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
education@foginfo.org.               

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Florida Organics On The Fast Track

Featured Stories
Citrus
September 23, 2017
Family Citrus Farmers Face Tough Times [Opinion]
Dealing with a deadly disease is tough enough without extreme pressures from retailer/customers. Read More
SFWMD Big Cypress Basin pump station following Irma
Citrus
September 22, 2017
Water Management Concerns Flowing in Florida After Irma
Efforts mounted and executed to move gallons by the ton to protect property. Read More
Citrus display survey
Varieties & Rootstocks
September 22, 2017
Take Time to Survey the Latest Florida Citrus Varieties
The calendar is full of display day opportunities to learn, see, and do. Read More
Apples & Pears
September 22, 2017
Media Reflects Modern Society [Opinion]
Little about fruit growing — or any agriculture — appears because too few of us are willing to illuminate the media. Read More
Handfuls of Florida hops
Citrus
September 22, 2017
When it Comes to Growing, Florida Farmers Never Say Never
Let's raise a toast to the bold producers and researchers who are taking our industry beyond previously perceived crop viability boundaries to places once figured forbidden. Read More
Citrus
September 21, 2017
Hurricane Relief Fund Launched for Florida Farmworkers
Money raised will benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s efforts to aid families in need. Read More
Paul and Derek Orsenigo
GenNext Growers
September 21, 2017
Advice for Taking Over the Family Farm
If you are considering joining and running your family business, here are some tips to ensure success. Read More
Picking fresh Florida blueberries
Berries
September 21, 2017
Ways Florida Blueberry Growers Can Elevate Their Message
Promotional efforts seek to harness power that drives the Sunshine State's ‘little blue dynamos.’ Read More
Inside the Horticulture field tour wagon at the 2016 Florida Ag Expo
Florida Ag Expo
September 21, 2017
Everything You Need to Know About the 2017 Florida Ag Expo
More education choices, flexible field tours, and networking opportunities to provide an enhanced attendee experience. Read More
Whiteflies on a leaf
Insect Control
September 20, 2017
Whitefly Troubles Go From Bad to Worse in Florida
Growers should have a plan for managing the pest from beginning to end of season. Read More
Grower Achievement Award
September 20, 2017
Ask Yourself: What Can I Do to Make Things Better?
Alan Jones, this year's recipient of American Vegetable Grower magazine's Grower Achievement Award, invites all growers to do what he does: Look in the mirror and ask," What can I do to make a positive impact on our industry?" Read More
Bacterial wilt symptoms on blueberry leaves
Berries
September 20, 2017
Getting to the Bottom of Bacterial Wilt in Blueberries
Prolific plant pathogen now presenting a new challenge for Florida producers and researchers. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Precision in Specialty Crops Gains Momentum
Here are some of the key drivers that may transform your farm in the years ahead. Read More
Fruits
September 19, 2017
EPA Mulls Restricting Dicamba Use
Proposal is a part of agency’s focus on reducing herbicide injury in vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
September 19, 2017
Washington State University Creates BMSB Management Resource Page
As populations grow in the state, university offers growers pest management advice. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 23, 2017
Family Citrus Farmers Face Tough Times […
Dealing with a deadly disease is tough enough without extreme pressures from retailer/customers. Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2017
Water Management Concerns Flowing in Flo…
Efforts mounted and executed to move gallons by the ton to protect property. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
September 22, 2017
Take Time to Survey the Latest Florida C…
The calendar is full of display day opportunities to learn, see, and do. Read More
Apples & Pears
September 22, 2017
Media Reflects Modern Society [Opinion]
Little about fruit growing — or any agriculture — appears because too few of us are willing to illuminate the media. Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2017
When it Comes to Growing, Florida Farmer…
Let's raise a toast to the bold producers and researchers who are taking our industry beyond previously perceived crop viability boundaries to places once figured forbidden. Read More
Citrus
September 21, 2017
Hurricane Relief Fund Launched for Flori…
Money raised will benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s efforts to aid families in need. Read More
GenNext Growers
September 21, 2017
Advice for Taking Over the Family Farm
If you are considering joining and running your family business, here are some tips to ensure success. Read More
Berries
September 21, 2017
Ways Florida Blueberry Growers Can Eleva…
Promotional efforts seek to harness power that drives the Sunshine State's ‘little blue dynamos.’ Read More
Florida Ag Expo
September 21, 2017
Everything You Need to Know About the 20…
More education choices, flexible field tours, and networking opportunities to provide an enhanced attendee experience. Read More
Insect Control
September 20, 2017
Whitefly Troubles Go From Bad to Worse i…
Growers should have a plan for managing the pest from beginning to end of season. Read More
Grower Achievement Award
September 20, 2017
Ask Yourself: What Can I Do to Make Thin…
Alan Jones, this year's recipient of American Vegetable Grower magazine's Grower Achievement Award, invites all growers to do what he does: Look in the mirror and ask," What can I do to make a positive impact on our industry?" Read More
Berries
September 20, 2017
Getting to the Bottom of Bacterial Wilt …
Prolific plant pathogen now presenting a new challenge for Florida producers and researchers. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Precision in Specialty Crops Gains Momen…
Here are some of the key drivers that may transform your farm in the years ahead. Read More
Fruits
September 19, 2017
EPA Mulls Restricting Dicamba Use
Proposal is a part of agency’s focus on reducing herbicide injury in vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
September 19, 2017
Washington State University Creates BMSB…
As populations grow in the state, university offers growers pest management advice. Read More
Berries
September 19, 2017
UC Davis Strawberry Lawuit Settled
Former university breeders to return any crosses that used unpatented varieties and agree the school owns rights to them. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Hopes High for Hops Fresh From Florida
When it comes to alternative crop solutions, something good is brewing in the Sunshine State. Do you have what it takes to tap in? Read More
Apples & Pears
September 16, 2017
Researcher Finds Bacteria Can Stop Blue …
The natural bacterium found in soil can survive in cold storage; this promising biocontrol offers an alternative to chemical treatments. Read More