Local Produce Safety Initiative
Demand for local produce is influencing purchasing at wholesale and institutional buyers. A 2012 USDA report found sales through intermediated channels are a growing segment of the local food market; those buyers often require farms to be GAP certified. A CFSA survey found that most NC and SC retailers require GAP certification. Industry members report that direct market outlets are also under pressure to require GAPs. Small farms need scale-appropriate practices that conform to GAP standards to remain competitive. CFSA’s programs addressing that need have proven highly effective: 72 percent of participants in our programs to date have increased their annual sales by at least $5,000. This project’s goals are to: 1) provide Food Safety Program and Plan Development assistance to farmers seeking GAP certification, 2) conduct 2-day workshops covering Principles of Fresh Produce Safety and Navigating the GAP Audit, and 3) provide GAPs workshops at conferences in NC.