Working at DFI as an AmeriCorps member has allowed me to have a safe and encouraging environment to grow in alongside amazing plants and an awesome crew. As the Farm and Food Safety member I received the opportunity to be trained in produce safety which taught me the ins and outs of best practices for farm food safety in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act. My trainings allowed me to implement my knowledge on the farm and ensure all produce safety measures were being taken through practice day to day. Since I was trained in produce safety, another responsibility I took on was reviewing our food safety plan and practices with new farm visitors that were to participate in any harvest to ensure the safe handling of our produce.  I was also given opportunities to take and expand on my food safety knowledge to other sites in our local food system and connect with inspiring community members who are enthusiastic about growing food for the community. In case any of our produce needed to be tracked back for food safety concerns, I managed and updated logs weekly that allowed for traceability from all veggie plants to veggie consumers.

Aside from my food safety responsibilities, this job gave me the opportunity to connect with the local food system and growers which I have learned makes the practice of growing and sharing food a much more meaningful experience. DFI has also given me extensive practice in everyday farm tasks such as planting, harvesting, washing and packing, prepping for farmers markets, pruning, cultivating, greenhouse propagation and seeding, making compost and compost extracts, setting up and operating irrigation, and so much more! A major highlight of working for DFI and one of my favorite parts of the job was getting to harvest our stunning vegetables. There is something really special about watching a plant grow from seed to vegetable and then getting to share it with others or eat it myself! It has been such an exciting time for me to learn new things, engage with the community, and be surrounded by such great people while doing it. I am grateful for the time I have spent at DFI and excited to explore the future with all of my new knowledge, excitement, and inspiration to grow big and beautiful just like the vegetables.

Tegano, N. 2021, Noelle Tegano Completes AmeriCorps Service!, Desert Farming Initiative - University of Nevada, Reno

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Also of Interest:

 
Detecting Multiwall Carbon Nanotube Uptake and Translocation in Lettuce to Enhance Food Safety Assessment.
Reclaiming Water for Urban Foodsheds integrates basic scientific research with extension outreach to examine the feasibility of using reclaimed water resources for irrigated agriculture in urban environments.
Yang, Y., Das, K., Barrios-Masias., F., and Singletary, L. 2018, Extension I University of Nevada, Reno, FS-18-03.
Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHPs): A Framework for Minimizing On-Farm Food Safety Hazards
Approximately 48 million people in the United States get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases each year (CDC, 2011). Produce has continued to be implicated in major foodborne illness outbreaks in recent years.
Urbanowitz, S. 2013, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Food Safety Tips for Nevada Child Caregivers
This publication will help you to learn more about what caregivers should look for during the preparation of food to prevent foodborne illness.
Omaye, S. and Wilson, M. 2007, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-07-28
Harvesting lettuce
Team YHEP Presents: Hydroponics Harvest and Donations
Team YHEP shows you how we harvest and package our hydroponic produce for donation to our food pantry partners throughout Las Vegas!
O'Callaghan, A., Braxton-Perry, T., Hansen, N., and Ford-Terry, I., 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel