Monday September 17 - Hilton UF Conference Center - Gainesville, Florida

Sessions & Topics Subject to Change

Ute Albrecht

Ute Albrecht

Learn from citrus greening experts from the University of Florida and Uncle Matt’s Organic about the current state of the citrus greening, or Huanglongbing (HLB), disease in Florida, the importance of the citrus industry to the state and nation, and the latest research efforts to recover production. This panel will discuss the developments of promising new rootstock varieties, organic management practices, and ongoing education and extension efforts.  Dr. Ute Albrecht (pictured here) is an Assistant Professor of Plant Physiology at the UF Southwest Florida Research & Education Center in Immokalee, FL. Dr. Tripti Vashisth is an Assistant Professor of Horticultural Sciences and a Citrus Extension Specialist at the UF Citrus Research and Education Center Lake Alfred, FL. Mr. Ben McLean III is the Vice President of Uncle Matt’s Organic, the nation’s oldest organic orange juice company. Please come prepared with any questions you may have regarding citrus production in Florida for our panel of experts!


Metamorphosis: Composting Organically 

 Herman Holley & Sundiata Ameh-El

Learn about the process of composting organically, methods for creating compost, types of farm-scale equipment used, managing a compost system, the beneficial uses of compost,  application methods, and much more from experienced organic farmer and self-professed ‘composting missionary’, Herman Holley of Turkey Hill Farm as well as Sundiata Ameh-El founder of Compost Community in Tallahassee !


5 Steps to a food justice farm 

Elizabeth Henderson, Eugenia Economos, & Pia Desangles

Join the movement of family-scale farms who are following Food Justice guidelines and demonstrate to your customers and workers that you follow best practices when it comes to running a fair and safe business. Elizabeth Henderson and members of the Farmworker Association of Florida will discuss the historical roots of exploitation of and current conditions for farmworkers in conventional agricultural production,  and then  guide you through the steps to creating a farm based on quality health and justice standards, including -  employment policies, safety planning, conflict resolution, wage structure and pricing that are the foundation of food justice, and lastly incorporating ideas from a local agroecology project.


Urban Agriculture

Michael Meier & Caroline Chomanics

In addition to some of the typical challenges of traditional rural farming like pests, labor, and access to capital, urban farming presents some unique complexities that can make running a sustainable business even more difficult. By the same token, urban growers can use their city environment to the benefit of their organizations. In this workshop, Caroline Chomanics of Fleet Farming and Mike Meier of Ground Floor Farm present their successful non-profit and for-profit urban farms as well as some lessons learned. Explore how their farms continue to grow by focusing on their crop selection, appropriate tools and cultural practices, and marketing strategies, as well as additional revenue streams beyond vegetable sales.

Climate Change and farm resilience

Dr. Robert Kluson & Lynn Steward

Dr. Kluson of the University of Florida will go over 'normal' vs 'extreme' weather projections for agriculture in Florida and identify zones of high vulnerability. Learn about some of the 'wacky Weather' events that have occurred here in Florida thanks to climate change and hear case studies of agroecology-designed organic farms for enhanced resiliency to climate change impacts. Farmer Lynn Steward will contribute his first-hand experiences in mitigating climate change impacts. 

Growing Under Cover

Dr. Ayanava Majumdar & Jim Gibbons

USDA recommends a three-tiered IPM approach for pest prevention and management in organic farming systems. These include basic cultural practices including the use of trap crops, pest exclusion systems, and bioinsecticides. The current workshop will introduce participants to two methods using research data from Alabama: the high tunnel pest exclusion system for pest prevention and bioinsecticide use including tank-mixes and rotations. Participants will also receive a number of free IPM publications such as the Alternative Vegetable IPM Slide Chart and colorful pest scouting bulletins for major crops.

Seed Saving

Angie Lavezzo & Bill Kozakas

One of the most important keys to sustainability and profitability for growers is proper variety selection.  How do you select your varieties?  How should you evaluate their performance?  Can you develop your own varieties?  Join a lively and practical discussion on how to secure your genetic resources and customize them to your farm.  Dr. Kazokas, a specialist in vegetable breeding, will provide an overview of the international seed business and then bring the discussion closer to home by providing tips all growers can use to evaluate and improve their genetic resources on the farm.

Once you have an idea of the 'how' and 'what' of seed selection for your conditions, Angie Lavezzo, a seed saver of 18 years will be presenting practical skills for saving your own seed that you can easily take to your own operation. We will talk through common challenges, pollination requirements, and good long-term storage techniques for your seeds, and finish with hands-on demonstrations of wet and dry processing techniques so you will feel confident selecting and saving on your own.


Cost of Production

Dr. Erin Silva

Join Dr. Silva of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to learn about tracking your farm's cost of production in order to increase profitability. Dr. Silva will be talking specifically about the Veggie Compass tool, a whole farm profit management tool designed to help growers improve on-farm decision making and financial farm planning in order to maximize profitability and ensure the continuation of sustainable farms.


Diversifying your farm

Noah Shitama

Developing multiple enterprises in a farm business allows you to maximize returns and helps mitigate risks to your operation as a whole. Join Noah Shitama of Swallowtail Farm to learn about and get inspired by their diversified farm operation that includes: rotating vegetable crops, cut flower production & arrangements, egg & pork production, a creamery, farm festivals, on-farm dinners, other value added products, a CSA, direct marketing, and more! 

Opportunities & Challenges for new Specialty Crops

Dr. Jennifer Gillett-KaufmanDr. Tripti Vashisth & Dr. Brantlee Spakes-Richter

Join UF researchers to learn about the challenges and opportunities of growing specialty crops in Florida through their research on peaches, olives, and tea production.


Community Supported Agriculture

Elizabeth Henderson & Noah Shitama

Elizabeth Henderson, one of the first CSA farmers in the US and author of Sharing the Harvest, will talk about the meaning of CSA and provide a broad overview of how CSAs are doing these days and what keeps them going.  Noah Kai Shitama will talk about how he has approached creating a successful CSA in Gainesville, Florida.  Please bring your questions about starting a CSA, or if you have one underway already, problems you would like some help resolving. 


Soil Health & Management

Mark Kopecky & Dr. Erin Silva

Healthy soils are the foundation of all organic farming systems.  Healthy soils grow healthy plants, to provide healthy food and feed for people and livestock, to help make us (and our world) healthier, too.  We’ll talk about how the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil interact and how we can use natural systems and management practices to keep our soils as healthy as possible. We’ll cover topics including soil tilth, fertility, nutrient cycling, managing organic matter, and cover crops in this session.  Bring your questions and your willingness to share your experiences. Whether you’re a beginning organic farmer or have lots of experience, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn from each other.


Raising Ruminants & Poultry Organically

Gerry Cohn & Linda Hart

Come learn all you need to know to raise ruminants and poultry organically.  This interactive session will cover the art and science of organic livestock production from the ground up.  Agronomy and soil fertility, forages and grazing, nutrition and herd health, housing and animal care, organic certification and marketing.  Bring your questions and your willingness to share your experiences. This session will help everyone from beginner to grizzled veteran learn more about organic livestock principles and opportunities.


organic certification

Kelli Diaz & Valerie Torres 

Are you thinking about getting certified, but don't know where to start? Are you unsure if certification is right for you? Do you have questions about the USDA organic standards? Come join two accredited certifying agents as they explain the National Organic Program crop and livestock requirements, the certification process, and tips for filling out an application. This interactive presentation is great for crop and livestock producers, ag professionals, and organic food enthusiasts!


the Farm bill

Marty Mesh, David Vaina Sarah Hackney

The farm bill, which is set for renewal in 2018, has a tremendous impact on farming livelihoods, how food is grown, and what kinds of foods are grown.  This in turn affects the environment, local economies, and public health.  These are some pretty good reasons to become involved in advocating for a farm bill that supports health and sustainability!

Through programs covering everything from crop insurance for farmers to healthy food access for low-income families, from beginning farmer trainings to support for sustainable farming practices, this powerful package of laws sets the course of our food and farming system – in good ways and bad. 

Join Florida’s own Sarah Hackney, Grassroots Director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, FOG's Executive Director Marty Mesh as well as FOG's Education and Outreach Coordinator, David Vaina, as they lead a discussion on the 2018 Farm Bill, what it means for you, and what YOU can do to help shape it.


Food Safety on your farm

The Food & Drug Administration

How do you prevent contamination as fresh produce moves through your production, handling, and distribution system of your farm? What are some potential food safety hazards that can occur on farm or orchard and what steps can you take to prevent contamination with harmful microbes? During this workshop, learn about food safety on your farm and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) from representatives of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Learn what effects FSMA might have on your farm business and how manure and soil amendments fit into food safety.  Learn about the tools and resources available to producers to ensure your farm operation is compliant with FSMA regulations and ask your questions directly to those that have the answers.

FDA Representatives: Trevor Gilbert, David Ingram, and Mary Tijerina 


developing your Organic Marketing Plan

Kevin Athearn & Jenny Franklin

Join Kevin Athearn, Regional Specialized Agent in Rural and Agribusiness Development with IFAS to learn about the nine steps involved with developing a marketing plan, as well as strategies and resources for small farm marketing. Farmer Jenny Franklin of High Springs Orchard will share her experiences in creating a profitable, diversified farm. 


Pest Management

Dr. Oscar Liburd & Jordan Brown

Entomology professor Dr. Oscar Liburd has over 20 years of experience carrying out organic agricultural research and integrated pest management at the University of Florida and will be carrying out this workshop on managing pests organically on your farm. Jordan Brown will be joining Dr. Liburd to share his experiences dealing hands-on with pests on his North Central Florida, 25-acre, certified organic farm. Bring all of your questions on organic pest management!


The National Organic Program

Jenny Tucker

Jenny Tucker, Associate Deputy Administrator of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), will discuss the USDA's role in developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products and how these ensure that USDA certified products meet consistent, uniform standards. Jenny is happy to answer any of your questions