County Loosens Rules to Serve More Locally-Grown Foods

Earlier this year, Verde Valley Agriculture Coalition (VVAgC) was instrumental in helping to update guidance from Yavapai County Community Health Service (YCCHS) regarding sales of locally farmed produce to restaurants and schools. Last week, Sedona Red Rock News published an article highlighting the successful efforts of the VVAgC and the impact this initiative will have on creating an even playing field for small farmers: you can read the full article here.

Prior to 2016, you could only purchase produce from a farmer that was Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified. The challenge is, Arizona doesn’t have enough inspectors to certify that.
— Eric Marcus, Executive Director of SEDI

Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI)

Furthermore, the cost of transporting an inspector to conduct the certification can cost anywhere between $3,000-$30,000. A logistic that created an unforeseen barrier for small farmers to compete with their larger counterparts. Thanks to the efforts of the VVAgC, the GAP-certification requirement has been lifted, allowing small growers the opportunity to source their locally-grown produce to restaurants and schools in their communities. 

You can read/download the new guidlines here.

Photo by Cheryl Zook/National Geographic

Photo by Cheryl Zook/National Geographic

Cultivating a Sustainable "Agricultural Renaissance" in the Verde Valley

The VVAgC has been working hard to provide the leadership and collaborative network to establish and maintain an agricultural system, which significantly contributes to economic vitality, food safety and security, and overall quality of life and community. 

The VVAgC is comprised of those interested in all facets of agriculture in the region. Members represent land owners, growers, producers, and educators as well as public sector organizations and non profits concerned about retaining and enhancing the Verde’s abilities to feed itself with safe, nutritious, locally grown food.