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Smart Food Policy for Small Scale Farmers: Understanding the Critical Factors of Food Traceability

Kleppel, Gary; Gil-Garcia, Jose Ramon
State University of New York - Albany
Start date
End date

Food safety and procurement policies that focus on local producers can prevent foodborne illness outbreaks and are an important component of a healthy food environment. Food safety policies such as the New York (NY) Food Metric require some traceability, meaning the revealing of information and processes of the origin, location, and life history of a product across the supply-chain. However, the costs of participating in a traceability cyber infrastructure could potentially nullify the economic benefits of food safety policy implementation for small farms. Data and technology requirements and capabilities have the potential to marginalize small farms who have restricted capability, time, and resources to collect, record, and share data. In partnership with Professor Gary Kleppel and the Kleppel Lab for Agricultural Ecology and Sustainable Food Production in the Department of Biology at the University at Albany (UAlbany), the Center for Technology in Government, UAlbany proposes to build preliminary data and technology architectures to support the development of the necessary cyber-infrastructure for a whole-chain traceability system that fits with the data capabilities of small farms.

The focus of this research is to design data and technology architectures that fit with the capabilities of small farms. Data collection will include a series of in-depth interviews with selected small farmers and government officials in NY?s Capital District and representatives of UAlbany, which will serve as the institutional buyer. The research team will use qualitative analysis of the interview data to identify the critical factors needed to design appropriate technology and data architectures for small farms. In addition, the results will be used to document the policy, organizational, governance, and technical components needed to enable whole-chain traceability from small farms to institutional buyers.

Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
Project source
View this project
Project number
Policy and Planning
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Food Defense and Integrity