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Cultivating the Future Videos and Presentations

Hello Cultivating the Future Participants!

Please see here a page with links to all the Slide Deck Presentations

Please see here a list of all the Cultivating the Future Videos:

Keynote Sessions

Commercial Aquaponics

Community Aquaponics

Aquaponics Research

Aquaponics in STEM Education

General Growing

Public Policy

 

As of November 24, 2020, we have 14 videos completed. We are manually editing the videos for tech issues. We hope to have about 8 per week until they are all uploaded.

These video pages and Presentations are viewable to all guests who received a conference ticket through the Aquaponics Association Website. If you received your ticket through another source, such as Langston University sign-ups, then please email us at [email protected] and we will process you the ticket so you can view these materials.

Cultivating the Future Slide Deck Presentations

Click on a presentation title to open the slide deck presentation:

 

Growing Your Aquaponics Business with Digital Marketing

Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. Aquaponics

Non-Halophyte Brassicaceae Species in Brackish Aquaponics

Evaporative Greenhouse Coolers

Marketing of Small Crop Aquaponic Fish Production

Citizen Science for Panel Discussion in Community Aquaponics Track

Aquaponics Research Advancements at Lethbridge College

Aquaponics in Special Education

Lessons Learned in Five Years of Aquaponics in the Classroom

The nitrogen paradox- moving away from UVI practices

Aquaponics and NGSS in the Elementary Grades

Managing Aphids and Spider mites

 

Internship Opportunities

The Aquaponics Association seeks capable, motivated individuals for remote internships to advance our Mission of connecting aquaponic growers and pushing aquaponics forward!

Aquaponics is growing, and the Aquaponics Association is growing along with it. 2020 is already a big year for the Association as many new initiatives, strategic partnerships and new members are emerging. 

2019 Putting Out Fruits conference at Kentucky State University

The Association is run by a part-time Board. We see the enormous need to grow awareness about our practice and to develop an industry infrastructure that connects growers worldwide — But we need your help!

In order to accomplish the projects and initiatives that support these goals, we seek interns to work in the following areas:

Communications  / Social Media

Creating and disseminating content that empowers people and/or organizations and ignites engagement in aquaponics. Storytelling, visual artistry and movement building skills are highly desired for this position.  Given that interest in aquaponics is growing exponentially, this role has the potential to bring a lot of value to a resume and work experience.  Working with our board where we have existing measures and metrics in place, we can track how the fruits of our labor will grow this movement and the association. This role offers great potential for someone looking to showcase their movement building skills.  The role and responsibilities of this position include:

  • Write blog posts and articles;
  • Coordinate Association publications schedule;
  • Oversee and execute publications and interaction across media including the Aquaponics Association website, Member forum, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and Twitter accounts;
  • Coordinate and create monthly newsletter and membership emails;
  • Other duties and responsibilities that may emerge.

Public Policy

The Public Policy Intern will work with the board to serve as an intermediary between the aquaponics community and the nation’s governing bodies.

2018 Putting Up Shoots conference in Hartford, CT

With the recent Farm Bill going into effect, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has included aquaponics in its vision.  Given this, the Association recognizes the need for advocacy, education and input on policy making.  Therefore, we have elected to create a very special role to assist the board in serving as a researcher and liaison between the policy makers and the Association.  With massive interest and expansion of aquaponics in the U.S., the Association needs help in understanding and communicating where the market potential is and how aquaponics can serve as a sustainable solution.  This role will involve actively researching the current U.S. Food System and how aquaponics can serve as a solution to problems like food security, food sovereignty, climate change, etc. As accurate data and information is obtained, this role will facilitate relationship building within various agencies to help support and expand this emerging green industry.  The roles and responsibilities include:

  • Research and write posts, articles, or reports on agriculture; the U.S. food system; true-cost accounting; and public policies that affect aquaponics;
  • Review the implementation of recently-enacted Farm Bill policies that affect aquaponics, including the establishment of the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production;
  • Represent the views of the aquaponics community to Congress, the USDA, and other relevant entities during the implementation of 2018 Farm Bill Policies;
  • Study true-cost accounting, lifecycle analysis, ecosystem service-valuation, and related fields to compare the costs and benefits of aquaponics compared to other forms of agriculture;
  • Research food safety and other laws and regulations that affect aquaponic growers, assist members navigating laws and regulations
  • Promote USDA and other grant opportunities to the aquaponics community;
  • Other duties and responsibilities that may emerge.

Technology and New Media

The Technology and New Media Intern will work with the board to develop and implement user friendly technology that engages and builds our growing aquaponic community and membership base.  We are seeking to find individuals who can cultivate supportive and empowering virtual environments for learning and discovery to take place.  Part of the Association’s 2019 goals is to generate more video content, teleconferences, webinars and podcasts to bring inspiring stories and helpful information to the public and our membership base.  Given that, we have a need for people to assist us with the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Help create new Member interaction app;
  • Help create new interactive aquaponics resource database;
  • Improve and modernize Association website, membership platform, and communications functions;
  • Create interactive map for Members to post their systems;
  • Edit and distribute digital content, such as conference video;
  • Organize online teleconferences and podcasts;
  • Other duties and responsibilities that may emerge.

Aquaponics Research

The Aquaponics Research Intern will work with the board to keep the Association current on the most advanced aquaponics science around the world. This individual will have a strong desire to translate science to application for the aquaponics community. Candidates can work to build the foundation of an aquaponics research community or journal.  Candidate will identify common issues and trends in aquaponics. This individual would assist us with the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Stay abreast of the latest aquaponics research, disseminate important research to members
  • Assist members in applying the newest research to their growing
  • Summarize the latest news about cutting-edge aquaponics projects
  • Understand and explain aquaponics concepts in water chemistry, fish health, nutrient cycling, filtration, etc.
  • Research and plan for an aquaponics research publication
  • Communicate with researchers and growers to identify research needs

 

Internship Details

The Aquaponics Association is a non-profit entity. All positions are unpaid. All positions will be conducted remotely.

All interested applicants are asked to commit to 10 hours per week, for a minimum of 14 weeks.

The Association will readily work with students to attain school credit for activity, where applicable.

Successful completion of an Internship will earn the individual three years of free Association Membership. It will also earn the team member a free ticket to the next Association Annual Conference.

To apply, please send a resume and brief statement of interest or cover letter to [email protected]

 

 

2021 Aquaponics Association Board Positions

The Aquaponics Association has TWO open Board positions: 1) Treasurer; and 2) General Board Member. Please see descriptions, below.

To Apply, please email a CV or resume and a brief statement of interest to [email protected]

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit, Member-based organization that expands the practice of aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection.

Board Members will consult on and execute activities that further the Association’s Mission, such as:

  • Participating in a Working Group to convene Members and plan / execute activities to advance a specific field within aquaponics: Commercial, Community, STEM Education, or Research;
  • Writing articles, emails, Social Media posts, or Members Area content;
  • Planning and executing the annual conference, monthly webinars, or other activities;
  • Attending external events and representing the Association;
  • Reaching out to new aquaponics audiences, partners, and potential funders;
  • Raising the profile of aquaponics in the media or among policy-makers;
  • Ensure that the Association is in good financial and legal health, and operating according to our bylaws; and
  • Any other activities that can expand the practice of aquaponics and help our Members!

 

Responsibilities of Aquaponics Association Board Members

  • Board Members are expected to devote about 10 hours per month to the Association
    • Attend two 1-hour Board calls / videos per month
    • Be available to spend about 8 additional hours per month on Association activities
  • Board Members are expected to check the Association Members Communication Area at least once per week to check on activity and respond to correspondence
  • Board Members are asked to respond to all email, phone, text, and Member’s Area correspondence relating to Association business within about two business days
  • The Board is subject to a Conflict of Interest Policy (see Bylaws Addendum)
  • Board Members are expected to provide a photograph and brief bio for the Association website “About” page within one month of becoming a Board Member
  • Board Members are expected to fill out their Members Area profile
  • Board terms are three years, though we can consider a 2-year term

Board Privileges

In return for Board Members devoting approximately 10 hours per month toward the Association, Board Members are granted the following privileges:

  • Free General Membership during the years of their service, and for one full year after their service ends. (Or $60 off an Affiliate Membership for these periods)
  • Free ticket to the Annual Aquaponics Association Conference
  • Free access to all Association paid products including online webinars, conference videos, and related materials
  • Board Members are legally protected from liability by the Aquaponics Association’s Directors and Officers Insurance Policy
  • Board Members will be listed with a photograph and short bio on the Association website About page
  • All new Board Members will be mailed a free Association t-shirt

TREASURER DESCRIPTION

  • Develop and Maintain an Annual Association Budget and an Annual Conference Budget
  • Make and collect payments on behalf of the Association
  • Help to develop and execute Association Fundraising Activities
  • Consider the Association’s financial status and the financial impact of potential Association actions and represent this viewpoint on Board decision-making
  • Assist in maintenance of Association bank accounts and payment applications, and manage the Association;s Quickbooks Account
  • Provide very brief monthly report of the Association’s financial status
  • Assist in preparation of financial information for annual tax filing

 

 

Organic Court Case – Aquaponics Statement

We have to work together and raise our voices in collaboration to keep Hydroponics and Aquaponics Organic-Eligible! A Lawsuit against the USDA is attempting to strip Organic eligibility from hydroponics and other “container-based” agriculture which will impact aquaponics growers as well. 

We all know that aquaponics is an environmentally appropriate way to grow food that mimics natural ecosystem. And that the aquatic ecology is very similar to soil ecology, which is the “foundation to the organic standard”.

Plants can grow without soil — they can’t grow without water!

Organic Certification is critical for many commercial growers to meet consumer demand and achieve equitable price points. 

 Statements to the court by interested parties are due this month. Read the statement here, and sign below.

October 19, 2020

Statement from the Aquaponics Association and Undersigned Entities Regarding the Organic Certification of Container-Based Agriculture; Case No 3:20-cv-1537 before the US District Court for the Northern District of California

The Aquaponics Association and undersigned organizations and individuals write to express our opposition to the lawsuit Case No 3:20-cv-1537 regarding the Organic Certification of “hydroponic operations, which are production systems that grow food and crops without any soil.”

Aquaponics is a food production method integrating fish and plants in a recirculating system. This symbiotic relationship mimics the biological cycles found in nature. Aquaponics has been used as a farming technique for thousands of years and is now seeing large-scale viability to feed a growing global population with fresh produce and efficient fish protein.

Benefits of aquaponics include dramatically less water use; minimal agriculture discharge to air, water, and soil; and the ability to grow food in locations where soil is non-existent on urban rooftops, city centers, concrete, sand to arid deserts.

Aquaponic systems include a hydroponic component in which plants are grown. If this lawsuit is successful, many aquaponic growers will likely lose their organic certification that is critical to their economic success.

Aquaponics Fits the Organic Mission
The Organic label is about empowering consumers to identify products that match their values. Consumers do not prefer organic because it is grown in soil; they prefer it because it is chemical-free, environmentally sustainable, and relies on natural ecosystems for plant growth.

Aquaponic produce aligns with what the consumer expects when they purchase “Organic”

“Organic” is perceived by consumers to mean:

Production without synthetic chemicals
Many aquaponic farms operate with only OMRI-certified materials and follow NOP guidelines.

Production that fosters the cycling of resources, ecological balance, and biodiversity conservation
Aquaponics is an ecosystems in which reduces natural resource consumption, and produces zero waste. Aquaponics has also proven that it can produce more food than soil culture per area, thus saving more of the natural soil environment for crops that can perform better in field crop production such as corn, soy, wheat, and many vining crops. And, aquaponics produces the most efficient animal protein: fish.

Production that relies on biological ecosystems to support plant health
Aquaponic systems rely on a robust microflora in the root zone—made of the same types and numbers of bacteria and fungi that thrive in soil. This flora converts nutrients into forms available to plants and maintains plant health by reinforcing naturally-occurring mechanisms of disease resistance—just as in a healthy soil. (see the Aquaponic Soil Food Web Report)

Production that responds to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices
Consumers expect that organic produce has been grown with a healthy human element, where local customs, expertise, and ingenuity can overcome droughts, concrete jungles, and climate changes. Aquaponics allows environmentally-sensitive agriculture where growing in soil isn’t possible. And, controlled environment growing offers the possibility of local food year-round.

This lawsuit, if successfully, would prevent entire regions of the country from the benefits of the organic label to their farmers.

In an era of climate change, resource depletion, and rapid population growth, the organic price premium is a critical incentive to draw more growers into aquaponics. If this lawsuit succeeds, the aquaponics industry will not grow as quickly and our environment, health, and economy will suffer.

Aquaponics is in no way intending to out compete soil growers. Instead aquaponics is part of the wholistic solution for feeding a growing population in places that traditional organic soil growers would not otherwise choose to or be able to grow. 

On behalf of the Aquaponics Association, and undersigned organizations

contact: Brian Filipowich
[email protected]

Sunday Cultivating the Future Agenda

Check out the Agenda for Sunday, October 18 of The 2020 Aquaponics Conference, Cultivating the Future. On Sunday, Yemi Amu from Oko Farms in Brooklyn, NY will discuss aquaponics, food justice, and environmental stewardship!

See the Full Agenda: PDF Agenda, Sunday October 18, Cultivating the Future

Early Bird Tickets Ending October 2, Save $100!!!

Learn More: $149 Early Bird Ticket w/o Membership

Learn More: $199 Early Bird Ticket with Membership — Save 20% of Membership!

Full Program with presentation descriptions and speaker bios will be published October 9. Agenda subject to minor changes.

Did you know that teachers and community-growers are eligible for super-discounted tickets! Learn more about the STEM & Community Discount!!!

Learn more: https://aquaponicsassociation.org/stem-community-discount-tickets-2020-aquaponics-conference/

On Sunday, Amy Falcone from Bella Vita Farm will discuss their story of a successful startup, and then the challenges navigating through the pandemic.

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Saturday Cultivating the Future Agenda

Check out the Agenda for Saturday, October 17 of The 2020 Aquaponics Conference, Cultivating the Future. Ed “Aqua-Eddie” Tivnan will be discussing his revolutionary Living Curriculum with Aquaponics!

See the Full Agenda: PDF Agenda, Saturday October 17, Cultivating the Future

Early Bird Tickets Ending October 2, Save $100!!!

Learn More: $149 Early Bird Ticket w/o Membership

Learn More: $199 Early Bird Ticket with Membership — Save 20% off Membership!

Full Program with presentation descriptions and speaker bios will be published October 9. Agenda subject to minor changes.

Did you know that teachers and community-growers are eligible for super-discounted tickets! Learn more about the STEM & Community Discount!!!

Learn more: https://aquaponicsassociation.org/stem-community-discount-tickets-2020-aquaponics-conference/

 

 

Friday Cultivating the Future Agenda

 

Check out the Agenda for Friday, October 16 of The 2020 Aquaponics Conference, Cultivating the Future. On Friday, Liz and Georgie of Herring Gut Learning Center will be discussing Aquaponics in STEAM Education!

See the Full Agenda: PDF Agenda, Friday October 16, Cultivating the Future

Early Bird Tickets Ending October 2, Save $100!!!

Learn More: $149 Early Bird Ticket w/o Membership

Learn More: $199 Early Bird Ticket with Membership — Save 20% off Membership!

Full Program with presentation descriptions and speaker bios will be published October 9. Agenda subject to minor changes.

Did you know that teachers and community-growers are eligible for super-discounted tickets! Learn more about the STEM & Community Discount!!!

Learn more: https://aquaponicsassociation.org/stem-community-discount-tickets-2020-aquaponics-conference/

 

On Friday, Dr. George Brooks will discuss the Aquaponics Victory Garden!

STEM / Community Discount Tickets; 2020 Aquaponics Conference

The Aquaponics Association is a non-profit Member-based organization expanding the practice of aquaponics through education, advocacy, and outreach.

To fulfill our goal of expanding aquaponics, we ensure that all communities and practitioners have access to affordable conference tickets and Memberships.

Until October 2 OR While Supplies Last:

Early Bird STEM / Community Discount Tickets are only $79 through October 2 for the entire three-day 2020 Aquaponics Conference, “Cultivating the Future”, by the Aquaponics Association!

AND Discount Tickets can be bundled with an annual Aquaponics Association Membership or STEM Education Membership for only $99!!

Teachers can bundle their ticket with our new STEM Membership that includes new special teacher benefits!

The following individuals are eligible for the STEM / Community Discount Ticket:

  • K-12 Teachers — Includes TWO FREE Student Tickets!
  • Home Growers
  • Small farms with less than 10 employees
  • Small-businesses with less than 10 employees

DIRECTIONS

Please fill out form, below.

We will email you within 4 days with a link to purchase page and a code for purchase. At this point you will have the option for a ticket only, or a ticket-Membership bundle; and the option of a General Membership or STEM Education Membership.

Shortly thereafter, you will receive an event invitation email from the Run The World virtual event platform. Follow the instructions, create a free sign in, and you are ready to go on October 16!!


CONTACT:

Brian Filipowich; [email protected]

2020 Conference Speaker Information

Here are Important Resources you may use to give you information and help you navigate speaking at the Conference:

  • The 2020 Aquaponics Conference Promotion website: https://aquaponicsconference.org/
  • Run The World Virtual Conference Platform (where conference will take place): https://www.runtheworld.today/app/invitation/6000
  • Here is a PDF Document Guide on how to be a Speaker on the Run The World virtual event platform: 2020 Aquaponics Conference Speaker Guide
  • Here is a 4-minute YouTube Run The World Speaker Tutorial: 2020 Aquaponics Conference Video Speaker Guide
  • PLEASE SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE for instructions on using Pre-Recorded Video, if you choose to.

Here is Important Information about presenting at the Conference:

  • All Conference Speakers are granted one ticket for the full day of their session. Your login will work for all three days. If you would like to view content outside of your presentation day, and it is within your budget, then you are encouraged to purchase a 2020 Conference Speaker Supplemental Ticket for $49. If your budget is tight, don’t sweat it!
  • You either already have, or will soon receive an email from Run The World with your Conference Login invitation. Please check your email for “Run the world speaker”. Please follow the link and let us know if you have any issues.

Instructions for Using Pre-Recorded Video

There are a few options available to use pre-recorded video for your sessions. The method described below is our recommended method:

  • STEP 1: Record Your Video
    • Record a video in any method you like in any common video file format. You may use Zoom, a smart phone camera, a computer camera, or many other commonly available apps and devices.
    • If you plan to use slides in your presentation, we recommend using Zoom.
  • STEP 2: Send Us Your Video by Monday Night, October 12
    • You may send us your video file in any method you choose such as email, dropbox, google drive, etc
    • You may also use this easy free file transfer app: https://wetransfer.com/
  • STEP 3: Videos on Youtube
    • The Association will upload all videos to our Youtube Account
    • We will provide you a link to your video
  • STEP 4: Share Your Video at Your Session!
    • Your Session is ALREADY CREATED and OPEN. Enter and look around by clicking the prominent Enter as Speaker button. 
    • In the lower left of the Run The World Speaker Screen is a Screen Share Button. 
    • Click “Share video via link” and paste the link we provided you into the space ***SEE PIC BELOW
    • The video will appear in your presentation screen, and you can start, pause, and control the video from within your session. You can also continue speaking to guests, or remain silent if the video has audio.
    • Once the video ends, you can transition right into Q&A within the same session
    • (If you are not available during the time of your session, just let us know! An Association Board Member will introduce the video and play it for you.)

 

Food Safety un-Scrambled

Food Safety un-Scrambled; Aquaponic Guide to Food Safety and Organics

Aquaponic, Hydroponic and Aquaculture farms can and do earn food safety and organic certifications.

By:  Juli Ogden, The Farm Plan President,  Farmer and GLOBALG.A.P. Farm Assurer

The Farm Plan is an Affiliate Member of the Aquaponics Association

(Juli will be presenting at The 2020 Aquaponics Conference October 16-18, learn more: 2020 Conference Website.)

 

Let’s Start with Food Safety’s Bottom Line

The bottom-line in food safety is to stop cross contamination between animals, water, manure, people and materials.  

When cross contamination happens, people become ill.  Children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are commonly affected first.  Sometimes people die. 

More than 20 years ago, in response to a number of deaths, German retailers began asking for proof that crops were safely grown.  This movement spread across Germany and then Europe, eventually circling the earth. 

Today, in order to sell their crops to large buyers, farms around the world need a food safety certificate. The largest farm certification program is GLOBALG.A.P. but the rules are written in highly technical language with zero instructions.  Food safety documentation and certification is an over-whelming burden for already overworked farms. 

The important step is to prove you grow safe and healthy food.  Most farms are much closer to ready than they think!  They have some cleanup, organization, and worker training to do.  Many chemical storage areas need basic improvements.  With the right guidance, it all becomes clear.

OVERVIEW

When the Aquaponic Association invited me to create a comparison of food safety certification options for aquaponic farms; it sounded pretty simple.  You have probably had similar ‘less than realistic’ thoughts.  This topic is an entangled mass of programs with no clear direction. Once you read each program’s overview, I will offer supporting facts and personal experiences. 

Most farms harbor some fear about food safety audits.  For aquaponic farms this is emphasized.  Your industry is a ‘teenager’.  Your fears are increased by the very factor that makes your farming model  so efficient. Your grow large crops in a small footprint, even inside industrial buildings, use limited amounts of water and greenhouse crops are protected from most animal and bird contamination.

So many positives.  So why is it scary?  It’s the public’s perception of fertilizing crops with live fish.  Information is often the best solution to fear. 

Know that the fish component of your farm is easily dealt with in certification.  Fish waste is not treated as manure.  According to a letter received from a large organic certifier, “The NOP (National Organic Program) Standards specifically exclude all aquatic animals from the definition of livestock and since the definition of manure only pertains to material produced by livestock, fish waste, as produced in an aquaponic system is not determined to be raw manure and there are no pre-harvest interval requirements.”   

That was a bit hard to read, but effectively, is says that fish poop is not ‘manure’!  Manure is the basis for many rules in both food safety and organics.  I have this documented.

Farmers around the world are uncomfortable and downright angry with food safety’s increased regulation, extra work, and extra expense.  It feels unreasonable when crop quality is how the farm survives.  Why should a farmer report how much water they use when farming is much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears?  Water use must be “just right” for a quality crop. That is not the only regulation that’s frustrating.  Many of those rules were designed for farms in less developed regions, but they still apply to every farm worldwide program.

Buyers are educated in safe food. They demand it.  Large retailers and crop brokers demand a food safety certificate from processors who demand it from farms.  If that has not yet reached your farm, believe me, it will. 

So how do you meet all the rules and stay in business?  How do you know what is required, what your choices are, and what will work best for your situation?  I can tell you what I did to cover my cherry orchard when it became required in 2012, and how I’ve moved forward. 

First, let’s review program options.

NATIONAL  ORGANIC  PROGRAM  (NOP) 

Organic certification is a choice that may increase your profit line.  It is not a food safety program, but many required steps are duplicated in food safety.  When following a food safety and organic program “do it once and use it twice” is an honest win for all.

The National Organic Program certifies crops grown with no prohibited substances such as most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Organic crops offer consumer health benefits and often sell for higher prices than conventional crops. An annual audit is required.  Organic farming on aquaponic farms is quite simple. Use only pre-approved materials and additives, keep good records, maximize biological activity and other techniques to manage weeds, insects and diseases.

FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT (FSMA) 

FSMA is the only legally required food safety program that applies to certain crops grown in or imported to the U.S.  Crops eaten raw that do not go through a processing “kill step” such as cooking are covered by this rule.  The list of covered crops is long.  Crops which do go through a “kill step” are not required to follow the FSMA. 

  1. The first rule to recognize is that at least one person per farm must have earned a “Produce Safety Alliance” certificate and act as the trainer for the farm’s workers.    This is the total of all crops, human, and animal feed – not just “ready to eat” crop income.
  2. Farms” required to meet the rule include may grow, handle, process and/or store crops.
  3. Crops typically eaten raw, such as cherries, but sold 100% to a processor using a “kill step” (cooking, for instance) may become FSMA exempt.
  4. Water testing rules, as defined by FSMA, are under challenge from the farming industry and are “on hold for further review”. (Food safety certification also requires water testing.)
  5. A.P. certified farms may be less likely to be FSMA inspected.
  6. Farms with 3 year averaged annual income under $25,000, are FSMA exempt.
  7. Every farm has a “trainer” who attended a FSMA training course. They are responsible for on-farm FSMA training.

 

FOOD SAFETY CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

You many notice food safety program names tend to end in G.A.P.  This is the acronym for Good Agricultural Practices.  The alphabetical program list that follows is really where your choices begin.  You will choose ONE food safety program. 

CANADAGAP is a well-accepted Canadian food safety program. There is annual fee, but commonly only a 4-year audit cycle.  Aquaponic farmers were at a loss over CanadaGAP’s 2019 decision to not certify aquaponic farms as of 2020Canadian farmers can jump this hurdle by certifying under GLOBALG.A.P. IFA.

  • GLOBALA.P. is the most widely accepted, GFSI approved food safety certification program in the world, with more than with more than two-hundred thousand certifications in 135 countries. GLOBALG.A.P. certified farms take very few extra steps to meet FSMA rules.  Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) is the most often required, top level food safety certification for aquaculture, fruit and vegetable farms and covers growing, harvesting, and handling (washing, sorting, packing, storing, etc.).  GLOBALG.A.P. certified sites meet the universal food safety standards endorsed and accepted by the largest retailers worldwide.  An annual audit required.
  • PRIMUS-GFS is a well-respected GFSI approved food safety certification program. Primus GFS certified sites meet the universal food safety standards endorsed and is accepted by the largest retailers worldwide. They have something over twenty-thousand current certifications.  An annual audit required.
  • SQF is a GFSI approved food safety certification program that offers certification to confirm an organization produces, processes, prepares and handles food products to the highest possible standards globally. Emphasis seems to be placed on certifying large processing facilities.   This author is not aware of any aquaponic farms certified under this food safety standard but it does appear to be possible.  An annual audit required.
  • USDA GAP HARMONIZED standard is approved and accepted by many retailers who require a GFSI certified standard. Audits are performed in (at least) the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.  Aquaponics may only certify under the Harmonized Program. An annual audit required.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS SOMETIMES REQUIRED BY CROP BUYERS

  • SOP – STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES are written performance guides for each farm and facility process. SOP’S are a requirement for organic certification and some large crop buyers. Audits may or may not be required by the crop buyer.
  • HACCP – HAZARD ANALYSIS AND CRITICAL CONTROL POINTS “pinpoints” each farm process with a high food safety risk, performs an analysis of the risk and creates a management plan to ensure the problem does not happen. This is required by some crop buyers in addition to FSMA, GLOBALA.P. and /or National Organic Program Certification.
  • GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICES are similar to the SOP and HACCP above. It ensures products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards by minimizing risks.  This program often goes hand-in-hand with HACCP. Audits may or may not be required by your buyer.

IN MY EXPERIENCE

In 2012 I was required to GLOBALG.A.P certify my cherry crop. Those regulations did not include a single instruction.  How is a busy farmer, already wearing a dozen hats, supposed to get this job done with no guidance?. I outlined all 325 pages of complicated, overly academic regulation, page by page and the result was a rough food safety program.  My packhouse field man saw what I had done and had me to help the rest of his growers.  The gratitude for that training paved my path into food safety support.

Meeting the rules of food safety is not that hard when you know what they are.  The top points are to:

  • Protect your crop from cross contamination.
  • Protect your workers and the environment
  • Keep the farm clean and organized.
  • Keep track of certain jobs.
  • Answer it, now prove it is my mantra when setting up food safety.

By:  Juli Ogden, The Farm Plan President,  Farmer and GLOBALG.A.P. Farm Assurer

In an industry known for its complexity Juli is pioneering a way of doing things that is within reach of every farmer, no matter how small or how large. (BM)

On and off the farm with Juli Ogden:  Juli is happily married, still works on her farm but focuses on food safety consulting and public presentation.  She was a professional real estate expert, author and radio show host for Business Talk Radio and Lifestyle Talk Radio.  At the age of 32, Juli was named Washington State Small Businesswoman of the Year.  Juli is an industry acknowledged food safety expert and public speaker.

Do you want to support Aquaponics?

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that cultivates aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership