component to resilient agriculture and food systems. In 2011 -2012, we made important links to researchers in logistics and freight transportation. In February 2013, we hosted the first regional food supply chain gathering in LaCrosse, where more than 100 businesses, NGOs, and allies convened to think through transportation barriers and opportunities. In 2014, a research team representing multiple different aspects of the food supply chain and leaders in the field continued to investigate the nature of regional supply chains and look for leverage points to elegantly improve systems. We learned from other nascent regional efforts in the New England States and California, and noted innovations in the private sector. We want to share this with you.

This meeting provides an opportunity to consider systemic improvements for moving food from rural to urban areas in such a way that potentially can meet the needs of all stakeholders and address critical issues like GHG emissions and food access. Much like past meetings, this one is intended to bring practitioners together to share their experiences, observations, successes and lessons learned. The format highlights some speakers from the field to jumpstart our conversations and we expect that much of the work will happen during small group discussions, over lunch and beyond.

If you have a stake in moving food from farm to market, please register. We need you at the table. Please share news of the conference with your supply chain partners and encourage them to come. If we pull together, forward momentum is assured.

The venue has limited capacity, so please register early to ensure a spot. Some scholarships are available. Please contact Michelle Miller if you are interested in one. mmmille6 AT wisc.edu, 608-262-7135

For more information on the conference including speakers and format, as well as information on past meetings and reports on regional food freight, go to the page dedicated to that work on this web site – tabbed at the top right corner “Regional Food Freight”.

 

 

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers took a closer look at how climate change might impact grain production and transportation in the Upper Mississippi River Valley. They surveyed current literature and interviewed 11 people across the supply chain, from private industry, state and local government, and agricultural and nonprofit organizations in this region. Their work sheds light on ways that climate change might affect agricultural production, markets and transportation in this region.

Check out the short report here or take a look at the POSTER climate ag trans 3

Are you thinking about organizing a business to process nuts? You might want to take a look at this executive summary that covers five other nut processing and marketing businesses. Upload the document from this link: sproutingtreenutfinalweb

Growers in the Midwest are awakening to tree nuts as a possible source of farm income and a way to diversify their production. While U.S. almond production is based exclusively in California, the Midwest is well-suited for the production of black walnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, heartnuts and chestnuts, and pecans will grow in the region’s southern states.

Increasing tree nut production in the Midwest can potentially increase the sustainability of agriculture and food systems in this region. Diverse agroforestry systems, including systems with nut trees, have the potential to provide farm revenue, environmental benefits and resilience in the face of variable weather and extreme weather events. Edible nut production can be an integral part of diversified agriculture, including forest farming, which incorporates a variety of perennial plants. It is especially well suited to marginal land in rural areas. Because nut trees don’t require annual tillage, they hold the soil in place during extreme rainfall and wind events. Hazelnuts provide soil cover throughout most of the year. As part of a complex cropping system, nuts and other perennial tree crops can contribute to productive landscapes that help address the challenges of climate change, pests and diseases.

The report chapters include:

  • building a supply chain
  • production challenges
  • processing options
  • marketing and pricing unique products
  • lessons learned

This research emerged from regional work to support the emerging hazelnut industry, and will be posted on the Hazelnut link on this site, as well as at the UW-CIAS site.

 

Saturday, October 3, 1-4 p.m.
Learn to garden like a forest and grow plants for food, fuel, and other functions! In this class instructors and participants will discuss mushroom cultivation, site considerations, plant guilds, plant selection, and forest garden designs. Plant lists and resources will be provided. Instructors: Marian Farrior and Amy Jo Dusick. Fee: $21 ($18 FOA).
Registration Link: https://arboretum.wisc.edu/classes/12179/

DRIFTLESS FARM CRAWL
Maps & Field Guides Now Available
THIS SATURDAY – September 12th – 1:00-5:00PM

Grab a map and go! The Driftless Farm Crawl is a free self-guided tour of five local farms & community food projects including Four Mounds Community Garden, Sageville School Garden, Hideaway Garden (an organic vegetable farm), Hellert Family Farm (a fifth-generation homestead) & Park Farm Winery.

Visit one site, or travel to all five by car or bike along the Heritage Trail!
Field guides are available online, at the Dubuque Food Co-Op, Food Store, or Iowa Welcome Center this week. You can also grab a copy at the Friday night Weekend Kick-Off Event at the National Mississippi River Museum – A Free Screening of Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective at 6:30PM.

Each site will feature kids activities, samples, farm tours & demonstrations.

FREE AND OPEN TO EVERYONE! #DriftlessFarmCrawl
www.driftlessfarmcrawl.com

November 18, 2015
University of WI – Stevens Point
The Wisconsin Academy, through its Climate & Energy Initiative, will convene a full-day leadership summit for local government leaders from Wisconsin and energy program leaders to advance clean energy, efficiency, and resilience for their communities.
The aim is to share best practices in—and identify needs for—moving communities and Wisconsin forward in curbing carbon emissions and encouraging energy innovation. This event will bring these groups together to learn what resources currently exist, and how organizations could collaborate more effectively. The intent of this summit is to build the foundation for an ongoing annual conference.
The Summit will:
  • Identify the needs, priorities, and current programs within Wisconsin local governments across the state through a pre-event survey. This will result in a report, which we will use to craft the Summit agenda.
  • Allow local governments of various sizes, and organizations that are designed to serve those municipalities in energy conservation/innovation efforts, to present and discuss their work with all attendees.
  • Provide time for group discussion among leaders with common needs to troubleshoot problems, share best practices, and develop professional networks.
  • Invite local-level media outlets to raise awareness of A) Wisconsin’s ongoing local-level leadership in energy efficiency and renewable energy, B) the needs of those local governments, and C) the state programs that exist to promote energy savings and innovation at the local level.
  • Identify options for action within the Climate Forward Report’s five “Pathways to Progress” that address municipal and local government needs in Wisconsin for cities of various sizes, which can be published on our web site.
  • Post a participant list for Wisconsin municipal and local government sustainability leaders, as well as resource organizations, engaged in responsive climate and energy strategies so they will be able to maintain contact and share their practices with each other.
For the agenda, speakers, to register or to sponsor the event, go to their web page at:
http://www.wisconsinacademy.org/localgovernmentsummit2015

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