Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) is an audit certification program created by the USDA and is based on guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration. GAP certification has increasingly become a requirement for retailers, making it difficult for small farmers to be able to sell their goods because of the rigor and cost required of traditional GAP certification.
GroupGAP is a new USDA food safety certification option that will increase opportunities for smaller farms to supply GAP-certified produce. This robust certification process addresses many challenges that small farms face in complying with food safety audits, and meets the demands of the retail, food service, and institutional buying community. GroupGAP makes food safety certification accessible for small and middle-sized producers by allowing farmers, food hubs, and other marketing organizations to work together to undergo GAP certification as a group. The program will build a network of farms that share safety, quality standards, and training with the goals of accessing new markets, diversifying revenue streams and increasing production and profitability.
North Shore EVP is the first organization in Hawaii to offer a Group GAP program. We are initially focused on increasing the production capacity of small to medium farms in the North Shore region of Oahu by providing subsidized Group GAP training and certification. North Shore EVP acts as the data repository for all of the participating specialty crop farms. It assists specialty crop farmers in the development of individual farm safety plans, provides food safety training, and conducts farm inspections two times per year at each farm. Through networking, collaboration and partnership we aim to increase the capacity for food production in the region and deliver those products to consumers across Oahu and beyond.
North Shore EVP is now accepting applications for the 2019 GroupGAP cohort. We look forward to meeting farmers interested in joining our third cohort, and are seeking farmers who:
- Are dedicated to quality and food safety
- Desire to increase production and sales
- Want to reduce post-harvest costs and workload
- Are interested in becoming part of a network of farms
- Seek access to larger markets and more regular sales
If you are a farmer who is interested in learning more about the North Shore EVP Group GAP program, please submit our Contact Form, or send an email with your questions, comments, and contact information to email@example.com. A sample of the GroupGAP Farmer Application can be found by following this link: GroupGAP Farmer Application