FL Organic Growers to Hold Workshop in Palmetto Thurs Feb 5

Gary Cooper Florida, General, Specialty Crops, Vegetables

Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. (FOG) will partner with UF IFAS to present a free workshop Feb. 5 at the Manatee County Extension Office in Palmetto for farmers interested in transitioning to organic production.
The workshop is part of a FOG program that offers farmers an opportunity to receive free technical assistance to transition to organic production. By pairing growers with crop advisors who are experienced with organic production methods, the program gives growers the support, technical know-how, and assurance they may need or desire to successfully make the transition. Organic regulations allow certification of split operations so producers have the option of transitioning a portion of their total acreage. The U.S. organic food industry has grown from $1 billion in sales in 1990 to an estimated $23 billion in 2008 and is expected to average 18% annual growth through 2010.
“The organic marketplace continues to expand and Florida growers may want to seriously consider the market opportunities,” FOG Executive Director Marty Mesh said. “We are extremely happy to offer this program which could provide economic benefits to growers while benefiting Florida’s environment.”
In addition to assisting transitioning growers, the program is open to any Florida fruit or vegetable producer who is interested in reducing pesticide use or switching to lower-risk alternatives. Interested growers please contact Matt Vargas at (352) 377-6345 or matt@foginfo.org. More information, including the application to participate in the program can be found at: http://www.foginfo.org/epa.php