Farmers have asked Iowa Valley RC&D for guidance to set up a low cost, food safe, GAP certifiable, and efficient space for washing and packing produce. With funds from the North Central Region Center for FSMA Training, we designed and constructed a temporary pack shed structure and created an instructional building guide to enable anyone to construct the pack shed on their own. The simple structure, based on a prefabricated carport, costs around $4000 and incorporates food safety principles in its materials and design. The structure is ideal for tenant farmers who do not have the option for permanent structures but can work for any small to medium diversified vegetable producer.
The Handbook includes a full list of materials and tools, step-by-step instructions, and some food safety recommendations for using the structure. Download below.
Building the Structure at Over the Moon
In the spring of 2021, we built our model structure at Over the Moon Farm & Flowers near Coggin, IA. This farm participated in the Clean Start Food Safety Coaching Program in which they created a written food safety plan and received a stipend to invest in food safety improvements. Part of their stipend went toward an extension of their pack shed to make room for a new walk-in cooler. We’d like to thank them for helping us build the structure and work out some kinks in the design.
“We were able to create efficient systems for harvesting, packing, and storing produce in a space that felt clean, relatively waterproof, and great for this season of our farming careers. We installed electricity in the packshed and put up a walk-in cooler. Having everything in one spot increased food safety and our productivity. Going from having no infrastructure of our own to having this packshed was really a game changer for our business!” Anna Hankins & Shae Pesek of Over the Moon Farm & Flowers