Job Opportunities

 

Announcements

7/24/18

Produce Safety On-Farm Readiness Reviews to assist growers:

This week, the RI Division of Agriculture joins 46 other states in beginning their On-Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRR) to help producers prepare for the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) portion of the Federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  FSMA was signed into law in 2011, and went into effect January 26, 2018.  A one-year grace period was granted by FDA for compliance inspections; with inspections on large farms starting Spring 2019 and smaller farms in subsequent years.

Before RI begins their compliance inspections, we are offering producers several opportunities to ensure they are prepared. The OFRRs are a component of a concerted educational and awareness effort by the Division of Agriculture that builds upon the principles of the long standing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Program in RI.

Is your farm exempt? This is a no-cost opportunity to determine if your farm qualifies for an exemption.  The Division of Agriculture’s Produce Safety Team will arrange a visit to your farm where they can review the FSMA regulations and make suggestions for your specific operation.  OFRR visits must be made during the growing season.  Upon request, the Produce Safety Team will schedule a face-to-face meeting to go over PSR requirements prior to a walk-around.  These can be scheduled year-round.  No records will be kept of these non-regulatory, voluntary visits.  Any recommendations and/or notes taken will be left on-site to offer guidance in potential PSR improvements to the operation.

Regional update:

  • RI and NH have just joined all other New England States in having the Produce Safety Rule program within respective Departments of Agriculture.

  • Connecticut and Massachusetts have already adopted the Federal Produce Safety Rule into State regulation:

    • MA expanded the basic rule to cover farms of all income levels. Applying this uniform standard allows all MA farms an equal opportunity for market access; this was based on buyer demand.

    • CT chose to offer inspections to all farms, regardless of PSR coverage. This allows those farms who don’t fall under PSR to request an inspection, again enhancing market access opportunity.

  • RI plans to adopt an approach similar to CT, to ensure equal market opportunities to all RI farms.

To find out more about PSR, FSMA, or to schedule a meeting or On-Farm Readiness Review, please visit:  www.dem.ri.gov/producesafety, Or contact Ananda Fraser by email: Ananda.fraser@dem.ri.gov or phone: (401) 222-2781 x2411

 

Educational Offerings

Over the past two years, three NOFA chapters- VT, NH, and MA- worked with 30 organic vegetable farmers to determine the cost of production of vegetable crops commonly grown in the Northeast.  The project developed tools, provided technical assistance, and aggregated data into factsheets to support farmers’ production planning and assist them in increasing the profitability of their farm businesses.  
The results from participating farms were then aggregated into five crop-specific fact sheets that present key metrics such as net income, average price/case, cultivation hours/acre, wash and pack hours/acre, and many other data points related to the production of winter squash, potatoes, onions, head lettuce, and carrots.   Supplemental factsheets present crop profitability comparisons, whole farm financial ratios, and tips for success when undertaking cost of production analysis.  You can access these resources by visiting http://www.nofamass.org/nofa-cost-production-project.

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Check in with the events schedule at NOFA/RI on their website!

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The Eastern Mass CRAFT tour schedule is located here: https://easternmasscraft.wordpress.com/craft-visits/

 

If you have job postings, land available, events to share... submit them to the form below and we'll post them here on the Announcements page.

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Local Opportunities

Most farmers qualify for FREE legal services through the non-profit Legal Food Hub, www.legalfoodhub.org!


Do you have workers or plan to have help on your farm this year? Thinking about an apprentice or intern?  Planning to buy or sell to other businesses? Have questions about leasing land, even a handshake kind of agreement?  Do you have any current or possible lease agreements?  

For these things and more, you may want to get some advice from a lawyer.

The Rhode Island Legal Food Hub coordinator, Erica Kyzmir-McKeon, will be happy to speak with you, at ekyzmir-mckeon@clf.org, 401-351-1102, ext 2017.  You can also try Scott at legalfoodhub@clf.org, or call 1-844-LAW-GROW.
For Massachusetts, contact Sara Dewey at sdewey@clf.org.

The Legal Food Hub matches eligible farmers with lawyers in private practice who have agreed to provide FREE legal help for many of your farm needs!

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RI’s First Farm-Based Gleaning Program is Seeking Partnerships with Farms for 2018!

Hope’s Harvest RI will start mobilizing volunteers to rescue surplus fruits and veggies from local farms for distribution to food pantries across the state in July, 2018.

In RI, over 57,000 children, working families, and seniors per month are relying on the emergency food system (food pantries, meal sites, etc.) and many do not have access to nutritious fruits and vegetables, or are getting low-quality crops shipped in from Canada.

  Meanwhile, many farms see a shocking amount of edible food going in the compost because of leftovers after harvest, no market for a bumper crop, no time for maintenance picking, or seconds left after sorting. Lack of time and labor to get those crops out of the field or packhouse and donated to people in need results in a lot of your time and energy going to waste.

Hope’s Harvest can help! We will:

  • Recruit and train volunteers to harvest safely, and make sure they show up ready to work

  • Be available for contact with you by phone, email, or text, to schedule a convenient time to get product out the field or packhouse

  • Come prepared with our own refrigerated truck, sterilized tools & gloves, harvest bins, and hand wash stations

  • Manage and supervise volunteers at all times

  • Fully insure all on-farm volunteer activities with multiple levels of coverage

  • Make sure product gets distributed quickly and safely, with full traceability, to charitable organizations

  • Provide detailed harvest receipts for your records and tax purposes

  Hope’s Harvest RI is partnering with Farm Fresh RI and aims to recover at least 60,000 lbs of produce in Year 1 - and we need your partnership to make this work!

To find out more, sign up, or schedule a call or farm visit, check out: http://hopesharvest.org,
or contact Eva Agudelo at
eva@hopesharvest.org, 401-680-0281

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The RI Conservation Districts are actively looking for board and associate board members. Young farmers are encouraged to inquire!! One meeting a month. Contact Richard Went, dwent@verizon.net

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Did you know that both Rhode Island and Massachusetts have organizations offering FREE professional mediation services for farmers?

The Center for Mediation and Collaboration in Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, both offer an Agricultural Mediation Program.  Mediation provides confidential assistance to help resolve agriculture-related issues in a productive environment. Potential topics include agricultural loans, farm program compliance, easement and access issues, farm family/estate transition, pesticide use, farmer/landlord disputes, farmer-to-farmer situations, and more.

If you have a situation that is not covered by USDA funding, CMCRI will work with you to find other funding or offer you mediation for a sliding-scale affordable fee.

Through mediation, both parties are empowered to devise creative solutions that are mutually acceptable.
Contact your state's organization for a free consultation if you are in need of mediation or guidance!
Rhode Island - Rhonda Bergeron, rbergeron@cmcri.org
Massachusetts - Courtney Breese, courtney.breese@umb.edu

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Are you looking for farmland?

YFN is collaborating with partners throughout RI to help connect farm-seekers with landowners leasing or selling their land. Our project partners include Southside Community Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island, RI Department of Environmental Management, RI Land Trust Council, Northern RI Conservation District, and Land For Good.

Please help us help you by filling out this form to be added to our database of farm seekers. We will be in touch with you to move forward!