What is CAPS?

Community Accreditation for Produce Safety (CAPS)  helps farmers plan for, adopt, and document best practices that promote produce safety.  Participating farms can choose to earn an annual accreditation from the VVBGA that recognizes them for completing these steps. 

CAPS is a voluntary program available to all VVBGA member farms, coordinated by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension. CAPS content, procedures, and policies are guided by an advisory board of farmers and agricultural service providers.

Feel free to contact Hans Estrin, CAPS coordinator, if you need help with anything!  hestrin@uvm.edu or call 802-380-2109.

2023 CAPS Certification Deadlines (early submission is encouraged!)

March 1- Current CAPS growers review and roll-over their existing plans 

April 1- New CAPS growers submit a draft of their produce safety plans for review, and further revision if needed

June 15 – All CAPS growers revise and finalize their plans if needed, based on scores and comments.  Growers will verify implementation of this plan to earn their CAPS certificate. 

July 15 – All CAPS growers, if applicable, submit their annual water test record and/or employee training verification 

Nov 1-  CAPS farms not needing a 3rd-party audit (i.e. the standard CAPS certificate, on-line) verify implementation of their plans by uploading remaining photos and records (contact hestrin@uvm.edu to finish early)

Additional Certification Deadlines for farms needing 3rd-party Audits CAPS + and CAPS+ LGS 

June 1 – Request a CAPS+ audit with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets

July 15 – In addition to deadlines above, ALL records and requirements for the season must be met.  Farms verify implementation of requirements by uploading remaining photos and records (contact hestrin@uvm.edu to finish early)

July 15 – September 21 – Before your audit, complete a self-audit checklist. The self-audit is required for CAPS+LGS farms and recommended for CAPS+ farms.

July 15 – September 21 – Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) conducts on-farm CAPS+ and CAPS+LGS audits to verify implementation of the farms CAPS Plan.

Learn more