Wednesday, August 24, 2011

SAVE THIS DATE: Sept 19th Onfarm Mtg of SWFSFN in Polk County

Hello members & supporters of the SW FL Small Farmer Network (SWFSFN)!   I am very pleased to send you this announcement and invitation to the next meeting of SWFSFN on September 19, 2011.  Following up our very successful June 7th meeting at the Treehouse Nursery on Pine Island, we are continuing to provide you another opportunity for a farm visit to a sustainable, small farmer in SW FL.  This meeting  will be hosted by Marlin Goodridge and Retta Baucom of the Shady Oak Fruit Farm.

The Shady Oak Fruit Farm is a blueberry U-pick operation that is expanding into new territory, growing strawberries with low cost vertical towers developed by the University of Florida (see that system here  This charming farm has a long history in the County and was originally a muscadine grape operation.  The farm has since transitioned to blueberries, but recently updated their grape varieties.   The farm continues to explore new crops including vegetables and stone fruit and does a great job of communicating the value of agriculture through the unique agritourism experience it offers

I am sure that you will not want to miss this opportunity for another very worthwhile SWFSFN event and an opportunity for social networking with your fellow small farmers in SW Florida.  Come meet your colleagues who are making our local food systems a reality!  

Remember too to bring seeds to share for our Seed Swap activity as one demonstration of the benefits of our collective actions in the SWFSFN.  Finally, we are planning to have another spectacular pot lunch so bring your locally-grown foods prepared with your special recipes!

For your reference, here 's our meetings details and agenda:

:                            September 19, 2011
Time:                            9:30 am to 2:30 pm
Host:                            Marlin Goodridge and Retta Baucom
3320 Shady Oak Dr., Lakeland, FL, 33815 .   
Phone:                        (863) 512-1547

Cost:                            NONE
RSVP:                          YES, please, to
Note:                            Bring your own folding chair and utensils/plates for the pot luck lunch !


9:30 to 10:00 am -         registration and welcome

10:00 am to 1
1:30 am Walking tour of the Shady Oaks Farm with discussions on crops, and farming & marketing operations

11:30 am to 12:30 pm - pot luck lunch & seed swap

12:30 to 1:30 pm -         growers meeting - introductions & announcements
                                    a)  introduction of county SWFSFN grower leaders
                                    b)  reports of conferences/field days that have been attended recently (e.g., 2011 FL Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises Conference)
                                    c)  input for future SWFSFN events

1:30 to 2:30 pm -          County Extension agents presentations
                                    a)   descriptions of upcoming education events at local county Extension offices
                                    b)  update of FDACS rules for
House Bill 7209 (Cottage Foods Legislation)
farmers’ markets in Polk County – for a preview see

 . . . please, feel free to pass along this announcement to your fellow small farmers who would be interested in our activities.  If they are not familiar with SWFSFN, please, refer them to both our webpage (see and Yahoo Group (see




Robert A. Kluson, Ph.D.

AG/NR Extension Agent

UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension

6700 Clark Road, Sarasota, FL  34241

(941) 232-3090; FAX (941) 861-9886


"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” . . . Bobby Kennedy


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