Ohio State researchers have been awarded a grant through the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE).
The overall purpose of this grant will be to develop and understand farmers' market managers and vendor food safety perceptions, attitudes, and practices using a systematic approach. This work will focus on direct-to-consumer local food systems to identify food safety practices that can be used to deliver effective, farm-size-specific, education outreach to the growers and farmers' market managers. This information will further inform research into size-specific, scalable Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).
Through interviews, questionnaires, and on-farm audits, the researchers hope to identify current practices being implemented by the small grower. These practices, if found to be valid for assuring food safety on the farm, will be used in GAPs education materials specific for small farmers that are selling at farmers' markets. In addition, research will look into the attitudes and perceptions of these players as they apply to how well they feel practices are working, how much control they feel they have over food safety, and other beliefs that impact the effectiveness of food safety at the direct market level. The hope is to make use of previously undocumented and unverified practices to help guide GAP-related entitites as they struggle to make scale appropriate education and recommendations.