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Posts Tagged ‘farmers’

FOG offers SNAP Tech Support for Florida Farmers and Farmers Markets

FOG is now offering SNAP Tech Support, a program that offers guidance, advice and resources for Florida farmers and farmers markets interested in accepting SNAP benefits (formally known as food stamps).

If you’re interested in growing your customer base, increasing your sales, expanding access to healthy foods, and strengthening your local community and farms, then accepting SNAP as a payment option might be right for you! See the flier below for more details and how you can start accepting SNAP!


Interested in forming an agricultural cooperative?

Join the North Central Florida Farmers Cooperative!

FOG is working with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) and Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) to help support the formation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the North Central Florida.

Agricultural cooperatives have a long and successful history and today there are more than 3,000 agriculture cooperatives in the U.S. with a total net income of nearly $1.2 billion dollars.

Agricultural cooperatives are farmer-owned and farmer-controlled organizations from which benefits are derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use. A farm cooperative would allow North Central Florida farms to aggregate purchasing, marketing and sales to reduce costs and reach a broader local marketplace. This project is for any type and size of farm. We are continuing with the planning phase and want your input!

March 12
Live Oak Public Library
1848 Ohio Ave S , Live Oak
6 to 7:30 p.m.

March 23
Alachua County Public Library – Headquarters
401 East University Avenue
6:30 to 8 p.m.

March 25
Smith Auditorium
900 University Blvd. N, Jacksonville
5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

April 22
Smith Auditorium
900 University Blvd. N, Jacksonville
5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

April 20
Alachua County Public Library – Headquarters
401 East University Avenue
6:30 to 8 p.m.

If you have interest, please contact Mary Hathaway at or at 904-419-3609.

Appeals Court Binds Monsanto to Promise Not to Sue Farmers

A three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that a group of organic and otherwise non-GMO farmer and seed company plaintiffs are not entitled to bring a lawsuit to protect themselves from Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents “because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not ‘take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land).’”

Read more here…

Cost Share Deadline September 30, 2012

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$$ Last Chance for Organic Farmers to Apply $$


Did you know that if you’re certified organic you are entitled to be paid back for 75% of your fees, up to a maximum of $750? You are, but the deadline to apply for the 2012 Florida Organic Certification Cost Share Program is the end of this month.

Florida Organic Growers administers this program as part of our appreciation and support for your efforts in the continued success of the organic industry. We hope this program will help ease financial pressures you may experience during the process of becoming certified organic. You can use your reimbursement to assist with your certification fees or as an opportunity to expand your business.

It is easy and fast to apply, simply fill out the application on our website, send that along with a W-9 form, and a copy of your organic certification. We’ll also need a document from your certifier showing all the money you paid that you can be reimbursed for this past year. You can send them through e-mail at, fax at 352-377-8363 or by mail to:

Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers, Inc.
Attention Cost Share Department
P.O. Box 12311 Gainesville, FL 32604

Applications are due by September 30th, 2012, so apply today! If you have any questions we’re here to assist you from 9am – 4pm Monday through Friday, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 352-377-6345, ask for Danielle or e-mail me directly at

Thank you again for everything that you do! 

Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference – July 27 to 29

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Hosted by University of Florida’s (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), Extension and Florida A&M University’s (FAMU), College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) the 2012 Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference has a full packed program that promises to provide practical and useful information for growers, researchers, retailers and consumers. The conference program includes a track for Sustainable and Organic Agriculture.

FOG invites you to come, share and learn with us. FOG staff will be tabling at the Trade Show open on Friday from 5 to 7 pm and Saturday morning and afternoon. Additionally FOG staff will be moderating on two Saturday sessions. FOG’s Executive Director Marty Mesh will be speaking and moderating the session “Capturing the Organic Market” from 11am to 12:30 pm, while FOG’s project coordinator Jose Perez will be moderating the session “Organic Pest Management” from 2:00 to 3:00 pm.  There will be plenty to see, share and learn. Hope to see you there.

For Registration and more information check the Conference website >>here.



NOP Handbook Updates

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The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has updated the audit checklists and Sunset dates sections of the NOP Handbook.

National List Sunset Dates

The National Organic Standards Board must review all substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances every five years and recommend renewing, removing, or changing each listing. This process is commonly referred to as “Sunset review.”

NOP 5611 provides the public with an easy way to identify the Sunset or expiration date for all substances included on the National List. This resource now reflects the expiration dates established by the Sunset 2012 Final Rule, except those that are effective October 21, 2012.

Departmental Spotlight – EBT

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Florida Organic Growers for two years has run a booth providing SNAP benefit -commonly, Food Stamp- transfers at various farmers’ markets in Alachua County. In that time, the booth’s operational costs have been covered by various municipal grants; however, as municipal budgets tighten and the program matures, it is incumbent upon us to find a new way to fund the booth if it is to remain a part of the area farmers’ markets.

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program is an aid program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Originally the Food Stamp Program, started in the late 1930s as a response to widespread unemployment and massive food surpluses that existed during the height of the depression. Having ended in 1943, the program was reauthorized in 1959 with bipartisan support. During the incoming Kennedy Administration it was made permanent so as to make available “… to all needy families a greater variety and quantity of food out of our agricultural abundance.” [exec.ord. 10914]

In the fifty-three years since, the program has had regular revisions in step with political, ideological, and technological changes. One such technological change was a move in the late nineties to phase out the old green-and-brown stamps system in favor of an EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card to be used like a credit or debit card. This was done to make the system more consistent, more accountable, and less susceptible to fraud. With the move to an electronic payment system however, the retail food market became fragmented; those consumers receiving SNAP benefits were effectively shut out from any part of the market unable to handle electronic transactions. Two such parts of the excluded market are small and medium farmers who sell direct to the consumer.

Directly selling to consumers remains a vital part of many farmers’ income. While most farm output is irrevocably tied up in larger grocery vendor systems, farmers often maintain an amount of excess or specialty crops that would otherwise go unsold. Many farmers elect to take part in regional farmers’ markets as a way to sell those products – often at significant a discount relative to grocery stores. Often, these Markets are located close to populations that are underserved by most of the retail food market. Indeed, in Alachua County, the farmers’ markets FOG maintains an EBT booth at border regions the USDA has labeled as being without basic access to large grocery stores or similar outlets.