Flooding in the Community Garden

Many of our community gardens are located in floodplain areas (which is why the community is not using that land for something else!) or near creeks or rivers. Recent weather events may have left parts of your community garden flooded. UGA food safety experts ask us to think about the safety of our produce from the impact of flood waters. Farmers have to think about this on a large level and it is a concern for us. Experts from UGA released important harvest information for farmers ahead of this hurricane. Also, the FDA has guidance for flood affected produce.

If a flooding creek encroached on your garden what did that water bring with it? Possibly contamination from pathogens harmful to humans. What about chemical hazards from another site that washed into your garden? These could be serious. If flooding did occur in your garden, I advise you to speak with your local UGA Extension agent for advice from a food safety perspective.

Thinking of the gardeners and farmers in the path of the storm today.

Food Safety in the Georgia Community and School Gardens

Food Safety in the Georgia Community and School Garden
Food Safety in the Georgia Community and School Garden
Everyone enjoys harvest time!

How much do you know?

How much do you know about food safety in the garden?  In the heat of the summer do you immediately store your harvested produce in iced coolers?  Do you know the safe practices for using manure or compost in your garden?   How about sanitizing the containers you use to transport your produce?

No gardener ever wants someone to become sick from the food they have grown.  Whether growing food for your family, a food pantry or a farmers market you need to take time to learn some basic food safety.

Food Safety in the Georgia Community and School Garden
Fresh produce ready for delivery to a food pantry.

On-Line Food Safety Course

UGA Extension Food Specialist Dr. Judy Harrison has adapted one of her trainings to become a free on-line self-study course.  Enhancing the Safety of Locally Grown Produce is training for small and very small farms but the information is applicable to community and school gardens.  Included in the course are printable fact sheets and even a safe practices check sheet.  Topics covered include land and water use; worker hygiene; sanitation of equipment; and safe storage and transport.

The course takes about two hours or so to complete.  At the end of the course you can take a short survey and print a certificate of completion. THIS IS NOT A CERTIFICATION COURSE, however, it is good training that follows the USDA’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) principles and gets you started with basics of food safety.  If you have any questions contact Dr. Harrison at judyh@uga.edu.

You local UGA Cooperative Extension office may also by offering food safety courses.  I encourage you to invest the time in learning food safety practices and

Happy Gardening!