The Postharvest Education Foundation
Founder: Dr. Lisa Kitinoja

Globally, food losses and postharvest waste are estimated at 30 to 40% of production. Losses of perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables can be even higher during the postharvest period, depending upon the weather, access to storage or distance from markets. Utilizing improved postharvest practices often results in reduced food losses, improved overall quality and food safety, and higher profits for growers and marketers. But how can we teach people how to use the postharvest handling practices that will best serve their needs?

Do you have questions about where to find information about postharvest practices?

Do your job duties include training others in postharvest handling?

Are you looking for some practical ideas for postharvest demonstrations?

Are you looking for topic ideas or illustrations for a postharvest presentation?
Do you need a customized workshop or specialized training program for your organization? 
Are you interested in learning how to design a postharvest training and services center for your community? 

The Postharvest Education Foundation (PEF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity that aims to provide training and information to help people around the world to reduce postharvest food losses and food waste. We are a proud member of the SAVE FOOD! initiative sponsored by the UNFAO.  http://www.fao.org/save-food/savefood/en/  

Since 2011 we have trained 110 "Postharvest Specialists" from 27 different countries via an innovative mentor guided e-learning program. 
In 2014 we held a successful "Small-scale postharvest technologies short course/study tour" in Bali, Indonesia with our colleagues at Udayana University.  In 2015 we held a similar short course/study tour in Arusha, Tanzania during 23-27 February.  Click on the links at the left side of this page to read more about these events, and please let us know if you are interested in partnering with us to offer a future event. 
In October 2014 we offered a webinar via Food Tank on "Reducing food losses from farm to market".  You can download the ppt slides here: LK's slide set
and watch/listen to the presentation online: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8343577279018169090 
Join our social media network and feel free to ask for assistance!   
PEF shares postharvest news, information, resources and more via our active social media presence to our network of 2500+ members of our Postharvest Training group on Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Postharvest-Training-3770124)
Twitter (@PostharvestOrg)
This year you can help us to raise funds for our next postharvest workshop by donating a few dollars or sharing the link for our "make a donation" page. http://postharvest.org/make_a_donation0.aspx 
To download a fundraising informational flyer that you can print or send to a friend:  PEF one page FLYER

If you prefer to send a check by mail, please make out your check to The Postharvest Education Foundation and mail it to us at PO Box 38, La Pine, Oregon 97739. 

What do we do?

PEF currently offers:
  • a variety of postharvest e-learning programs for young professionals who work with small scale farmers in developing countries.
  • free postharvest training materials for those involved in extension work and training of farmers, produce handlers, small scale food processors and marketers
  • access to postharvest tools and basic equipment for use in applied research and for improving practical field operations
  • postharvest workshops for e-learners who successfully complete their online programs
  • long term mentoring for participants in e-learning programs via social networking websites
  • short courses. study tours and workshops
  • advice and guidance for establishing local postharvest training centers
LK training e-learners at the PTSC in Arusha, Tanzania (2013)
LK awards a certificate of completion to Mekbib Hiligebrile Seife (Ethiopia) at the conclusion of the 2012 Global postharvest e-learning program.
PEF e-learning graduates in 2013, and 2014 
PEF short course participants in 2015
PEF was featured recently in a FOODTANK.org article as one of 21 inspiring food loss/waste reduction initiatives --
Our Global E-Learning Program:
This is a year long mentor-guided e-learning program where you can learn at your own pace.  Each participant can select their own crops of interest and conduct their assignments (readings, fieldwork and written reports) on the topics that they want most to learn more about. The program begins in January each year, and ends in December, with a closing workshop.
Please check our E-learning programs webpage for the agenda. Applications are closed for this year, as the program is FULL.
Please let us know if you wish to be put on our email list-- you will automatically receive announcements when future programs open for registration in November. Send your name and email address to LK at kitinoja@postharvest.org



Training Assistance

Our Directors and staff are available online or via e-mail to serve as mentors or advisors to young professionals, extension workers, farm advisors, and private consultants around the world who are involved in activities related to postharvest handling, packaging, cooling, shipping, storage of fresh fruits and vegetables, and improved storage and processing of all food crops.

The Postharvest Education Foundation is currently working to assist extension workers, scientists, postharvest professionals and graduate students in many countries around the world gain new knowledge, skills  and field experience that will assist them to help their local populations to reduce postharvest losses and food waste.  We host online discussion forums and offer mentoring services at no charge.  Dr. Lisa Kitinoja is the lead trainer, and she also currently works as a senior technical advisor with The World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO).  

How to learn more about the Foundation

Visit our About Us page to read more about our Mission, Board of Directors and Founder. You can find the link at the left side of the homepage.

Donations are always appreciated, and are tax deductible.  As a relatively new Foundation and 501(c)(3) organization, we are not yet registered in all 50 US states, but we are fully registered in Oregon, California and New Jersey, and we have been granted an exemption in New York and Connecticut.  We have applied for registration for in Arizona and for an exemption in other states, so we will update our status as applications are processed, and a quite a few states have no formal registrations required (Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming). 

Key topics:
Training in postharvest technology aims to reduce food losses by helping farmers and handlers learn how changing simple practices, such as using better quality packages or not over-loading crates, can protect produce while improving market value and incomes.

Food losses and waste
Global food losses are estimated at 30 to 40%, and occur on the farm, and during postharvest handling, food processing, storage, distribution and consumption. The UN FAO has published a new report that summarizes the issues and highlights the need for taking action. According to the UNFAO media website "The report distinguishes between food loss and food waste. Food losses - occurring at the production, harvest, post-harvest and processing phases - are most important in developing countries, due to poor infrastructure, low levels of technology and low investment in the food production systems.

Food waste is more a problem in industrialized countries, most often caused by both retailers and consumers throwing perfectly edible foodstuffs into the trash. Per capita waste by consumers is between 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia each throw away only 6-11 kg a year." http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/74192/icode/

Use the hotlink to read the full report (Gustavson et al 2011).  UNFAO Report May 2011
Dr. Lisa was a contributing author in June 2013 on a World resources Institute working paper: 
Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment Two: Reducing Food Loss and Waste
Improved postharvest practices 
A recent research study undertaken by WFLO with funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides an great assortment of data on the results of 12 past projects, postharvest losses % for 26 crops, a description of the value chain for 30 crops in 4 countries (Rwanda, Benin, Ghana and India) and 21 field trials of postharvest technologies suitable for helping small farmers reduce losses and improve their incomes. The original project report is 318 pages long (available for download at http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/datastorefiles/234-1847.pdf ), but you can read a summary here.
Slide Deck WFLO BMGF APT Report 2010
Pilot project for extension of postharvest technologies
Diane Barrett and Lisa Kitinoja worked together during 2010-13 on a Hort CRSP funded project in East Africa where a pilot The Postharvest Training and Services Center (PTSC) was set up in October 2012 on the campus of AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center in Arusha. The PTSC serves as:
  1. a site for extensionists to meet with growers and others to provide training on improved food handling, harvest, packing, cooling, storage, food safety and processing practices
  2. a location with permanent demonstrations for observing small-scale practices (where local private companies can explain and demonstrate their goods and services related to postharvest handling)
  3. a shop with postharvest tools and supplies, packages, plastic crates and other goods that can be purchased at reasonable prices
  4. a place where people can come to ask questions or get advice on how to use improved postharvest practices, costs/benefits and marketing options
  5. a place where growers or traders can pay a small fee for services such as having their produce cooled and/or stored for a few days before marketing, leasing a small insulated transport vehicle, or using a solar dryer to produce dried fruit or vegetable snack products, etc.
    This pilot project is being used as a model for future proposed projects in many regions of the world. If you would like to host a similar PTSC, feel free to contact us and ask for advice or assistance. During 2011-12 we trained 36 young professionals from 7 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa using an e-learning program developed and provided by PEF-- these postharvest specialists trained more than 13,000 Africa farmers, traders, processors and marketers during 2012-13 in a wide range of improved postharvest handling and appropriate food processing / food safety practices.
Mentoring and discussions
Join our discussions on LinkedIn.com to learn more. We currently interact with more than 2500 members in our Postharvest Training groups: http://lnkd.in/CB2QfW

 What is the cost?

There is no charge for mentoring services or participation in our online discussions. Visit the Foundation's blog (http://postharvest.tumblr.com/) or join one of our LinkedIn.com discussion groups and we will do our best to answer your question or point you in the right direction. Many training materials are available via as links or downloads from this website, or can be sent to you via e-mail at no charge. A CDRom packed full of practical training materials is available at a small fee (to cover the cost of copying, postage and packaging materials).

Many thanks to those of you who have purchased copies for yourself or your reference libraries-- each purchase helps to pay some of the cost of  distributing the free CDRoms that are sent to those who cannot afford to purchase the training materials. Training CD Rom
Supporter of the World Food Preservation Center (WFPC)
2015© The Postharvest Education Foundation


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