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 http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HS/HS118600.pdf). 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:
Date: September 19, 2011
Time: 9:30 am to 2:30 pm
Host: Marlin Goodridge and Retta Baucom
Place: 3320 Shady Oak Dr., Lakeland, FL, 33815 .
Phone: (863) 512-1547
Info Contact: Mary Beth Henry; Polk County Extension; (863) 519-8677 ext 110
RSVP: YES, please, to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 11:30 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)
c) farmers’ markets in Polk County – for a preview see http://tinyclip.tv/TinyCreator.php?mediaURL=mms%3a%2f%2fpolkco.ecstreams.com%2fPolkOD%2fFeatured%2f20110725-PolkPlaceIFASSmallFarmsFarmersMarkets-MaryBethHenryBeckyAbelEricaGuerra.wmv
d) International project report: small farmer assistance in Haiti
. . . 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 http://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu/AG/swfsfn.shtml) and Yahoo Group (see http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/SW_FL_Small_Farms/)
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