- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Conservation and food safety professionals, food safety auditors, federal and state agencies, environmental groups, scientists and members of the agricultural industry are invited to discuss strategies to ensure food safety while protecting natural resources on Aug. 21 in Watsonville.
The sixth annual Farm, Food Safety & Conservation Network Co-management Forum will be held at the Watsonville Civic Plaza Community Room from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 21.
“Co-management requires networking among stakeholders to understand different types of risks in the produce industry,” explained Mary Bianchi, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and one of the organizers of the forum.
Craig McNamara, president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, will be the keynote speaker. A panel of UC Cooperative Extension and UC Davis scientists will discuss the latest research on managing nitrate, pathogens and pesticides. Representatives of grower organizations and regulatory agencies will discuss policy related to co-management. After lunch, participants will visit a local organic farm, then reconvene to discuss management strategies that meet production and conservation goals.
Registration is free and includes lunch. To register, visit https://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=11031.
Co-management takes into consideration that practices designed to conserve natural resources may impact food safety, and food safety practices may impact natural resources. For example, produce buyers often prefer bare ground around crops because they allow food safety managers to see wildlife tracks indicating animal intrusion in the crop, but vegetation buffers may be more effective at reducing movement of pollutants to surface waters.
The forum is being hosted by the Farm, Food Safety & Conservation Network, a Central Coast-based working group whose members bring expertise from diverse interests to support food safety, environmental quality and agricultural viability.