GAPs Manual


Good Agricultural Practices for Small Diversified Farms

Tips and Strategies to Reduce Risk and Pass an Audit



Food Safety Videos!

CFSA has launched a series of videos to supplement the “Good Agricultural Practices for Small Diversified Farms: Tips and Strategies to Reduce Risk and Pass an Audit” manual below.

This video series continues to document real-world examples of how small, diversified farms can employ these tips and strategies to meet GAP certification requirements.

Learn more about CFSA’s GAPs one-on-one training and GAPs cost-share!


Download the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Manual (.pdf)

Manual Developed by:

North Carolina State University and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

  • Benjamin Chapman, Ph.D.
  • Audrey Kreske, Ph.D.
  • Roland McReynolds, Esq.

This manual and video series were made possible by a Specialty Crops Block grant awarded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services


About this Manual

Many small-farm operators identify the food safety certification process as a roadblock to getting their fresh produce into food service, institutional, and retail markets. Through a partnership with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, North Carolina State University/North Carolina Cooperative Extension faculty conducted research in 2011 and 2012 to evaluate and quantify the barriers that small-farm operators face in attaining food safety certification.

The aim of this project was to document real-world examples of how small, diversified farms could cost-effectively manage food safety risk, and meet the standards set in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification program. The goal was to see whether it was possible for these types of farms to actually pass a GAP audit, without breaking the bank and without requiring them to change their crop production practices. The intent of this manual is to share tips and strategies learned from this research that other small, diversified produce farms can employ to meet GAP certification requirements imposed by potential buyers.

This manual and research are intended to help you level the playing field when working with a GAP auditor and to give you the tools you need to show an auditor that you have an effective food safety program.

NOTE: To make the most of this document, it is best to have a copy of the USDA GAP audit checklist at hand and watch in conjunction with the videos.
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