Don’t miss these items in local food and agriculture news from around our region:
The URI Cooperative Extension Food Safety Education Program will be offering a FSMA Produce Safety Rule/Produce Safety Alliance Approved Grower and RI GAP Training on Wednesday/Thursday, March 27-28, 2019 at URI Coastal Institute, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, Graduate School of Oceanography. This training is registered and approved, and will be compliant with the requirements of the Produce Safety Regulation (PSR). Lori Pivarnik and Sejal Lanterman are considered official PSA Lead Instructors.
The training will also allow farmers to become part of our RI GAP audit program — additional information will be presented as part of the training and RI GAP requirements will be clarified. In combining the training, RI farmers will also receive the PSA/AFDO certificate that will prove you have taken the “approved” course per the rule.
For those farmers who have already taken RI GAP training, that training does not count towards FSMA/PSR compliance — I am afraid you have to come back if you wish to comply with the Produce Safety Rule. If you have already taken this PSR workshop, you do not have to come again. For those who took the RI GAP training years ago, you may want to think about taking the training again — a lot has changed both with the rule and the RI GAP program.
Regarding costs: a subsidy for the curriculum books and official completion certificate are for RI farmers, only. However, the cost for both days will be $45.00 for each person and must be included with your mail-in registration (only checks, no credit cards). For all others, the cost of the course will be $130.00. The PSA course requirements say that all PSA Grower Training participants must be provided with a copy of the current edition of the PSA Grower Training Manual.
Join us for our 6th annual Winter Conference, Sunday March 3, 2019 at our NEW location at the Audubon Education Center in Bristol, RI. We are thrilled to welcome keynote speaker Jack Algiere of Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Jack Algiere was born and raised in southern Rhode Island, graduated from the University of Rhode Island. He’s cultivated a wealth of experience working on farms from Rhode Island to Costa Rica, to Colorado to California, to Connecticut and now New York where he is currently the farm director at Stone Barns Center.
In December 2018, Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) was awarded a $257,321 competitive grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to expand their programming to serve entrepreneurs and businesses in regional satellite locations including Pawtucket and Central Falls, and Newport. The goal of the expansion is to ensure that more businesses and entrepreneurs, particularly those in designated Opportunity Zones, have access to and can leverage resources of Rhode Island’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Based in Providence, Rhode Island, SEG has supported social entrepreneurs from across the state with the tools and networks to start and grow businesses that positively impact their communities and the world. The organization offers a menu of business development services, including an Incubator program and Accelerator program, that support social enterprises at any stage. These services are made possible in collaboration with community partners and a volunteer network of over 300 business and community leaders who contribute their time and expertise.
“We gained not only in establishing new opportunities for our profit and mission driven business, but also in helping staff members become completely familiar with [the] business plan and able to consider the strategic implications of their day-to-day work,” said Howie Sneider, Executive Director of The Steel Yard about their experience with the SEG Impact Accelerator. Since working with SEG beginning in 2007, The Steel Yard has increased its public project sales from $75,000 to $250,000.
In each regional satellite location, SEG will first seek to understand 1) the existing resources and tools available to entrepreneurs and business owners and 2) the unique needs of local entrepreneurs and business owners. In addition to leveraging SEG’s existing network and proven model, the organization will work to develop new services and partnerships as well as adapt existing services to best serve the needs of each community. Special consideration will be paid to ensuring SEG’s programming is additive to existing efforts.
“SEG is thrilled to have the opportunity to support the social venture ecosystem in both the Newport and the Pawtucket and Central Falls areas. We are honored to have the opportunity to learn from and partner with community stakeholders, and provide value add services and network connections to businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Kelly Ramirez, CEO of Social Enterprise Greenhouse.
Over the next two months SEG will hire a local Program Director for each of its two new satellite efforts. For more information and to provide us with feedback or suggestions, please contact Social Enterprise Greenhouse at email@example.com or call 401-272-2558.