Understanding Perceptions of Fresh Produce Safety and Barriers to Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) Use Among Amish Growers in the Holmes County Settlement of Ohio
Keywords:Food Safety, Amish, Plain Communities, Fresh Produce, Small-scale Farms, Underserved Groups
AbstractAddressing the complex problem of ensuring on-farm produce safety entails processes that allow for participation of affected groups, and integration of their knowledge and perceptions into the solutions. Such participatory processes, however, are difficult to develop among underserved groups, like the Amish communities of Ohio, where members seek deliberate separation from mainstream society and have insular social networks and limited trust in government agents. Using a mental models framework, we present research findings that will be used to help develop an outreach program to address produce safety in Amish communities in Ohio. These findings expand our understandings of Amish growers' perceptions and knowledge of on-farm produce safety practices in the following areas: the microbial risks to fresh and fresh-cut produce; practices that can prevent contamination; perceptions of the economic feasibility of adopting these practices; preparedness for a contamination event; and information needs and preferences. Information was collected to aid the development of outreach that respects the values and goals of the Amish produce growers, which is a key factor for program success, and that encourages the adoption of food safety principles in scale-appropriate ways by addressing barriers and building rapport and trust with community members. We believe that the information learned in this study is useful to a variety of people working with Plain Communities and other non-mechanized, small-scale farmers in addition to these communities.
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