Congratulations to vendors Robert and Maria Carlin of d’Vine Wines and Maria’s Garden for their MAEAP verification for Carlin Farms!
The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is a farmer voluntary Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development supported program that has the goal of verifying Michigan Farms are being managed in an environmentally sustainable way. The farm management is evaluated by whether or not the farm is adhering to the Generally Approved Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMP) that are set by their Land Grant University, Michigan State University. The verification is accomplished by an audit process that starts with education of the landowner about the program goals through meetings with the MAEAP technician from their specific Conservation District which is based on the County the farm is in. After all aspects that impact the environment and the production of food have been addressed in a pre-audit by Conservation District technicians, the Verification Audit is held by MDARD verifiers. Once a farm is verified, an award and signage is given to the farmer to display that the farm is an environmentally sustainable operation. That food or commodity is being produced in a safe and sustainable way.
“So why is this program important to the Flint Farmers Market?” said Robert Carlin “Today our customers are sensitive to the quality of their food. People are concerned about our environment as well. Constantly I am asked by customers at market how produce is being raised. Questions like, do you apply pesticides? How are pesticides applied? Is the produce being sold GMO’s? Do I store produce once harvested in clean storage? Why does Organic food cost so much? Is conventionally raised produce considered more healthy than organically certified? MAEAP stresses sustainability not whether organic outweighs conventional production. MAEAP is one of the farmers tool to get the good news of food production out to the customer and the public. The sign displayed at the farm drive or on the market bench tells the customer that food is being produced according to accepted standards”
For more information on the benefits of MAEAP go to www.maeap.org. For more information on becoming a MAEAP verified farm contact the Genesee Conservation District at firstname.lastname@example.org.