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>>.
Or the ATTRA You Tube Channel here>>.