GAP stands for Good Agricultural Practices which are a set of guidelines to standardize and monitor processes from growing, harvesting, handling and processing food. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) there are audits that can be done to oversee these processes, however these audits are not required for urban farmers selling to farmers markets. One specific area of interest to farmers would be the Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables as published by the USDA. This Guide focuses on 8 basic principles;
➢ Principle 1. Prevention of microbial contamination of fresh produce is favored over reliance on
corrective actions once contamination has occurred.
➢ Principle 2. To minimize microbial food safety hazards in fresh produce, growers, packers, or
shippers should use good agricultural and management practices in those areas over which they
➢ Principle 3. Fresh produce can become microbiologically contaminated at any point along the
farm-to-table food chain. The major source of microbial contamination with fresh produce is
associated with human or animal feces.
➢ Principle 4. Whenever water comes in contact with produce, its source and quality dictates the
potential for contamination. Minimize the potential of microbial contamination from water used
with fresh fruits and vegetables.
➢ Principle 5. Practices using animal manure or municipal biosolid wastes should be managed
closely to minimize the potential for microbial contamination of fresh produce.
➢ Principle 6. Worker hygiene and sanitation practices during production, harvesting, sorting,
packing, and transport play a critical role in minimizing the potential for microbial contamination
of fresh produce.
➢ Principle 7. Follow all applicable local, state, and Federal laws and regulations, or corresponding
or similar laws, regulations, or standards for operators outside the U.S., for agricultural practices.
➢ Principle 8. Accountability at all levels of the agricultural environment (farm, packing facility,
distribution center, and transport operation) is important to a successful food safety program.
There must be qualified personnel and effective monitoring to ensure that all elements of the
program function correctly and to help track produce back through the distribution channels to the producer.
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- Contact City of Milwaukee Department of City Development, Yves LaPierre (414) 286-5762 for vacant lot information and to apply for a 3 year vacant lot lease.
- Apply for a seasonal garden plot permit by contacting Groundwork Milwaukee (414) 763-9947 .
· Select a location on the lot for your garden based on sun exposure and grade.
· Prepare your garden spot by constructing a raised garden box that will hold at least 12 inches of improved soil. You will have to bring in garden topsoil.
· Lay a barrier cloth such as landscape fabric under the raised bed structure prior to putting in the soil.
· Generally, water will not be available on a vacant lot. You can transport your own water, or contact the city for information on connecting water to the vacant lot, or you can contact Groundwork Milwaukee (414)763-9947 to apply for a fire hydrant permit.
· There are many great resources to help plan your garden, and provide answers to questions that may arise. Here are a few;
o UW Extension Publications
o Victory Garden Initiative
o Groundwork Milwaukee
o Alice’s Garden
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