This paper shares the challenges that small, socially disadvantaged Alabama vegetable and fruit producers in Alabama faced and overcame to secure their USDA Produce Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) food safety certification. The commercial buyers, collaborating with the Small Farmers Agricultural Cooperative (SFAC) producers, required the producers to be certified. This certification was based on the regulated security standards for food safety, the Harmonized Food Safety Standards with the Global Addendum (Global Markets Primary Production Assessments). This venture entailed the integrated resource approach, which comprised experts from Tuskegee University (Extension and Research staff) working closely with SFAC producers. Additional support and experiential guidance was provided by other collaborating partners: Walmart, Lipman Produce, WP Rawls, Pura Vida, C.H. Robinson, Federal and State Auditors, and the USDA (Strike Force Initiative). The collaborative efforts led to the producers successfully obtaining their GAP certification and fulfilling their contractual agreement obligations, despite the unexpected challenges.
Keywords: Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, GAP Certification, Integrated Resource Approach
Wall, Gertrude; Hill, Walter A.; Hargrove, Tasha M.; Vaughan, Barrett; Quarcoo, Franklin; and Robinson, Miles D.
"The Challenges of Developing a Successful Cooperative through an Integrated Resource Approach: Small Farmer-Tuskegee University-Walmart Project,"
Professional Agricultural Workers Journal:
Available at: http://tuspubs.tuskegee.edu/pawj/vol4/iss2/3