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>>.
Live Webinar explores organic production in tropical and subtropical regions through virtual tours of organic farms in Florida and Puerto Rico.
Florida Organic Growers (FOG) will lead short virtual tours of certified organic operations in Florida and Puerto Rico as part of a live webinar being broadcast on Thursday, May 31 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) plans to host the webinar as part of a multi-partnership project which includes sustainable and organic organizations from around the United States.
Each organic grower will touch on the philosophical and practical aspects of growing organic crops in semi tropical and tropical regions as they lead participants on a virtual tour of their agricultural system. Among the topics discussed will be; production challenges and successes, natural resource management, and conservation. Presenters will also spend time identifying areas in which they need support to increase their resource conservation. Although the hour-and-a-half long webinar is focused on training for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff, it will offer valuable insight and advice for organic producers and others interested in organic production.
The goal of the webinar is to share with NRCS staff the perspectives, management principles, agricultural practices, and needs of organic growers in this region. It will help NRCS staff members increase their ability to understand organic growers’ needs in this region so that they can better serve them.The webinar is being presented with funding through a NRCS National Conservation Innovation grant project.
The webinar begins at 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.
The organic producers featured in the webinar will be Sonia Carlo of Hacienda Sana Siembra Organica in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, and Farmer Charlie Andrews of Hammock Hollow Herb Farm in Island Grove, Florida. FOG staff members Jose Perez and Executive Director Marty Mesh will also be contributing.
To register for the webinar, go to https://attra.ncat.org/tropicalcrops.