Asides

FDA Website Down – #fixFSMA mailing info

Update, 11/12: As of now, regulations.gov is running again. You can comment on the Produce Rule here and the Processing Rule here.

Second update, 11/13: We’ve confirmed that written comments need to be postmarked by 11/15, not arrive by then, so if you’d prefer to send something in the mail (or if the website goes down again), you have until Friday. Apologies for the confusion; the information has been updated below.

The FDA commenting portal is out of service.The FDA’s regulation portal continues to be inaccessible due to “technical difficulties” as the comment deadline for FSMA nears. We are advocating for an extension of the deadline, but cannot say whether it will happen.

You can mail your comment to the FDA, but mailed comments must arrive at the FDA be postmarked by 11/15. That means to guarantee they’ll get there on time, you should mail them today!

Mail to:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Be sure to include the docket number in your comments: Produce Rule is
FDA-2011-N-0921 and the Facilities/Processing Rule is FDA-2011-N-0920. Also include your name and farm/business or organization affiliation, if any.

Thanks to everyone who is taking the time to make their voices heard!

(For more information on the Food Safety Modernization Act and how to write a comment, see our previous post.)

Growing in the NOFA Garden

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The 10 raised beds that constitute the NOFA office garden were installed last fall. The garden’s first summer season has been very successful; the garden has proved itself to be a valuable gathering and learning place for community members of all ages. Its most frequent visitors have been local day cares: Gretchen Paulsen’s Childcare Center, the Beary Country School, and the PlayCare Center of Richmond have all come on a weekly or biweekly basis to read books, plant seeds, harvest peas, and sample the garden’s numerous offerings. Some of the produce the preschoolers examined was harvested and brought across the street to the Food Shelf of Richmond.

Slightly older students trooped down the hill from the YMCA camp based at Richmond Elementary School. These students explored the culinary possibilities the garden offers, making strawberry dip to devour with snap peas.  They also saw production on a larger scale during a field trip to Freedom and Unity Farm, where they helped farmer Gary Bressor with chores.

Finally, and on the other side of the age spectrum, senior citizens participated in a series of culinary workshops that took place further down Bridge St in the Richmond Congregational Church.  Master Gardener Margaret Lowe taught a jam-making workshop with the late June strawberries, and cooking teacher Adele Dienno taught a “Cooking for One” class later in the summer.  These workshops were a valuable opportunity for seniors to socialize and swap old Richmond stories.

The garden has had a wonderful first summer, despite the debilitating June rain, and we invite community members to come learn and play as we move in to autumn and reap the bounty of the summer’s harvest.

[Guest post by Emily Hill, NOFA-VT summer intern]