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The Farm Bill was in the hot seat in Washington, DC this week.
On Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a five-year farm bill that would cut spending while also creating new subsidies for farmers.
- The bill eliminates $5 billion in the direct payments to direct payments to farmers and farmland owners, who have traditionally been paid whether they grow crops or not.
- The cut in payment would reduce the deficit and also create new programs and raise subsidies for the needed sector. These programs allow farmers to receive subsidies if price fall below a certain threshold.
- The bills also increase federally subsidized crop insurance and create a new program that covers smaller losses on planted crops before crop insurance kicks in.
- The Senate bill would cut $400 million out of almost $80 billion spent annually on food stamps, which known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It would rewrite the policy in some states that allows some people who already receive benefits to automatically receive food stamps.
- The bill creates risk management tools that support farmers when they are negatively impacted by weather disaster or market events beyond their control.
On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee voted to approve a $940 billion farm bill, setting the stage for Congress to finally begin work on a new five-year bill.
The House bill cuts projected spending in farm and nutrition programs by nearly $40 billion over the next 10 years. Among it, $20.5 million would come from the cuts to the SNAP, commonly known as food stamp.
The House bill would also eliminate direct payment to farmers and subsidize programs including crop insurance and new subsidies for peanut, cotton and rice farmers.
The Senate will take up the Farm Bill again this coming Monday. Stay tuned for more news!
The Sunshine Inn, which is owned and managed by the Alachua Housing Authority, is the location of one of the Veteran’s Affairs Department’s contract residential programs that provides transitional housing and case management to homeless veterans. Florida Organic Growers will be providing gardening instruction and building raised garden beds at the Sunshine Inn on April 9th, 2013 with the help of the veterans who reside there. We are proud to participate in helping the veterans become more self-sufficient.
FOG will team up with veteran residents to install and plant the garden followed by a BBQ at 12:00 p.m. and work party event at 2:00 p.m.
While the Sunshine Inn residents remain in transitional housing they have taken it upon themselves to volunteer locally and contribute to the sustainable health of their community. The Veterans sought donations from local businesses and community professionals in order to make their dream garden project come alive. It is FOG’s great honor to award their initiatives by assisting with garden construction, planting, and maintenance.
The veterans at the Sunshine Inn have expressed a strong interest in beautifying the property which is located at 4155 NW 13 Street here in Gainesville. They would like to “honor those who have honored us” by improving the grounds. The veterans also wish to install a flag pole to display the American Flag, the State of Florida flag and a flag to remember the prisoners of war. The veterans have come up with a wish list that you will find below. It is our hope that you may find it in your heart to help the veterans accomplish these goals by donating any items on the list.
If you are able to donate any of the items on the list or have any questions regarding the beautification project at The Sunshine Inn, you may call: 352.376.1611 EXT. 5692
Veterans Wish List for the Sunshine Inn
Grounds Beautification Project
- American Flag, Florida Flag and POW flag
- Flag pole and installation
- Three gardening hoses
- Three hose nozzles
- Covered composting bin
- Privacy fencing
- Picnic table
- Barbeque grill (like those at state parks) that can be cemented into ground
- Small hand shovels
- Organic fertilizer
- Grapefruit, tangerine, persimmon, or fig trees.
- Two benches
- 2 or 3 Standing sprinklers
- Wheel barrel
- Potted flowers or potted edible herbs
- Solar grounds lighting
- Two Watering cans
- Bike rack that will fit in 61”x 112” covered enclosure
- Two outdoor benches
Florida Organic Growers (FOG) is partnering with Gateway Organic Farm to offer a Free Urban Organic Farming Workshop in Clearwater, Florida. The event will take place on April 29th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Farmers Pamela and Hank Sindlinger, with the assistance of Dr. Robert Kluson from the Sarasota County Extension, will lead this workshop at Gateway Organic Farm. Additionally, Florida Organic Growers’ Executive Director Marty Mesh and FOG outreach staff will provide information and insights throughout the workshop. Participants will also have the chance to hear from long time organic inspector, consultant, and founder of Sweetwater Community Farm, Rick Martinez. The workshop will provide practical information and advice about urban organic farming such as soil and weed management, equipment for small farms, building hoophouses, marketing, organic certification, and the unique challenges an urban farm faces. The workshop is designed for current and prospective farmers, as well as service providers who are interested in learning and sharing about organic farming in urban settings. Please see registration information below.
Gateway Organic Farm, a three acre farm, is located in Pinellas County, the most densely populated county in the state. The farm was born back in 2003 when the Sindlingers were looking for a place to retire. They settled for this long strip of land where a nursery and landscape business operated. They have transformed this place into one of the most successful urban organic farms in Florida. They produce organic vegetables, herbs and fruits by maximizing the use of every inch of space. Currently they market their high quality produce through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that grew out only by the word of mouth, and by selling to a number of restaurants in the area.
The Sindlingers commitment to the environment has led them to practice permaculture principles in their farming to create a diverse, resilient agroecosystem. The farm became certified organic in 2010. Additionally, the farmers are heavily involved in many community development projects. One of such projects allow low income families to produce food at the farm and receive cooking training from the culinary program at the Pinellas Technical Education Center. For this and much more community work, farmers Pamela and Hank Sindlinger received the Florida Innovative Farmer Award from the University of Florida IFAS Small Farm and Alternative Enterprise Conference in Kissimmee in July 2012
The Farmer workshop is organized by Florida Organic Growers (FOG), a non-profit organization established in 1987 in Gainesville; and supported by a Specialty Crop Block Grant administer by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. FOG’s Education and Outreach Program promotes organic agriculture and healthy and just food systems, informing producers, consumers, media, institutions and governments about the benefits of organic and sustainable agriculture.
Attention: The Workshop is FULL! Unfortunately there is no more space. Thank you!
Come ready to learn and share!
Anyone and everyone with an interest in sustainable, organic gardening is invited to Espoma’s free seminar this Wednesday February 13, 2013. Bonnie Satterthwaite, Southeastern Sales Representative for Espoma will be discussing the exciting features and benefits of these organic fertilizers, soils, and insect controls. Participants will have the chance to learn about Espoma’s entire product line of organic gardening products. The seminar will be held on Wednesday February 13, 2013 at 7:30am, in the Courtyard of the Food & Thought Organic Farm Market Café located at 2132 Tamiami Trail N, Naples, Florida. For more information please see the attached flyer.
Free Organic Solutions Seminar flyer
Florida Organic Growers has lost one of its own. Frank Oakes, a Naples farmer who founded Food & Thought, has passed away. He was passionate about organic agriculture, and served for many years as President of FOG’s Board of Directors. He will be dearly missed.
Florida Organic Growers announced the winner of FOG Garden Apron Contest back in September. Contestants competed for a lovely garden apron donated by Tumbleweed Junction, definitely a gorgeous addition to your garden!
You can check out Tumbleweed Junction’s etsy shop via this link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TumbleweedJunction
The lovely Shell Greenier was the lucky winner of our contest and has graciously sent some pictures of her new prize. Check out the many uses of her new Garden Apron!
Thank you to all who answered the survey, and FOG looks forward to more upcoming contests!
To all QCS Florida and Florida Organic growers,
You are invited to a meeting on Thursday, January 17th at 1:30 pm, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Downtown Orlando with FOG and partner Wild Farm Alliance to discuss:
• What is in the FDA’s proposed rules that relates to wild and domestic animals, compost and manure.
• Your input on the attached illustration and descriptive key that will be part of a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technical note about Co-managing for Food Safety and Conservation Objectives in Specialty Crops.
As you probably know, FDA released the proposed food safety rules last Friday. There are two parts, but the one most relevant to the co-management of food safety and conservation is Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption. To see a summary, go to: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/ucm334114.htm To download the full rules, go to this link and scroll down to the FDA section:http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx#special
Some of you may have helped Wild Farm Alliance earlier with their survey and/or hosting a farm tour. They have now drafted a lengthy technical note, and rather than ask for your input on all of that during your busy season, they would like your feedback on the attached illustration and descriptive key. They have incorporated feedback on this illustration from some of our other project advisors, including FDA, and now need to check with growers like you to see if this makes sense.
If you are interested and would be available for the Thursday January 17th meeting in Orlando, please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a $9.00 daily parking charge at the hotel and that parking charge can be reimbursed after the meeting.
If you are not available but would like to be part of a conference call at the end of the month, please let me know.
January 4, 2011 – The Food and Drug Administration released a proposal that has the potential to be a major step in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which President Obama signed into law two years ago. These proposed rules detail the standards for produce safety and human food production standards, the first significant update to our nation’s food safety laws since the 1930s.
When writing S.510 (111th), Congress needed to be sure that the bill’s regulations work for small businesses and mid sized farms alike to accommodate the diverse sectors of American agriculture. Congress assured, in the proposed standards, that the reporting requirements and prevention planning requirements could be accomplished without costly investments.
“With the aim of improving food safety through FSMA, Congress rejected a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to food safety regulations,” said Ariane Lotti, Assistant Policy Director with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “Which would put small and mid-sized farm operations out of business, consolidate agricultural markets, and eliminate opportunities for food and farm entrepreneurs in emerging sectors of agriculture – including organic and local and regional food systems. Ultimately, we want to ensure a safe food supply, strong on-farm conservation of natural resources, and thriving family farms.” Read more on NSAC’s Blog>>