Introducing a New Resource to UP Farmers

As December speeds by, we rush to ready ourselves for the holidays. Once the new year arrives, our growers and producers will jump right into planning and preparing for the 2019 season. I myself am already dreaming of summer harvests. With preparation approaching, this month seemed like a great opportunity to introduce a new resource to Upper Peninsula Farmers: Landen Tetil, the new Produce Safety Technician for the UP region.

landen tetil bean poleProduce Safety Technicians are positioned around the state to help increase the on-farm food safety of Michigan farms. Technicians work to educate and facilitate on-farm produce safety to growers with the goal of reducing the risk of food-borne illnesses. They work with farmers to manage their food safety risks according to the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. The Produce Safety Rule is science-based, rather than policy-based, and compliance with the rule is verified by a state inspector through the Michigan Department of Agriculture. When a produce grower works with a Produce Safety Technician, they can be assured that technicians will not and cannot provide information about your farm to any state inspector. All farmer-to-technician services and communication is completely confidential, voluntary, and free.  

Tetil is located at the Marquette County Conservation District and serves the entire U.P., but produce farms located within the counties of Alger, Marquette, Iron, Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, and Menominee will receive priority when scheduling farm visits. She is eager to help increase the on-farm produce safety through her extensive farming knowledge and experience, as well as the program’s on-the-job training. In total, she has eleven years of agricultural work experience, five of which have been on Upper Peninsula farms, including four years of owning and operating her own small market garden, Bean Pole Farm. She also has a B.S. in environmental studies from Northern Michigan University. For on-farm produce safety resources and services, please contact Landen at (906)226-8871 ext. 105 or [email protected]

I encourage UP producer farmers who are considering growth to new markets to take advantage of her services and resources, after the holidays of course, because before we dive too deep into 2019 let us enjoy the company of our loved ones, reflect on our past struggles and celebrate our individual and team successes. Cheers!

Alex Palzewicz is the Upper Peninsula Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference. I have now been in this position for a year, and would like to take this opportunity to thank the partners, organizations and individuals who have supported me this year as I strive to know more about the local food systems in each UP region. I’ve learned so much from all of you as well as gained some great friends along the way. Contact Alex at [email protected]