Author: Katy Lynch

How to get rid of pests organically

Your garden is growing beautifully and nothing could go wrong, that is, until those tiny pests seem to be under attack. While many people turn to pesticides as a quick fix, we at Florida Food & Farm know that things should be done a little more naturally.

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New Opportunity: Value Added Producer Grant

If you’re an agricultural producer looking to bring value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products to your business, you’ll be thrilled to hear that applications are now being accepted for VAPG Grants. Grant money will be given to those companies that are generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities and increasing producer income with priority going to a beginning farmer/rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer/rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Application Deadline: Paper Application:  July 1, 2016  |  Electronic Applications:  June 24, 2016 Notice of Solicitation of Application:  [ PDF ] Program Funding: $44 million Maximum Grant Amount: $75,000 for planning grants; $250,000 for working capital grants Matching Funds Requirements: 50% of total project costs VAPG Grants are available to: Independent producers agricultural producer groups farmer- or rancher-cooperatives majority-controlled producer-based business ventures For more information on the VAPG grants including what the funds may be used for and how to apply, visit the USDA...

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Local Earth Day Celebrations

Earth Day is almost here (it’s Friday, April 22, this year). Here are some events, throughout the Sunshine State, that observe the 47th anniversary of this celebration of our vulnerable planet. NORTHEAST FLORIDA Jacksonville Earth Day and Ecology Fair Saturday, April 23; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jacksonville Landing, downtown jacksonvillelanding.com; 904-353-1188 Palm Coast Earth Day 2016 Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, 6400 N. Oceanshore Blvd. FloridaStateParks.org/park/Washington-Oaks; 386-446-6783 NORTHWEST FLORIDA Pensacola Earth Day Festival Saturday, April 23; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Central Time) Bayview Park, 2001 E. Lloyd St. earthdaypensacola.com; 850-549-7472 Tallahassee Healthy Communities Festival Saturday, April 23; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Cascades Park, downtown Tallahassee sustainabletallahassee.org; 850-891-8703 CENTRAL FLORIDA Gainesville Earth Day Exploration Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Florida Museum of Natural History, 3215 Hull Road flmnh.ufl.edu/earthday; 352-846-2000 Lake Wales Earth Day Thursday, April 28; all day Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd. boktowergardens.org Orlando Central Florida Earth Day Saturday, April 23; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Lake Eola Park (east side), 512 E. Washington St. Free admission cfearthday.org SOUTHEAST FLORIDA, KEYS Boca Raton Earth Day Fair Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. University Woodlands Park, 2501 St. Andrews Blvd. floridaearthfestival.com; 561-880-0510 Coral Springs EarthFest Saturday, April 16, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sawgrass Nature Center, 3000 Sportsplex Drive (south of Sample Road) artscalendar.com/event/detail/441904191/EarthFest; 954-344-1117 Miami Party for the Planet Saturday-Sunday, April 16-17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 12400 S.W. 152nd St....

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Locavores get a voice in state’s new Food Policy Council

The new Florida Food Policy Council (FFPC) is working to support the state’s burgeoning local-food movement, as well as efforts to develop more sustainable, and fair, food systems. FFPC is a statewide effort that will provide leadership to encourage the development and expansion of Florida’s local food network and help to meet food security needs in communities across the state. On Sunday, April 3, FFPC will host its inaugural membership meeting at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport. That meeting follows the UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference, taking place April 1-2. Keynote speakers for that event are Gabriele Marewski of Paradise Farms, Homestead; Karen Dakin of Dakin Dairy Farms, Myakka City; and Michael Greenwell of 31 Produce, Alva.  Sharon Yeago, a member of FFPC’s steering committee and its events subcommittee, says, “We encourage everyone along the food chain – from farmer to consumer – to join us in identifying the next steps in supporting sustainable production, distribution, and consumption of healthy fresh food in Florida.” The Florida Food Policy Council has representatives from South, Central and North Florida. The council will use a variety of methods, including legislation, education, and action committees, to achieve its goals. There is strength in numbers, Yeago explains: “Florida has a vibrant local-food movement. We need a collective voice to speak out about food policy.” Membership in the Florida Food Policy Council costs...

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