Florida Organic Growers (FOG) is organizing a Free Organic Farming Workshop at Osceola Organic Farm in Vero Beach Florida. The event will take place on November 5th 2012 , from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. The workshop will provide practical information and advice about organic vegetable production, sustainable soil and pest management, marketing, and organic certification. The workshop is designed for current and prospective farmers, as well as service providers who are interested in learning and sharing about organic farming.
Long time organic inspector and experienced organic vegetable grower Kevin O’Dare has been running Osceola Organic farm since 1993, and obtained organic certification since 1996. Kevin successfully markets his produce through a farm stand, area restaurants and farmer markets. He’s an expert grower interested in promoting a new generation of farmers.
USDA Researcher Dan Chellemi & organic farmer Kevin O'Dare inspect a raised vegetable bed that is being solarized in Vero Beach. Photo by Randall Smith, USDA/ARS.
Kevin will lead participants through an interactive farm tour of his diversified 7 acre vegetable, herb and edible flower farm. Kevin will touch on all aspects of organic production, including fertility, soil and pest management. One of the highlights of the tour will be the discussion on soil management. The host farmer and USDA researcher Dr. Dan Chellemi will share with growers the exciting results of more than 10 years of study related to soil solarization. This innovative technique has promoted healthy and successful crops at Osceola Organic Farm. Dr. Ariena Van Bruggen, from the Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF and also an expert researcher on organic agriculture, will also share with growers her insights into creating healthy soil ecosystems.
Another interesting element of the tour will be the participation of Dr. Bob Adair and Matt Adair, from the Florida Research Center for Agriculture Sustainability, who will share with growers the outgoing results of a research study in which beneficial insects have been introduced at the farm to manage leaf miners, Asian psyllids and other insect pests in the citrus orchard.
Chef Christopher Bireley puts the finishing touches on a dish at the Osceola Bistro.
Additionally Chef John Farnsworth of Johns Island Club and Chef Chris Bireley of Osceola Bistro will speak about the marketing opportunities that small organic local farms have in the area. Details will include the volume, quality and timing requirements in order to market to restaurants in the area, and other marketing strategies. These chefs are important potential buyers for family farms interested in the organic market in the region. Finally the FOG staff, along with the host farmer will briefly discuss the requirements, benefits and challenges of the organic certification process.
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.
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Space is limited and registration is required. Mail your completed registration form to P.O. Box 12311, Gainesville, FL 32604, fax to 352.377.8363, call 352.377.6355 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit www.foginfo.org/workshops .