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Achieving FSMA Compliance through USDA Harmonized GAP - Preparing the Four Corners Region's Diverse Farmers for Food Safety Certification


Project Goals:Achievement of USDA Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification is a major barrier to entry for growers in the Four Corners Region who are trying to access wholesale markets. At the same time, understanding and complying with the federal food safety regulations mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) creates another formidable challenge for growers, especially small-scale and limited-resource producers. Because farms of different sizes have different timelines and requirements for FSMA compliance, many growers struggle to access relevant guidance and appropriate food safety technical assistance.The above two challenges share a common solution, however, which forms the basis for this project's main objective - namely, that growers can achieve FSMA compliance through USDA Harmonized GAP certification. As the first USDA standard to be aligned with the requirements of FSMA, Harmonized GAP certification provides growers a means to demonstrate their compliance with FSMA's Produce Safety Rule.Project Objectives:1. Increase capacity for food safety outreach and training throughout the Four Corners Region by adding four food safety trainers to La Montañita's network of service providers, delivering 10 Tier I/II training programs to at least 120 participating producers (including Spanish Speaking growers), as well as 30 Tier III consultations;2. Increase the number of USDA Harmonized GAP-certified and FSMA Produce Safety Rule-compliant farmers participating in the program from 16 to 60;3. Increase sales through wholesale channels by at least $150,000 for participating growers and increase access to locally-grown fruits and vegetables in both rural and urban areas by accessing at least 30 new wholesale accounts;4. Make this cohort of service providers self-sustaining through increased grower participation in the Four Corners Region GroupGAP Network, providing a replicable model for increasing market access and regulatory compliance through this "tiered" training continuum and USDA Harmonized GAP certification.

Bartley, Benjamin
La Montanita Food Cooperative, Inc
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