Marty Mesh is an expert in sustainable agriculture. He has dedicated more than 40 years to a more environmentally responsible and socially just form of agriculture.
Marty became committed to organic and sustainable agriculture while a farmworker in 1972 and, in 1976, helped establish Bellevue Gardens Organic Farm in Archer which is still in operation today.
For 25 years, with his hands in the soil, he learned the methods that would later become organic standards. In the meantime, he worked with other farmers to create a certification program to differentiate organic products in the marketplace.
In 1987, Mesh helped form Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG), a nonprofit organization, and, in 1995, became FOG’s Executive Director. The goal was to educate farmers and the public about organic production through their programs and initiatives. Under his leadership, FOG developed Quality Certification Services, a USDA, ISO Guide 65 and ANSI accredited organic certification program.
Through partnerships with organic farmer experts and research and education institutions, Mesh and FOG are able to promote and organize successful farming workshops throughout Florida. Mesh has participated in several research grants and was awarded a grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture to help growers transitioning into organic practices. Mesh has been asked to speak at conferences all around the world on the subjects of organic production, food security, farm and food policy and sustainable agriculture. He is also active in local and state policy and represents FOG on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
Mesh has served on the Board of Directors for many organizations, including multiple terms on the Organic Trade Association and the Accredited Certifiers Association. He was on the Organic Steering Committee for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture and then later on the Campaign Board. He served as a charter board member for the widely-utilized Organic Materials Review Institute. Mesh was also on the steering committee that helped form the Southern Sustainable Agricultural Working Group and served on its board for nine years.
Mesh has been listed by Natural Food Merchandiser as one of the “Top 25 People Who Have Most Influenced the Organic Industry” and was the recipient of the Organic Trade Association’s Growing the Organic Industry award. Mesh was also featured in and co-produced the film What’s Organic About Organic?
Mesh and his wife, documentary filmmaker and professor Shelley Rogers, reside in Gainesville.