Collaboration with Regional Centers
Londa Nwadike, Ph.D., has been an Extension Food Safety Specialist for approximately seven years, and is currently with Kansas State University (KSU) and the University of Missouri (UM). KSU and UM were included in the initial grant proposal submitted by Iowa State University to become the North Central Regional Center (NCRC) under the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP). Londa’s current area of specialty is produce safety as it relates to farms and farmer’s markets.
Londa has collaborated with the NCRC under the FSOP on a variety of projects, including but not limited to:
· Developing produce safety fact sheets and resources related to U-Pick establishments and farm stands;
· Conducting on-farm assessments for growers;
· Delivering Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training workshops in Kansas and Missouri; and
· Providing free water testing (sampling) to help farmers meet agricultural water requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and to help these farmers build capacity for more economical water testing in the future.
Londa has seen, first-hand, the benefits resulting from the FSOP. During one of the on-farm assessments mentioned above, it was observed that a grower was spreading raw manure in an unsafe manner shortly prior to harvest, and the on-farm assessors were able to guide the farmer on the produce safety risk posed by this practice. Another on-farm assessment revealed an unsafe practice of grazing cattle above a water well; again, the assessors were able to provide guidance to the farmer on the safety risk of such a practice.
Londa says that the greatest benefit of collaborating with the NCRC is the ability to interact with produce safety individuals from other states within the region. This interaction allows for information-sharing, joint development of tools and resources such as fact sheets, and identification and discussion of shared produce safety concerns. Londa has often consulted the NCRC website in order to share information on conferences, trainings, and resource materials with individuals in Kansas and Missouri.