Organic Transition Workshops

Randall Weiseman Citrus, Florida, Specialty Crops, Vegetables

FOG-IFAS Organic Transition Workshops

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – (FOG/IFAS, February 23, 2009) Florida Organic Growers (FOG) will team up with the University of Florida IFAS to present two Organic Transition workshops in
The workshops will be held on Wednesday, April 22 at the IFAS Extension facility in Homestead and Thursday, April 23 at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research & Education Center in Immokalee. Commercial growers who are interested in transitioning to organic production will learn about organic farming practices, regulations, and organic farm plan development. The program includes an update on financial incentives available to transitioning producers included in the 2008 Farm Bill.

The workshops are part of FOG’s Organic Transition & Pesticide Reduction initiative that offers farmers free technical assistance to transition to organic production by pairing growers with an experienced organic production crop advisor. The advisor, FOG staff, and allied professionals offer support, technical know-how and assurance growers may need or desire to successfully make the transition.

Growers who transition to organic production gain access to the organic foods marketplace, which, in the U.S., has grown from $1 billion in sales in 1990 to
an estimated $23 billion in 2008.

“The organic marketplace continues to expand and Florida growers may want to seriously consider the market opportunities,” FOG Executive Director Marty Mesh said.

In addition to assisting transitional growers, FOG’s program is open to Florida fruit, vegetable, and row-crop producers who are motivated to reduce their use of pesticides. Growers who participate with the goal of reducing pesticide use and abandoning high-risk pesticides can work with a Crop Advisor to learn and adopt sustainable farming practices and sound Integrated Pest Management.

To register for the April 22 workshop in Homestead, please contact Teresa Olczyk at 305-248-3311 or

To register for the April 23 workshop in Immokalee, please contact Gene McAvoy at 863-674-4092 or

Registration is $15 and includes lunch, refreshments, and a resource binder.

Growers who would like to work with a Crop Advisor through the Organic Transition & Pesticide Reduction program, please contact Matt Vargas at
(352) 377-6345 or You can access the application to participate in the program here. (pdf file)