- Fruits: apples
- Crop Production: organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, participatory research, technical assistance
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Soil Management: organic matter
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships, sustainability measures
The Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) program, established by Cornell University with government support, contains sound management practices to be followed by fresh-produce growers to ease consumer concerns about food-borne illnesses, especially in direct-sale from grower to consumer. However, the program is not mandatory so is implemented by few small-acreage growers because of the required costs and resources. Organic growers are also discouraged from employing GAPs on their operations because of their foremost necessity to comply with National Organic Program (NOP) standards.
This Professional + Producer Grant will create an Organic-GAPs (O-GAPs) manual, standardized with NOP and the practices of collaborating organic producers, to encourage the establishment of the program. This project will help secure the survival of small-acreage and organic growers that currently do not participate in any food safety program. Although such programs are not required, many retailers discriminate against produce without a third-party audit from a program like GAPs. The compiled manual will be shared at a field day and during specialty crop conferences.