FOG: Organic Certification Cost Share Applications Due October 31

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The Following Text via Florida Organic Growers
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FOG, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), is pleased to once again administer the 2017-2018 National Organic Certification Cost Share Program in Florida.
The Organic Certification Cost Share Program provides cost share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining or renewing their certification under the National Organic Program (NOP).
To be eligible for reimbursement the operation must have received or renewed organic certification on or between October 1, 2017 and September 30th, 2018. The amount of reimbursement is 75% of certification costs (maximum of $750) per scope of activity. Instructions can be found on the application and all questions can be directed to our Cost Share Coordinator at costshare@foginfo.org or by calling 352-231-7116.
Please note: this application must be signed and be postmarked no later than October 31st, 2018.
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End Text via Florida Organic Growers

Food Dignity

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The Following Text via Food Dignity

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The Food Dignity team is pleased and proud invite you to explore the:

new Food Dignity website: www.fooddignity.org
Food Dignity special issue (with open/public access) of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development: https://www.foodsystemsjournal.org/index.php/fsj/issue/view/food-dignity-issue
From 2011 to 2018, five US community-based food justice organizations collaborated with academic partners on a research, action, and education project we called “Food Dignity: Action research on engaging food insecure communities and universities in building sustainable community food systems.”

We asked how communities work to build sustainability, equity, and food security through food system work. We also sought means of creating more equitable community-university partnerships. We learned about both by doing, and also by tapping the collective decades of expertise the five community-based organizations brought to the table. We had five funded years, with nearly $5 million from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture AFRI program (competitive grant no. 2011-68004-30074).

Explore our results, partners, and partnership on the website. Words from some of the 21 titles in this (277-page!) special issue include: Costs of Community-based Action Research, Follow the Money [to] Academic Supremacy, Visualizing Expertise, What Gardens Grow, Community-Designed Minigrant Programs, Social Movement Frames Used by Collaborators, Triple-Rigorous Storytelling, and five community essays on Entering into a Community-University Collaboration. This marks the official end of the Food Dignity project, though we will have a series of additional papers in this journal over the next few years and we will be adding new results, learning guides, and details about the work of communities remaking food systems to the website.

Over three dozen members of the co-investigation team have done this work. This included people from Blue Mountain Associates (Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming), Dig Deep Farms (Cherryland and /Ashland, California), East New York Farms! (Brooklyn, New York), Feeding Laramie Valley (Laramie/Albany County, Wyoming), Whole Community Project (Tompkins County/Ithaca, New York), University of Wyoming, Cornell University, Ithaca College, and University of California Davis.

As collaborators imprinted on a plaque they gifted to me at our last team meeting in January 2016, Food Dignity was a five-year action research project; food dignity is an aspiration for a lifetime.

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End Text via Food Dignity

Introduction to the Coalition of Community Gardens Tampa Bay

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It was very rewarding to meet people from all over Florida, working in a wide range of overlapping fields at the recent Florida Food Policy Council. The Coalition of Community Gardens – Tampa Bay attended for the first time and looks forward to introducing ourselves to you. We are a network of 25+ community gardens in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties. Our mission is to support the success of community gardening. We meet quarterly to visit each other’s gardens and to share information. Find more information on our website: www.coalitionofcommunitygardens.weebly.com

The Coalition of Community Gardens – Tampa Bay is a partner in the Healthiest Cities/Counties Challenge which is sponsored by the American Public Health Association and funded by the Aetna Foundation. 50 Cities/Counties were awarded the opportunity to participate in this challenge to improve the health of our community. We have been working to establish community gardens in the areas in the city of Tampa which are considered by the USDA to be “food deserts”. We recently held Pop Up Garden Events to boost awareness and enthusiasm in two identified neighborhoods. (pictures attached).

The Coalition of Community Gardens – Tampa Bay held the first annual conference on Growing Community Gardens this past April. Save the date for the second conference, April 5-7, 2019. Rick Martinez, respected founder of the Sweetwater Farms, Community Supported Agriculture, will be the keynote speaker.
Central to the mission of our challenge is engaging the larger system of food access in our region. We are looking forward to collaborating and supporting the Florida Food Policy Council.
Kitty Wallace
Coalition of Community Gardens – Tampa Bay

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Press Release from Kai-Kai Farm

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The Kai-Kai owners are learning what it takes to build a licensed commercial (farm) kitchen on well and septic in a Florida county which historically has opposed any commercial development in areas zoned “agricultural”. Florida Agritourism Law 570-85 FS has started the conversation about food hubs and food processing on farms. The major hurdles are rules for septic tank construction designed for urban uses like restaurants. Other challenges include occupancy of public spaces by customers and this relates to the Florida Fire Code. Finally, a public water supply system is necessary and expensive; these are regulated by FDEP. Probably the biggest planning/permitting obstacle is relating farm water use of a kitchen, which may or may not include restaurant-like services, to Florida Rule 64E-6 “Standards for OSTDS”. A significant amount of regulatory discretion lies in the county office of the Florida Department of Health. There are no categories that fit a food processing farm kitchen. If there is disagreement with the local health official it is unclear what if any appeal process to Tallahassee exists. Unfortunately, all this interaction with multiple agencies turns out to be quite expensive; this helps explain why few small farms ever attempt a licensed commercial kitchen on well and septic.