​Home Gardeners

Growing fruits and vegetables in a home or community garden can be a source of pleasure, exercise, learning, friendship, and, of course, good food! Over the years, food safety experts have identified a number of common-sense practices that gardeners can use to reduce the chance that good food from the garden will make someone sick.

The four key practices are:

  • Keep “poop” out of the garden during the growing season. This includes uncomposted manure, wild animals, domestic animals, and kids in leaky diapers.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you go to the garden.
  • Keep everything clean: including tools, picking containers, and work boots.
  • Use clean water to irrigate.

If you have been gardening for decades, some of these recommendations may surprise you. But if you think about how you approach food safety in the kitchen, and then consider that the garden is just a step away from that, they may make more sense. And if you add to that the knowledge that it is virtually impossible to wash 100 percent of the harmful microbes off harvested produce, then it makes even more sense to follow practices that reduce the chance of harmful microbes getting on produce in the first place.

Learn more about food safety in the home garden by exploring the resources below.

Five Steps to Food Safe Fruit and Vegetable Home Gardening, from the New England GAP Project.

Garden to Table: Five Steps to Food Safe Fruit and Vegetable Home Gardening, from the New England GAP Project.