By Catherine Davis
Produce Safety Fellowship Program
For several years Colorado State University has collaborated with the Colorado Department of Agriculture to offer three graduate student fellowships providing interdisciplinary training and mentorship in the area of produce safety. Professionals engaged in safe production of fruits and vegetables must have a clear understanding of current risks and threats to our food supply, which requires a working knowledge of food production and distribution systems, related public health issues, current state and federal requirements, and effective methods of educational delivery.
Fellows will be involved in the development of produce safety outreach materials and assist with food safety related trainings and farm-level assessments. Following 9 months of mentorship and coursework (August – May), fellows participate in summer field-based learning assisting a farm or food hub with food safety program development or implementation; observing audit work of the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Service; and attending food safety training.
Ten hours per week for two semesters, with partial tuition stipend; and 20 hours per week for three months in the summer. Fellows will have the opportunity to attend state and national conferences to learn more about current issues and research in the area of produce production and health.
Each fellow works with advisors to develop a program of study to build competence in issues related to produce safety. Evaluation is based on a fellow’s ability to meet the study program goals and produce a final capstone project on a subject that is pertinent to the produce growers in Colorado.
Previous Fellows Testimonials
Heather Marshall – The produce safety fellowship has introduced me to so many opportunities that I would never have had access to on my own. I have had the opportunity to speak with food safety experts, Colorado growers, and government officials.
Tyler Mason – This has been a great learning experience and I would recommend this fellowship to anyone interested in pursuing a career in food safety and security, public health, extension education, and agricultural production to name a few.
Deborah Ray: The educational experiences I have taken part in as a Produce Safety Fellow have broadened my understanding of all the moving parts of our complex food system and how FSMA uniquely relates to each one. Taking part in this fellowship has prepared me to do my part as an aspiring agricultural professional to ensure the safety of our fresh produce.