07 Oct 2021
Prior to joining the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), Laura Gallagher worked on farms and with community gardening organizations in the Midwest and Northeast, providing training and education. Now Laura is helping NOP run the Organic Integrity Learning Center (OILC) and the Human Capital Capacity Building Initiative to help build the future of the organic workforce.
The learning center is free, open to everyone, and offers courses in critical organic monitoring skills. Over 5,850 people have registered and taken one or more of the 22 full courses and eight available microlearning courses.
Micro-learning courses are new, and Laura pointed out that these small-sized courses are particularly useful for busy certifiers and inspectors, stating: 15 minutes. “Certifiers and inspectors can also use micro-learning to complete formal training, as a resource for new staff and as a refresher on NOP processes and monitoring tools.
Laura says, “There are more to come. Whenever our accreditation officers receive frequent questions about a particular part of organic regulation or certifiers are unsure of how to follow a process, that topic gets added to the microlearning agenda.
Like many members of the NOP team, Laura has a passion for growing things and sharing results. Outside of work, she said, “I’m always on the lookout for new ways to eat the bountiful produce from my garden and from local farms!