Training Thousands through LGMA Tech
Most people know that California is an agricultural powerhouse. But what many people don’t fully understand is how many people it takes to produce all of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown here – nearly half of the United States’ total production. Of the more than 400 commodities grown in the “Golden State,” lettuce is the top-valued vegetable crop—worth $2 billion in 2014.
The LGMA is a food safety program that was created in 2007 to help leafy greens farmers. The program uses frequent government audits to verify that farmers are implementing appropriate food safety practices on their farms. These food safety practices cover areas like water quality, environmental risk assessments, and worker practices.
LGMA member companies produce 99% of the leafy greens grown in California. On any given day, thousands of workers are harvesting lettuce and leafy greens on hundreds of farms in this state. Teaching all of these workers how and why it’s important to follow all of the LGMA’s required food safety practices is a critical part of the LGMA’s mission. To aid in accomplishing this task, the LGMA has created LGMA Tech—a comprehensive training program for individuals who are charged with training other workers.
In today’s leafy greens industry, every company has at least one employee known as a “food safety.” These individuals are charged with making sure that the company fully complies with required food safety practices. They work to ensure that producing safe leafy greens is a priority for the company and all of its employees.
LGMA Tech zeros in on the “food safeties” at each of the LGMA member companies precisely because these employees have the ability to reach and train others. In fact, training the appropriate people they work with is a big part of the “food safety’s” job.
Through LGMA Tech, “food safeties” participate in a special train-the-trainer course where they learn the basics of how to train effectively. They can then take courses that are specific to the LGMA’s key food safety categories: Managing Harvesting Operations & Personnel; Managing Animal Intrusions; Sampling & Testing Procedures; Employee Health & Hygiene; and Cleaning & Sanitizing Harvesting Equipment.
What happens when over 100 people are exposed to these courses and materials?
They pass the information on to the employees they are responsible for supervising. Then those employees pass it on to others, and so on. The end result is effective, quality training for the thousands of people who work to bring food from farm to fork every day.
Last year 366 people were trained through LGMA Tech; 12 sessions were offered in 5 locations, with courses in English and Spanish. This means that many, many more workers throughout the leafy green community received this same information on proper food safety practices. The system is working. The effectiveness of LGMA Tech has led to fewer citations on audits and it reinforces why food safety matters. The LGMA Tech food safety training program is helping create a culture of food safety on all California leafy greens farms.
If you haven’t already, please check out the LGMA Tech section of our website for more information on this important program, the courses offered and the curriculum provided. You can also sign up for our LGMA Tech e-newsletter.