Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Cultivator Newsletter - November 2015



The Cultivator

Connecting farmers and food system innovators across Florida

Published Monthly by the UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Extension Team


Issue No. 3

November 2015


Words of advice from Emil Belibasis, an experienced vegetable grower- 

One of the speakers at the Mid-Florida Specialty Crops Conference, Emil Belibasis, owner of Beli Farms, shares some great pieces of advice especially for beginner and prospective farmers.  -- 

Continue Reading





Conference Pictures

See what happened at the Mid-Florida Speciality Crops Conference in Apopka - See more





November 6, 2015

Apopka, FL


Thank you for a great regional conference!!


Stay tuned for updates on our third regional conference on April 1-2 in Lee County!








Upcoming Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Events



Northwest Florida

Send us your events!!



Northeast Florida

- Agriculture Conservation Workshop

  November 21, from 9:00am-2:00pm, Baldwin

  More information here

- Building your Own Farm's Food Safety Manual

  December 7 from 8:15am-5:00pm, Live Oak

  Registration and more info here

- AGRItunity

  January 22 & 23, 2016, Citrus County

  More information forthcoming

- Small Scale Mushroom Production

  February 5, 2016 from 8:15am-4:30pm, Live Oak

  Registration and more info here 

- Starting a Successful Hydroponic Business

  March 14&15, 2016, Live Oak

  Registration and more info here

- Starting a Successful Hydroponic Business

  March 18&19, 2016, Live Oak

  Registration and more info  here

Central Florida

- Winter Weather School 

  December 1, 8:30am-12:15 pm, Tavares
  Free registration here
- Florida Blueberry Pollination Workshop
  December 2, 9:30am-12:00pm, Tavares
  Free registration here
- UF/IFAS Florida Olive Update & Grower Needs
  December 10 from 10:00am-2:00pm, Citra
  Register online here

South Central Florida

Send us your events!!

South Florida

- Fall Vegetable Field Day

  December 3, from 9:00am-1:00pm, Immokalee

  More information here





News and Announcements


- Chef takes side gig as hydroponic farmer. 

   More here

- USDA in partnership with Florida Organic Growers    release organic video series. See videos here

- Southern SSAWG Conference Scholarships     

  available. Deadline is December 1. 

  More here Specific scholarships for mentor 

  farmers by SARE, contact Kelly Moore 

- Collier County schools lead the way in farm-to-

  school push. More here

- NRCS Conservation Cost Share deadline for      

   assistance is December 18. - More here

- Preparing your honey bees for winter. More here

- New Florida Farm to School, Farm to Community 

   Newsletter. Sign up by emailing:

- Bilbrey Family Farm in Polk County profiled. 

  More here

- Cold Protection tips for North Florida Vegetable   

  Farmers. Open here

- Take caution when dealing with yellowstriped 

   armyworms. More here

- Organic Transition: A business Planner for 

  Farmers, Ranchers... by SARE. Open here

- Guidelines or Purchasing and Using Commercial 

  Natural enemies and biopesticides. Open here

- Updated version of the vegetable and row crop 

  Best Management Practices Manual released. 

  Open here.

- Small Flock Poultry Nutrition. Open here

- National Organic Farming Handbook released by

   NRCS. Open here







About this Newsletter.

The Cultivator is an online monthly newsletter 

published by the UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Extension Team. 


The objectives of the newsletter are to share practical production and marketing information

 and build a strong network among small and medium scale farmers 

and other food system stakeholders across Florida. 




About us

is a collaboration of about 140 University State and County Faculty Extension across Florida.

The team works on supporting small and medium scale farms 

and strengthening local and regional food systems.


We hope that you find this online newsletter useful.

Please send us your feedback, suggestions and questions to



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Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved.


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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Christmas Trees: Harvest your own

As a part of the Natural Resources program, I encourage residents to think about the impact their everyday choices have on our natural resources, both positively and negatively.

Transporting firewood, trees and other vegetation can serve as a vector for the spread of invasive exotic species; as a result, Florida prohibits the movement of firewood more than 50 miles from its place of harvest to reduce the spread of these hitchhikers. Christmas trees do not fall under this regulation and are regularly imported from the Carolinas, Virginia, and other Appalachian states to satisfy residents’ desires for a ‘real Christmas tree.’ Please note, there is nothing particularly bad about this arrangement; they have gorgeous trees and people love them.

I bring this up as a teachable moment for our office because right here in Polk County we have the opportunity to harvest a local tree, help a local State Forest reduce its fire fuel levels, save money (only $10/tree), reduce the risk of spreading invasive exotic pests and reduce your carbon footprint. The Lake Wales Ridge State Forest offers Sand Pine trees as a local alternative species for Christmas trees. This species has a fascinating life cycle that can lead to thickets of young trees when fire rotation is disturbed by too-few or too-frequent fires. To help reduce the fuel load, the trees are offered for $10 as Christmas trees to the public. I will be harvesting one of these trees to use as an in-office demonstration of local trees.

If you are interested in this project, please see the following ways you can help:

·         Donating a used tree stand for fresh-cut trees (for trees between 4 and 7 feet tall)

·         Donating a strand of LED Christmas Lights (since the tree will be unsupervised, we cannot use incandescent mini-lights)

·         Contacting me if interested in going to harvest the tree or to help decorate it (likely Extension themed or ‘green’ ornaments)

·         Share my Christmas Tree fact sheet I created (attached) and encourage people to check out a regional tree-farm or the Lake Wales State Forest for a local tree (flier attached)

Thanks for your time!

Thank you and have a great day,

Shannon Carnevale

Natural Resources and Conservation Agent

UF/IFAS Extension Polk County

(863) 519-1051



2 food system surveys

Growth in the number of food businesses is increasing the demand for commercial kitchen space. Ashley Colpaart, a doctoral candidate at Colorado State University (CSU) is conducting research on commercial kitchens and food businesses to identify challenges and opportunities around commercial kitchen use. Your participation in this survey will provide us with valuable feedback to identify future opportunities for increasing access to kitchens.


The two surveys are aimed at: 

1. Commercial kitchen owners/managers that rent or are interested in renting space in the future. These could be a:

·  commissary (shared commercial rental)

·  incubator or accelerator (provides business support) 

·  community (church, community center, food bank) 

·  co-packer

·  institution (school, hospital, senior living)

·  privately owned (restaurant, bakery) 

2. Food Businesses defined by self-identified occupation and couple be a: 

·  baker 

·  caterer 

·  personal chef

·  food truck or push-cart owner

·  food artisan or value-added producer

·  food or beverage manufacturer

·  cottage foods producer (home)

·  educator or cooking instructor

This surveys should take 5-10 minutes each and your answers are anonymous. There are no known risks or benefits to participating in this survey. Participation is voluntary.  Choosing to fill out the on-line survey implies consent.  If you change your mind and decide not to participate, you may withdraw your consent at any time without consequence.

Take the Commercial Kitchen survey here. Take the Food Business survey here.


Should you have any questions about this survey, please contact Ashley Colpaart at or Advisor Marisa Bunning at If you have any questions about your rights as a volunteer in this research, contact the CSU IRB at  RICRO_IRB@mail.colostate.edu970-491-1553.


Thank you in advance for your time.




Ashley Colpaart, MS RD 

Graduate Student 

Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition 

Colorado State University 


Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act. -Albert Einstein


2015 Small Ruminant Production Conference, Ocala FL

Good morning,

Please help us get the word out to our sheep and goat producers:


Don't forget to register TODAY for Friday's event!

‎UF/‎IFAS ‎Extension Marion County and the Central Florida Livestock Agent's Group invites you to our 2015 Small ‎Ruminant Production Conference. This program will focus on ‎goat and ‎sheep health, nutrition, production efficiency and management of your herd or flock. Topics will include:

• Caseous Lymphadenitis in Sheep and Goats

• Fundamentals of Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology

• Estimating Forage Yields

• Genetic Selection

• Weed Assessment

• Stockpiling and Line Grazing

• Overseeding in Small Paddocks

• Selenium Supplementation

• Sheep/Goat Management Calendar

• Diversifying the Goat and Sheep Farm

• Carcass Preparation

**See the attached agenda for more details**.


Registration includes informational materials, lunch and refreshments. For more information, please call 352-671-8400.

Or go online to:


If you are Extension faculty or student please call the office so we can give you a discounted price of $25.00.


Have a great day.



Jonael H. Bosques

UF/IFAS Extension Marion County

Small Farms Agent

2232 NE Jacksonville Rd., Ocala, FL 34470


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