Members of the Dakota Rural Action Small Farms Committee (myself included) will be traveling to Pierre on Monday, December 7 to meet with representatives with the State Health Department, Department of Agriculture, and Extension in order to help clarify existing food safety regulations for direct farm to consumer sales.
The meeting is part of a DRA Small Farms Committee campaign to help locally-based producers and farmers market vendors and managers to better understand and implement the food safety regulations at their markets and farmstands, and to avoid conflicts such as those that occurred at the Black Hills Farmers Market in the 2009 season.
Additionally, the meeting represents a first step in working with the state agencies to draft a South Dakota “pickle law” that helps small producers sell directly to consumers at farmers markets, farm stands, and from their home businesses without undue legal and administrative burdens.
It is my hope that the rules clarification can help to pave the way for legislation that supports our growing local and regional food systems in the state by allowing us to provide consumers nutritious, affordable, and widely available local foods without sacrificing safety.
If you are a producer, farmers market manager or vendor, or a supporter of local foods and you have questions or comments about food safety and/or local food sales and processing in South Dakota, please feel free to share them with me either in the comments below or by e-mailing me at organicpeas(AT)hotmail(DOT)com.
And, by the way, your membership in Dakota Rural Action supports projects like this one that help producers of local foods in South Dakota. Why not join today?