Five Ways BC Blueberries Focuses on Good Agriculture Practices
BC Blueberries reflects on Good Agriculture Practices for Earth Day on April 22nd
April 22nd, 2021 marks the 51st annual Global Earth Day. To celebrate the occasion, the BC Blueberry Council is reflecting on five areas of Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) to help guide growing practices in BC.
Good Agricultural Practices
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) uses Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) as principles to guide on-farm production and post-production processes, resulting in safe and healthy food and non-food agricultural products. These practices also consider economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
GAP focuses on using a whole-farm approach. This requires farmers to cover ALL aspects of food safety of crop and allows them to assess the risks of daily farming practices, minimize those risks, customize a program for their individual farm, and streamline record keeping and traceability requirements. For more info on GAP, read the BC Good Agriculture Practices Guides online.
Five Ways BC Blueberries Focuses on GAP
The BC Blueberry Council guides growing practices by focusing on five areas of GAP. These areas include:
Growers deeply rely on honeybee pollination for a reliable fruit set, so the health of blueberry-pollinating colonies is of utmost importance. The BC Blueberry Council provides resources to help ensure that fields are managed with the health of bees and other pollinators in mind.
- Water Use
To contribute to a healthy field, one can implement proper drainage, raised planting beds, irrigation and sawdust mulch for weed and moisture control. Blueberry growers across the province can remain conscientious of their water use by following the GAP Water Treatment and Water Quality guides. These resources help growers keep their agricultural crops clean and safe.
- Nutrients & Soil
To keep the soil where blueberries are grown nourished and protected, growers follow the GAP Nutrient Use safety rules. When any nutrients are added to the soil, growers must follow strict guidelines to safeguard that the additions do not pose a hazard to food products.
The BC Blueberry Council is continuously exploring possibilities in sustainable packaging, which could be alternatives to plastic clamshells. Many U-Pick farms throughout BC encourage customers to bring their own buckets from home, decreasing the amount of plastic used by farms for customer picking.
- Social Responsibility
The BC Blueberry Council provides resources, workshops and up-to-date research so that growers have all the tools to stay socially responsible. The Council also hopes to continue the move towards improved sustainability in the coming years.
Celebrating the Earth through GAP
The BC Blueberry Council will continue to promote Good Agricultural Practices as a way to help care for the Earth. Join this year’s Earth Day celebration on April 22nd by visiting earthday.org and follow the conversation on social.
To stay in the loop on all things BC Blueberries, follow along at @bcblueberries