The Georgia Food Code allows fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to be obtained from local sources. Farmers in Georgia are not required to have certiﬁcations to sell fresh produce to schools, but it is always recommended to become familiar with the farmer's agricultural and food safety practices. Although Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) are not required by law, produce should be purchased from farmers who practice or have been certified in GAPs and GHPs.
Just as produce obtained from local sources can be served in school cafeterias, so too can produce obtained from school gardens. Of course, while serving freshly grown produce from the school garden is allowed, GAPs and GHPs must be followed to help ensure the safety of the product.
For additional information regarding food safety, contact our Food Safety Specialist:
Ellen Steinberg, PhD, RD, LD at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information from the United States Department of Agriculture related to on-farm food safety, Good Agricultural Practices, Good Handling Practices, and other topics that need to be considered when implementing Farm to School Activities, please visit the following link: https://www.fns.usda.gov/cfs/implementing-farm-school-activities-food-safety
For more information on produce safety, including best practices for receiving, storing, handling, and purchasing fresh and fresh-cut produce please visit the following link from the Institute of Child Nutrition: https://theicn.org/icn-resources-a-z/produce-safety
When purchasing food from local farms, the food safety regulations vary by the type of food product. The information in the GA Department of Education's Food Safety Regulations for Farm to School Procurement is a brief description of the food safety regulations that apply to Georgia farmers.