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.
About 90 people participated in a live webinar on tropical and subtropical organic crop production organized by Florida Organic Growers (FOG) on May 31st. The webinar was hosted through a partnership with the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s ATTRA Service; and was supported with funds from a Conservation Innovation Grant.
Marty Mesh, FOG’s executive director, shared his personal organic farming experience in North Florida and general considerations of organic crop production in the tropics and subtropics, such as managing nutrient poor soils, high temperatures, humidity, and more.
Sonia Carlo, an organic producer, organic inspector and consultant from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico shared with participants the challenges, successes and inner workings of her organic farm and the organic sector in Puerto Rico. Although she uses very tall beds and contour planting, soil erosion remains a challenge due to intense rains and the topography of the place. Too little or too much water is also a production challenge. Species and genetic diversity, as well as a great biodiversity in the region, are key to her farming operation.
Organic farmer and consultant Charley Andrews also took participants into a short virtual farm tour in which he discussed his farm management. Charlie shared his methods for managing soil, water, and pests, as well as how he maintains biodiversity on his farm. He chose organic farming due to his concern for conservation of the natural resources of the region, including water quality. He stressed the importance of using organic amendments such as compost, the use of cover crops, and early pest detection and monitoring. Finally Charlie talked about the need to continue the two way dialogue between organic and sustainable growers and NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) staff.
A recording of the webinar is available for viewing in the ATTRA Multimedia Page here>>.