We are leading the development of the updated rules and requirements for livestock producers at the Agricultural Institute of Marin Certified Farmers Markets.
People come to the farmers market to connect with their farmer and ranchers and to learn about how and where their food is grown and raised. Knuckleball Ag is developing an audit and compliance program to ensure transparent marketing, fair competition between producers, and compliance with AIM’s rules and regulations. With the help of Knuckleball Ag, AIM is creating a unique farmers market association, where consumers can rest assured that they are directly supporting ranchers who’s production and sales practices align with the AIM mission, “… a responsible food and farming system that is environmentally beneficial, economically viable, and socially just.”
Steps towards implementing this new system include:
- Working with many different stakeholders to develop livestock rules and requirements, including the AIM Board of Directors, outside groups working on the rules and requirements committee, and AIM farmers and ranchers.
- Improving the livestock producer application process to establish a detailed description of each producer interested in selling at AIM markets.
- Creating a livestock product load list for producers to complete after each market, furthering the transparency of sales practices of each producer.
- Developing the “2/3 rule” – ranchers must raise animals for at least 2/3rds of their life to be considered of that business’s production. If an animal is raised for less than 2/3rds of their life by the seller, it is considered to be raised in partnership with another ranch and must be labeled as such.
- Established a source verification and audit program for the meat and livestock vendors at their Farmers Markets in order to increase the transparency of livestock producers.
This source verification system is based on the Three Pillars of Verification (TM) and can be applied to food system organizations of any scale.