Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Farmers' Market project boosts student's development

The SENS Division are currently undertaking a number of research projects as part of the UCLan's Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS).

URIS offers students the opportunity to work with UCLan academics on research projects which have real research outputs. Since the scheme launched in 2008, nearly 200 interns have worked directly with researchers on a variety of projects across the university.

'Food Safety Practices and Capability at Farmers' Markets in North West England' is led by Dr Carol Wallace and Dr Brigit Ramsingh, with Lawrence Copson the assigned intern.

The project is looking at current attitudes, beliefs, practices and knowledge of food safety among farmers' market vendors in the North West, with a focus on Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

Through interviews, observation and surveys, current food safety facilities and educational materials will be assessed to identify additional training needs and potential barriers in establishing a positive food safety culture.

The study will run for 15 months from July 2014 - October 2015. This research follows on from a collaboration with Dr Ben Chapman from North Carolina State University, who was a UCLan distinguished research visitor in 2013. Dr Chapman has carried out a similar study looking at food safety practices at farmers' markets in the United States.

Lawrence took on the research project after successfully completing his degree in History. He said: "The aim of the research is to determine if there are any gaps within the current food safety guidelines for Farmers' Markets. We will then seek to create or add further guidance to Market managers or vendors. I'm well versed in multiple research processes and techniques having tackled History.

"Although Food Safety is a different subject for me, I have a passionate interest in food and the production stages that come with it. The opportunity to travel to various towns and villages across the North West to observe this stage of produce trade is a great experience with regards to my personal interest in food and for my professional development in research practices."

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