International Day of Plant Health celebrates the rich and diverse plant ecosystems that exist around the world.

Designated by the United Nations, International Day of Plant Health aims to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development.

To acknowledge the day, the AUSVEG Biosecurity team together with VegNET RDO Danielle Park, visited Tripod Farmers in Bacchus Marsh.

Biosecurity and food safety is front of mind for Tripod Farmers, who grow salad leafy greens for bulk and packaged, across 1,000 acres. The business also has an extended network of growers who adhere to the same biosecurity and food safety quality assurance measures.

VegNET RDO Danielle Park and Vice Chair Director of Vegetables NZ, Allen Lim at Tripod Farmers

Joining the Biosecurity team and Danielle were a delegation of New Zealand growers touring Australianfarms to learn firsthand about Australian vegetable growers and biosecurity measures.

Tripod Farmers hosts, Angela Ruffo, head of operationsdirector and Frank Ruffo, farm production manager, greeted the tour group with a history of the business and an overview of the produce grown across the multiple sites. A demonstration of the processing and packaging lines was also given.

Angela, who was acknowledged with the Women in Horticulture award at the recent AUSVEG Vic annual dinner, outlined the strict quality assurance processes and stressed the importance of quality control for consumer leafy greens for food safety.

AUSVEG Biosecurity coordinator, Shakira Johnson said that the visit to Tripod Farmers gave the NZ tour group a unique insight into the importance of biosecurity on farm not only for pest and disease management but also for food safety.

AUSVEG Biosecurity team discuss pests and disease with Frank Ruffo at Tripod Farmers

“What Angela and Frank demonstrated on International Day of Plant Health, was that leafy greens in particular need vigilance when it comes to food safety to give consumers trust in our quality systems for the food they eat.

“Behind the scenes that focus is literally at ground level, to ensure that pests and diseases do not affect products like spinach or become a contaminant. The work that Angela and Frank put in at Tripod Farmers is testament to their commitment to ensuring their customers have leafy greens that are fresh and safe to eat any time.”