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Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

Farmer Friday: Conservation

We are excited for Farmer Friday today!

Each Friday in November and December, we are excited to bring you stories of what Florida Organic Growers (FOG) has accomplished in the organic and farming industry and how its impacted farmers, consumers and the community while spotlighting farmers in Florida who have benefitted from our work.

We encourage you to join us as a member to allow us to continue this invaluable work.

Conservation and Organic Farming

FOG has played an active role in preserving Florida through conservation efforts.

Since 2008, FOG has been involved with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), both nationally and statewide, and was instrumental in helping them recognize organic farming in regard to conservation. Organic production systems exemplify agricultural conservation practices and this is a natural partnership.

The NRCS is a branch of the USDA that was established in 1935 to help insure that water and soil was adequately conserved on farm, grazing and forest lands. It is FOG’s belief there are no better stewards of the land then organic farmers but because of years of tailoring of programs for conventional farms many organic farms weren’t able to access many of the resources and programs of NRCS. FOG worked with National Center for Appropriate Technology to help insure that organic farms would be recognized and eligible for NRCS programs.

Conservation is the heart of Worden Farm, an 85-acre Certified Organic family vegetable farm located in Punta Gorda.

Worden Farm6

The farm is part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.

Chris and Eva WordenIn 2005, Chris and Eva Worden, owners of Worden Farm, installed a state-of-the-art micro irrigation system to help with water conservation. The irrigation system prevents evaporation and provides a slow drip to crops. The farm also uses retention ponds surrounding the perimeter as well as water gates and drainage ditches.

The Wordens planted native species and are continuing to remove invasive species from the farm. They also planted numerous trees to provide wind breaks in order to prevent crop damage.

The Wordens also bought a neighboring property full of pine woods and plan to leave it untouched.

Part of FOG’s mission is to advocate for conservation and promote the sustainability of beautiful Florida for the next generation of family scale farmers.

Please join us as we continue our fight for this next generation of family scale farmers and become a FOG member today!

Join FOG and WFA to discuss the FDA’s new proposed rules

Posted on:

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 tomarty@foginfo.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.

Best,

Marty Mesh

Attachments:
WFA-NRCS Illustration
WFA-NRCS Illustration Key