Florida Organics On The Fast Track

Organic farming is the fastest growing form of agriculture in the U.S. today. Despite being one of the oldest methods of producing food, organic farming and organic foods have only recently been something more consumers seem to recognize and associate with more nutrition, better flavor, and with less or without harmful chemical residues.

The Early Days

Organic agriculture practices have been in Florida since agriculture began. The current organic movement in the state began with a few growers in the 1970s who were interested in producing food without synthetic chemicals. They helped initiate the first organic growers association in Florida in 1989, known as Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers. Back then, there must have been no more than a handful of organic growers in the entire state, cultivating not more than a few hundred acres.

Current Picture

Today, there are more than 130 different organic producers in the state. Organic operations are spread all over Florida — from Homestead to the Panhandle. These producers range from small-scale farmers, to livestock producers, to processors, to large vegetable and fruit farms. Most fruits and vegetables that you can imagine are currently produced organically somewhere in our diverse tropical and subtropical climate.   

Organic producers who want to represent, market, and sell their product as organic must adhere to the National Organic Standards. The USDA National Organic Program was created to give assurance to consumers, protect organic farmers, and help grow the young organic industry. The verification process is very strict, and farmers must be able to clearly show that they comply with regulations.

Competitive Edge

Today, traditional farmers in Florida who have realized that the price for their crops fluctuates greatly from season to season and who often cannot break even, often consider organic farming as an alternative to improving their farm’s financial status. Compared to conventional food, organic food is often sold at a fair price for the farmer. Organic farming is usually more labor- and management-intensive, and farming tends to be on a smaller scale.

There are many advantages to becoming an organic producer. Organic ag is based on the principles of improving soil quality and protecting our natural resources. By implementing organic practices, farms in Florida can eliminate chemicals and nitrogen from leaching into their soil and water sources. As a consequence, organic farms can continue to grow crops even after other areas in the state have depleted their soils of nutrients or been driven out by poor sales or land development.  

Cover crops and other production practices could help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and sequester more carbon into the soil, as well as reduce soil erosion. By reducing the use of pesticides and thus increasing biodiversity of organic farms, farmers in Florida could help restore habitats for beneficial native animals, insects, and plants.

Becoming an organic certified producer can open up new markets for organic producers in Florida. Thousands of tourists come to Florida every year. Many of these visitors are part of the growing population of consumers who want organic food.

For information about organic farming and/or certification, contact Florida Organic Growers at
[email protected].               

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Florida Organics On The Fast Track

Featured Stories
(Photo credit: NOAA)
Fruits
July 30, 2016
Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control [Opinion]
Wacky weather has kept you on your toes this year, but there’s no sense in trying to prevent the unpreventable. Read More
Salty soil in California
Fruits
July 30, 2016
Drought Parches Eastern Parts Of U.S.
Conditions worsen in Massachusetts and New York. Read More
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Farm Management
July 29, 2016
Obama Signs GMO Labeling Law
The law is praised by major grower groups because it avoids a patchwork of state laws and provides clarity going forward. Read More
Dust Demo - Feature
Nuts
July 29, 2016
Don’t Bite The Dust In Your Almond Orchard
Being smart about little things, such as occasionally slowing down during almond harvest, can go a long way toward improving public perception – not to mention keeping regulators off your back. Read More
image1 - feature
Nuts
July 28, 2016
Tips For Late-Planting Potted Trees
Historically, the establishment of deciduous orchards was typified by planting bare-rooted trees during dormancy. With the advent of technology and Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Citrus
July 28, 2016
Florida’s Medicinal Cannabis Venture Officially Open For Business
The state’s first dispensary of product comes online in Tallahassee, others waiting for the green light. Read More
Andrew (left) and Steve Beilstein use an air dancer, pictured in the background, as a bird-scaring device at The Blueberry Patch in Lexington, OH.  (Photo credit: Gary Gao)
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
precision ag vision conference
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Ag Tech Is Hot On Horticulture; Get A Handle On What This Means For You
As evidenced by the recent AgTech Summit hosted by Forbes magazine in Salinas, CA, action in precision farming and the Read More
These wildflowers, planted near a California almond orchard, can be extremely effective in aiding pollinators. (Photo credit: Katharina Ullmann, Xerces Society)
Production
July 27, 2016
Survey: Fruit And Vegetable Growers Support Pollinators
Most of the berry, almond, melon, pumpkin, and tree fruit growers surveyed are being careful about how they manage their farms to minimize pesticide impacts and improve bees’ habitats. Read More
The Latest
Fruits
July 30, 2016
Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control…
Wacky weather has kept you on your toes this year, but there’s no sense in trying to prevent the unpreventable. Read More
Fruits
July 30, 2016
Drought Parches Eastern Parts Of U.S.
Conditions worsen in Massachusetts and New York. Read More
Farm Management
July 29, 2016
Obama Signs GMO Labeling Law
The law is praised by major grower groups because it avoids a patchwork of state laws and provides clarity going forward. Read More
Nuts
July 29, 2016
Don’t Bite The Dust In Your Almond Orcha…
Being smart about little things, such as occasionally slowing down during almond harvest, can go a long way toward improving public perception – not to mention keeping regulators off your back. Read More
Nuts
July 28, 2016
Tips For Late-Planting Potted Trees
Historically, the establishment of deciduous orchards was typified by planting bare-rooted trees during dormancy. With the advent of technology and Read More
Citrus
July 28, 2016
Florida’s Medicinal Cannabis Venture Off…
The state’s first dispensary of product comes online in Tallahassee, others waiting for the green light. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 28, 2016
Seeing The Real Big Apple On The Nation’…
Hot temperatures, lack of precipitation, mechanization, and high density production systems were among the highlights of the International Fruit Tree Association’s annual study tour. Read More
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Ag Tech Is Hot On Horticulture; Get A Ha…
As evidenced by the recent AgTech Summit hosted by Forbes magazine in Salinas, CA, action in precision farming and the Read More
Production
July 27, 2016
Survey: Fruit And Vegetable Growers Supp…
Most of the berry, almond, melon, pumpkin, and tree fruit growers surveyed are being careful about how they manage their farms to minimize pesticide impacts and improve bees’ habitats. Read More
Potatoes
July 27, 2016
Hail Hammers Potato Crops In North Dakot…
Storms have wreaked havoc on crops in the Peace Garden State. Read More
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Stockholders OK Dow, DuPont Merger
Companies intend to separate into three, independent companies. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 26, 2016
Take A Closer Look At The Tall Spindle A…
One of the more traditional three-dimensional canopies, Tall Spindle Axe data shows consistent early and sustained yields. Read More
Berries
July 26, 2016
Wish Farms Commits $100K To Food Safety …
Central Florida berry operation will donate $20,000 annually over the next five years to fund various research projects backed by the Center for Produce Safety. Read More
Fruits
July 26, 2016
Popular Spanish-Speaking Fruit Summer To…
Second-annual tour designed to educate Spanish-speaking employees or farmworkers on fruit growing practices. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 26, 2016
Walmart Begins Selling So-Called ‘…
Cosmetically challenged apples are the company’s first foray into a global movement to cut food waste. Read More
Production
July 26, 2016
Importing Frozen Honeybee Sperm Is Key T…
The Washington State University (WSU) bee program has worked with researchers from around the world to create more honeybee genetic repositories like the one at WSU. Read More
GenNext Growers
July 26, 2016
Tour Dedicated To Next Generation Tree F…
Newly formed Next Generation Tree Fruit Alliance to tour orchards, network. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]