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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 13:09 
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Just wanted to pass along that the two-year-old Aquaponics Association held elections again this September. The new executive board is:

Chair: Meg Stout (me, Virginia)
Vice Chair: Adam Cohen of Green Phoenix Farms (Texas)
Secretary: Astrid Hartleb of Greenview Aquaponics (Florida)
Treasurer: Rob Torcellini of Bigelow Brooks Farm (Connecticut)

Our primary focus is proving that food grown in aquaponic systems is safe, to provide the data that will allow GLOBAL G.A.P. and GFSI to certify aquaponic food as safe. This will allow farms to sell to all retailers (most large retailers currently require GLOBAL G.A.P. or GFSI certification). Our current guesstimate is this initial survey will cost $200,000-$500,000 USD, so looking to do some major fundraising. Aquaponic farmers should not have to pay for this out of their personal pockets. Aside from being too much for our small industry, it would be suspect if not performed by independent researchers. The awesome thing is preliminary research indicates we should be able to demonstrate safe food production easily as long as growers adhere to basic good handling practices and good agricultural practices.

A short list of our strategic goals for 2014 are:

• Aquaponic Food Safety Certification
• Educate consumers regarding aquaponics
• Strengthen message about environmental benefits of aquaponics
• Engage members and prospective members in vibrant dialogue

We're also looking for proposals for the 2014 conference location and concept. Our past conferences have been in Florida, Colorado, and Arizona in the US. Since the vast majority of our current membership is in the US, we're probably going to stay there for the near-term future. To that end, we'll be putting out a survey to inform those interesting in proposing to hold the conference in their region what the aquaponics community wants to see/do/experience. I'll also post information on how to submit a proposal here in this thread soon.


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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 14:08 
Meg Stout wrote:
Aquaponic farmers should not have to pay for this out of their personal pockets.

Why not... if they want to develop an industry and/or standards... that benefits themselves

I would have thought that monies collected by the association.. to date, and in the future... would be going to exactly that kind of purpose...

That is after all the primary purpose of the Association... a commercial industry representation...

Are you suggesting that backyarders should fund the research for industry standards.. that have no real relevance to anyone other than those involved in "commercial farming"


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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 14:20 
Meg Stout wrote:
The awesome thing is preliminary research indicates we should be able to demonstrate safe food production easily as long as growers adhere to basic good handling practices and good agricultural practices.

Exactly... HACCP implementation and food safety accreditation guidelines already exist.... :lol:

You just need to get the "farmers" to actually implement and abide by them....

Perhaps the Association should draft minimum best practice guidelines... and offer Association accreditation... to those that endorse them.... perhaps in conjunction with the existing food safety accreditation agencies... :lol:

There really isn't any need for "research"... the guidelines and requirements are already in place.... :lol:

Aquaponics is just a method of food production... it isn't anything different from that... the certifying bodies don't care what the method of production is... as long as the food safety guidelines are followed and met... :lol:


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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 15:12 
Actually.. it kind of "beggars the question"...

Why aren't commercial aquaponic farmers... or those selling food raised by aquaponic means.. to the general public...

Not already aware of, and/or implementing best practice food safety guidelines... as a matter of course...

And why has the Association...as the industry representative body... not made it a priority to endorse the guidelines...

And/or prominently posted them... as a minimum basis for "best practice"... :dontknow:


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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 15:26 
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Congratulations Meg.

I hope you achieve all your goals.

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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 15:40 
Here you go... all the necessary certification requirements.... http://www.globalgap.org/uk_en/what-we-do/globalg.a.p./

Note...

Quote:
So to get certified, producers must comply with all the CPCCs relevant for their sub-scope. For example, a strawberry grower must comply with the All Farm Base CPCCs, the Crops Standard CPCCs and the Fruit & Vegetables CPCCs to receive a GLOBALG.A.P. Fruit & Vegetables Standard Certificate.

As I read the above... that means that any aquaponics operation would be required to abide by all the standards of each and every plant species grown... and by the aquaculutre guidelines... and/or all subsets...


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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 15:50 
The Association could actually persue becoming a GAP accreditation body...

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We rely on independent third-party certification. Our certificates are issued by auditing companies, called certification bodies, who are responsible for inspecting producers, performing assessments and updating our global online database.

These accredited certification bodies finally issue GLOBALG.A.P. certificates to producers who have successfully implemented the GLOBALG.A.P. standard.

We work with more than 142 independent and accredited certification bodies (CBs) to carry out GLOBALG.A.P. Certification worldwide. These CBs conduct both announced and unannounced onsite farm inspections and audits throughout the year.

Certification bodies are accredited by accreditation bodies that have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GLOBALG.A.P.


And become accredited GAP trainers/auditors.... http://www.globalgap.org/uk_en/what-we- ... proved-CB/

There's even a list of fees for various levels of accreditation, auditing and training on site....

A rough bit of maths suggests that the Association could become a certifying body for well less than $2-300,000 ... :lol:


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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 17:10 
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Don't hold back Rup, say what you really think... :)


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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 17:30 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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:laughing3:

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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 19:41 
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Thanks for posting Meg, good luck with the agenda it would be great to have AP produce available at my local grocery store!

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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 20:14 
Aquaponically grown herbs are already in Coles supermarkets here in Australia...


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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '13, 21:42 
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Not in my hometown yet, still work to be done here in the USA.

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