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Posts Tagged ‘organic food’

Blog Update from the Dominican Republic

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At Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG), our primary focus, for a fact, is Florida. However, no matter where we are, we truly care about Mother Earth in its’ entirety and we are working everyday towards our mission of supporting and promoting Organic, Sustainable and Regenerative agriculture.

FOG Interim Executive Director and Quality Certification Services – QCS (QCS) CEO met with the Dominican Republic’s very own Minister of Agriculture, Osmar Benitez, to discuss ways of strengthening Organic Agriculture in the nation.

FOG Representative(s) discussing with Minister Osmar Benitez

We salute and applaud the efforts of Dominican Republic Minister of Agriculture Mr. Osmar Benitez for his unrelenting support for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture! Mr. Benitez created the Organic Committee in Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (JAD), which he used to head as the Executive Director before becoming Minister. In 2018, he successfully conducted the 2nd Organic Summit in the country (the last Organic Summit was held in 1998).

Thank you Minister for your support for not just organic, but for overall agriculture in the Dominican Republic! A true leader with vision. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

“Minister @osmarcbenitez (Osmar Benitez) had a meeting with Ramkrishnan Balasubramanian, who is the president of an International Certification company.

The goal of the meeting was to establish on a project for new exporters in the Dominican Republic.”

Moving toward Sustainable Rice Production in Northwest Dominican Republic

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Derek Sindler of Quality Certification Services (QCS) was one of four authors who contributed to a recent study (through the University of Florida) on sustainable rice production. The work is currently in circulation through Scientific Research, an academic publisher.

The following is an excerpt from the study:

” Pesticide runoff from the rice production area of Las Matas de Santa Cruz in NW Dominican Republic degrades biodiversity in the ecosystems of the Yaque del Norte River, Montecristi National Park, and Caribbean Sea. This degradation prompted the Dominican NGO AgroFrontera to develop a program for the creation of a new sustainable rice value chain, starting with the formation of a rice growers association in Las Matas. This project was to evaluate “organic” as a potential certification for the new growers association. The project found that while organic certification is years away, other barriers to a sustainable rice value chain exist: competition with US rice imports due to Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), an informal labor system, and access to credit. Recommendations for the new growers association include: to lower the cost of production to compete with imports, to formalize the labor system, to mediate financing for rice producers, and to maintain balanced leverage across the value chain. A recommendation for future research is the resiliency of farmer institutions against internal corruption and in-fighting.”

For a more in-depth look into the study, please visit the link provided:

Office Life: Bring Your Calvin to Work Day

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Today I am reminded how lucky I am to work for FOG. Due to a child-care bungle, I had to bring my 6-year-old, Calvin, with me to the office for the day. While I worked, he had fun building with blocks, coloring some pictures, and eating some delicious organic veggies for a snack. Overall, he enjoyed “Bring Your Calvin to Work Day” and so did I.

Having him here reminded me yet again me why I feel so strongly about the work we do at Florida Organic Growers.  I believe that organic and sustainable agriculture provides a  firm foundation for the health of our children, our planet, and therefore our future. That’s why we here at FOG work so hard fighting for organic agriculture in the state of Florida and beyond. Everything we do, from advocating for better organic policy to planting gardens at local schools is done for the sake of our children and yours.

As a consumer, you may wonder why you should support an organization like FOG. Perhaps you’ve read Michael Pollan’s suggestion to “vote with your fork” in The Omnivore’s Dilemma and feel like you’re already doing your part.  Aren’t you supporting organic agriculture every time you purchase organic produce at your local grocery store or farmers market? Yes, and that’s great! Keep it up! But today I would encourage you to take it a step further and send in a tax deductible donation to Florida Organic Growers. Your donation will help us ensure that the small farm that grew that organic produce for you can stay in business.

Invest in the future of Florida organic agriculture. Help us advocate for policies that enable farmers to access the land, credit, and crop insurance they need in order to cultivate vital farm businesses and grow the produce that feeds our families. Help us provide appropriate training and mentoring to ensure farmers have the support they need to maintain our nation’s food security.

I begin with the proposition that eating is an agricultural act… Most eaters, however, are no longer aware that this is true. They think of food as an agricultural product, perhaps, but they do not think of themselves as participants in agriculture. They think of themselves as “consumers.” – Wendell Berry, The Pleasures of Eating.

Voting with your fork is important. Raising kids who can recognize an eggplant is important. Modeling good home food behaviors by valuing fresh fruits and vegetables at the family table is great. However, it’s also important to teach our children that eating is an agricultural act. Take them on farm tours, grow a garden with them in your back yard, and donate to  Florida Organic Growers on their behalf. I would be proud to raise a future farmer, wouldn’t you?