The Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness (CAFSP) is located at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine on the UT Institute of Agriculture campus. Founded in 2005, CAFSP is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the safety of agriculture and the food supply through the conduction of investigation and research and through the provision of high quality educational and training programs. CAFSP, under the direction of Sharon Thompson, Director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness, combines the expertise of University of Tennessee faculty with other institutions across the country to address current issues related to food defense, food safety, foreign animal diseases, emergency preparedness, bioterrorism, and more. CAFSP serves as a focal point for several key national and international initiatives to protect agriculture and the food supply from terrorist threats and to promote safer food production and processing practices.


Since its formation in 2005, CAFSP has administered more than $25 million in competitively-awarded grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of State (DOS), and others to support the development and delivery of high quality national and international educational and training programs focused on adult learners that make up the work force in industries, other academic institutions, and federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal agencies. CAFSP has developed 25 instructor-led courses and 25 web courses since 2005 for the DHS, FDA, CDC, USDA, and DOS. CAFSP has conducted 266 mobile course deliveries with ~8,264 domestic and global participants trained, and CAFSP has hosted ~21,778 online course participants.

In 2011, CAFSP was awarded a $6.6 million multi-year grant from the FDA to support the development of a national food safety and training curriculum. The trainings developed through this grant are utilizing both online and instructor-led courses.

In 2012, CAFSP, partnering with the Tennessee Department of Health, University of Tennessee Department of Food Science, and the University of Tennessee Department of Public Health, was named as one of only five national Centers of Excellence (CoEs) by the CDC. These five CoEs focus on research, teaching, and training to address issues associated with foodborne illnesses. To learn more, visit the Tennessee Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence website.

Our Course Development Process

CAFSP has developed a well-recognized, national training program through a competitive, grant-supported process and has been able to validate the high quality of the programs they have developed through documented performance assessment data. Courses are developed with subject matter experts and instructional designers that specialize in adult learning techniques. Each CAFSP course is designed to enable the participants to achieve all the expected learning outcomes defined in the training process. CAFSP has developed innovative training courses using a variety of modalities, including instructor-led, online, hybrid, and video-based trainings.

The Instructor-Led Trainings (ILT), include hands-on activities and incorporate multiple videos to enhance the learning content. Delivery of our Instructor-Led Training courses is coordinated through a local Point of Contact and is provided on-site at the requesting agency or institution. These courses utilize a dynamic didactic learning process that focuses on the adult learner. These courses provide participants with knowledge and, through the use of the videos and carefully designed exercises, an opportunity to apply that knowledge.

We have also developed and implemented trainings for “just-in-time” needs to address emerging issues for industry and federal agencies, such as bagged salad production concerns. These just-in-time trainings can be online or instructor-led, depending on the need and the particular issue.