USDA audits are all currently "one farm, one audit" which can be a large financial burden for the small farmer. One of the most important strategies to emerge from worldwide efforts to address food safety verification is the cooperative or “group approach” to food safety, in which a group of farms develop shared standard quality and operating procedures and are audited as one body. USDA and Good Natured Family Farms, a food hub based in Kansas City, have worked together over the last two growing seasons, to pilot a group Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification.
We believe domestic group GAP certification holds great promise for smaller producers entering larger markets (such as through food hubs). Based on the successes of the Good Natured Family Farms pilot, the Wallace Center continues to collaborate with these and other partners along the path toward realizing this goal.
The Wallace Center National Good Food Network, with funding from the Kellogg Foundation, documented the pilot in Kansas City, enumerated the next steps toward wider use of group-based certification, and has collected several relevant resources in its Group Gap Pilot Project Report.
Visit the National Good Food Network site to learn more about our Food Safety efforts: ngfn.org/foodsafety.