County offers online program designed to help local gardeners
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The Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, in collaboration with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), has launched an online program to allow local gardeners to sell or donate their eligible produce.  

The online self-certification program supports goals outlined in the Sonoma County Healthy and Sustainable Food Action Plan, and shows a  commitment to supporting locally grown healthy foods and increasing access for consumers.

The Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, David Rabbitt, said, “One of the most important factors to both a healthy community and a strong economy is connecting our local farmers and gardeners with consumers.  This innovative program will bring together those who grow local healthy foods with the community. We will all benefit from the increased access to healthy foods.”

The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office will host two informational meetings about the program on April 16, and May 13 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Agricultural Commissioner’s conference room located at 133 Aviation Blvd, Suite 110 in Santa Rosa.  All interested gardeners are encouraged to attend.

The free online program creates a mechanism for school gardens, community gardens and home gardens to legally sell or donate their produce in compliance with Cal Code regulations.  Upon accessing the website, interested gardeners will read a brief introduction to the program and proceed to the online registration form.  

After agreeing to follow 16 best management practices related to food safety and completing the required registration information, the gardener receives an Approved Produce Gardener Certificate. Once completed, the gardener can save an electronic copy of their certificate and print copies to accompany their produce when sold or donated.

The registration form requires gardeners to list the location of their garden as well as the commodities they produce. Certificates are valid for one year from the date of issue.  The website also includes a link to “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) that explain the program in more detail. 

 To register for one of the informational meetings, go to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/360310.

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