Mecklenburg Residents Can Learn More About Food Safety and Gardening

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Growing Safe Food (1)Once a backyard staple, the vegetable garden gave way to swimming pools and manicured lawns in recent generations. Growing one’s own food was replaced by the quick convenience of supermarkets. Now, with growing environmental concerns and a return to self-reliance the vegetable garden has become a new addition in many Charlotte neighborhoods, and schools have found them to be an educational aid as well as a supplier of tasty additions to the lunch line.

With this resurgence of gardening, Mecklenburg Cooperative Extension Services this Thursday is hosting a webinar about food safety. It’s called Growing Safe and Healthy Food for School and Community Gardens.

WFAEats reached out to Kristin Davis, Family and Consumer Sciences extension agent, with a few questions about the webinar.

Tell us a little about this program.
The Growing Safe and Healthy Food webinar will provide information on best practices for managing food safety in community and school gardens. Dr. Ben Chapman, Food Safety Specialist and Associate Professor at NC State University will discuss the specific research-based practices to reduce risk of foodborne illness when growing food.

What are some food safety concerns with gardening that will be addressed in this webinar?
There are many potential challenges and benefits when growing food at home, school or community gardens. In particular, the webinar will address proper site selection, safe food handling, proper soil amendments and managing clean and sanitized surfaces within the garden.

Can one expect to learn some gardening techniques?
The Growing Safe and Healthy Food webinar is not designed to teach specific gardening techniques that are unrelated to food safety. Citizens seeking information on specific gardening techniques for growing food can visit our Sustainable Living Series at go.ncsu.edu/sls, where we provide a number of skill-based gardening classes.

The webinar is designed to address food safety practices related to the garden– a very important component of the gardening process. With the rise of home, community and school gardens it is important for citizens to understand potential food safety risks.

Who should attend?
The Growing Safe Food webinar is for anyone who has an interest in growing safe, healthy food at home, school or community gardens. While the content of the webinar is specifically designed to address concerns at community and school gardens, the information is helpful for all gardeners. The content of the webinar is most appropriate for teens to adults.

Register for the free webinar here.