2020 Farm and Food Safety Policy

Purpose:

To mitigate risk of coronavirus transmission between staff, volunteers, students and other individuals on the farm in order to protect individual health and safety and maintain farm operations as much as possible. These policies have been developed in accordance with public health recommendations and consultation with other community farms and food projects. 

 

For simplicity, the terms staff or “farm staff” will be used to refer to NCF Staff, the Charles River Center Horticulture Coordinator and the farm’s beekeeper. 

 

Risk: Spread of coronavirus through exposure to sick individuals.

Policy: Sick individuals will stay home from the farm.

  • No one will come to the farm if they feel ill or are experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Anyone with exposure to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 will wait 14 days after exposure with no symptoms to come to the farm. 

  • If someone who has been to the farm becomes ill with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, they will notify the farm so that contact tracing may be implemented. 

  • If a staff person shows symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive, they will immediately notify staff and board members. Remaining staff will immediately disinfect all shared surfaces (handles, locks, tables, tools, car) and any other objects identified by the sick individual as recently touched.

 

Risk: Coronavirus exposure through close individual contacts.

Policy: Follow social distancing guidelines provided by public health officials.

  • All individuals on the farm will wear a face mask or covering while on the farm. The face covering must be worn anytime individuals are working directly with others from outside their own household. Individuals working at least 10 feet way from others may remove their mask, but must keep it on their person and replace it if maintaining distance from others become impossible.

  • All individuals will stay at least 6 ft away from each other to the best extent possible. 

  • Total number of people on the farm at any one time will be limited to 15. 

  • Any staff member planning to bring 3 or more community members to the farm at one time will provide at least 24 hours notice to other staff. 

 

Risk: Coronavirus exposure through shared work surfaces

Policy: Prevent surface transfer of virus through increased sanitation.

  • All individuals will wash hands upon entering the farm. Use hand sanitizer if water is unavailable. 

  • All individuals will wash hands after: using the restroom, using their phone, eating or drinking, any break where gloves are removed. Use hand sanitizer if water is unavailable. 

  • All food will be consumed away from common working and washing areas. All individuals will wash hands before and after consuming beverages on the farm. 

  • All individuals will wear work gloves while on the farm whenever possible. Individuals will not touch their faces or phones with gloves. 

  • Mike, Liz, and Theresa will have a designated set of farm tools, indicated by colored duct tape on the tool handle. These tools will only be used by their designated user. 

  • Volunteers and students will have designated farm tools, to be used only with gloves. 

  • High-touch surfaces will be disinfected once per day at the end of the day. The last person to leave the farm for the day will wipe down the following surfaces with disinfectant: all shed handles, portapotty handle and padlock, main water valve and lock, main gate lock and handle (on exit for the day). Staff will confirm that this has happened with a text to Theresa, Liz and Mike. 

  • Some items are shared resources and will need to be used by multiple staff and/or volunteers (i.e. seed boxes). Minimize volunteer access to these resources unless absolutely necessary. All staff should wash or sanitize hands before accessing. 

 

Risk: Decreased staff capacity due to individual illness or quarantine.

Policy: Identify core tasks and cross-train staff and key volunteers.

  • All staff will identify core tasks required to maintain farm functioning, recognizing that tasks vary during different parts of season. Tasks will be inventoried in a shared document. 

  • Upon staff illness or quarantine, they will rapidly notify other staff to activate the Staffing Shortage Action Plan.

 

Risk: Virus transfer via produce grown and distributed by the farm.

Policy: Follow best food safety practices as usual and additionally use single-use gloves and washable face masks during harvest. 

  • All harvest crew members will wash hands well with soap for at least 20 seconds.

  • Harvest tools (knives, scissors, hose nozzles), totes, and surfaces (spray tables, packing tables, salad spinner) will be washed and sanitized prior to harvest.

  • Packaging materials (bands, bags, etc) will be brought out only after surfaces are clean.

  • No member of the harvest crew will touch their face or phone while harvesting, washing, or packing. After touching their face or phone, crew members must re-wash hands before continuing work.

  • When transitioning from harvest to washing or packing, all crew members will re-wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds up to elbows.

  • When washing and packing, all crew will put on clean, single use gloves and washable face masks. Face masks will be washed after each use.

  • Packaged produce will be placed into clean totes for transportation to destination. 

 

This document was prepared by Theresa Strachila, Farm Manager, and Liz Perkus, Assistant Farm Manager. Please contact Theresa at FarmManager@NeedhamFarm.org with any questions. Updated 6/30/20

PO Box 920877

Needham, MA 02492

781-343-1106

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