On Monday, February 7th, growers, Rural Action staff, AmeriCorps members, and other interested parties all gathered together at the Triple Nickel Diner in Chesterhill for a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training. The training session, hosted by Tiffany Harvey of Ohio University, included information on food safety as well as the requirements and documentation necessary for a farm to attain GAP certification. This certification ensures that a farm is sticking to food safety standards aimed at stopping the spread of foodborne pathogens through a third-party audit. These standards include everything from implementation of handwashing stations to water testing to keeping pests away.
Although all the record-keeping required of GAP certified farms can be a lot to keep up with, it’s well worth the effort. Health-conscious consumers can look for the “GAP certified” sticker for reassurance that the produce they are buying is safe. Some wholesale buyers and institutions such as universities will only purchase from GAP certified farms, so GAP certification can also be a good way for farmers to expand into new markets. If you would like to learn more about GAP certification, click here for a general overview of food safety standards or here for more information from the USDA.
Following the GAP training, and a delicious lunch courtesy of Triple Nickel, CPA growers met for the first Growers’ Meeting of 2022 to discuss the previous CPA season, new order buying partnerships, 2022 season planning, and more. We’re all looking forward to whatever the upcoming auction season has in store!
Jordan Knisley is an Americorps member serving with Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture program. He is from Chillicothe and is a recent graduate of Ohio University.