The overall aim of the project is to assess the current status of food safety as it relates to specialty crop gleaning operations. We will use a systems approach to coordinate with growers, gleaners, food banks, policy makers, food microbiologists, food system experts, nutritionists, and regulatory agencies to assess the needs regarding food safety and food gleaning. We will focus this planning project in Sonoma, Alameda, and Los Angeles counties because of the strong gleaning networks in these locations. To achieve our aim, we will use an approach involving five specific tasks.Task 1: Identify and recruit from key stakeholder groups for participation in planning grant activitiesTask 2: Conduct focus groups or one-on-one interviews by stakeholder type to identify actual and perceived food safety needs within each groupTask 3: Form an advisory committee comprised of representatives from each stakeholder group and conduct two regional meetings to discuss key findings of focus groups and develop a questionnaire to be used in a needs assessment surveyTask 4: Administer the questionnaire developed in Task 3 to growers and gleanersTask 5: Analyze survey dataFirst, we will conduct four open-ended qualitative focus groups (or one-on-one interviews, as needed) with individual stakeholder groups (gleaners, growers, food banks, regulators) for their food safety and regulatory concerns related to specialty crop gleaning. The names and organizations of participants will be kept confidential to facilitate discussion. Major themes coming out of focus group discussions will be compiled and will not be ascribed to any particular stakeholder group in subsequent advisory committee meeting. Next, we will establish an advisory committee of up to 10 members selected from the stakeholder groups. The advisory committee along with results from stakeholder focus groups will provide insight and direction in developing and reviewing a statewide questionnaire to be used for the needs assessment. The purpose of this questionnaire used in a survey is to acquire information regarding the practices of gleaning. Participants will include growers of specialty crops, food banks, and specialty crop gleaners. Participants will be asked about specific topics such as types of produce gleaned, use of dropped produce, evidence of animal intrusions, produce packing/transportation, storage conditions, etc. In addition, beliefs and attitudes regarding food safety and potential economic or other barriers will be assessed. The survey will be publicized via listserv, members of the organizations involved in this proposal, and at relevant community events and industry gatherings. We have identified several meetings of our stakeholder groups that will we also utilize as points to conduct focus groups and publicize our survey, such as regional meetings of County Agricultural Commissioners, annual meeting of Country Environmental Health Directors, Sonoma Food Recovery Coalition bi-annual meeting, and the Community Jam. The results of the needs assessment will aid us in targeting future research and extension education endeavors related to food safety and gleaning operations. Concurrently with the needs assessments, we will also collect food safety plans from gleaning operations and other guidance documents related to food recovery programs. These resources will be reviewed by the project team and advisory committee with the goal of identifying best practices and establishing a repository for these materials that can be accessed by the public.