• 4 Sep 2019 12:43 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    In preparation for the 2020 Legislative Session, Florida lawmakers have set tentative interim meeting dates for Senate and House committees from September 16 to 20, 2019.

    Appropriations Committee members in the House are scheduled to meet on Sept. 16, while the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting is planned for Sept. 18.

    Senate members of the Agriculture Committee will be meeting in the morning on Sept. 17, followed on Sept. 18 by the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government.

    House members in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee are also scheduled for morning and afternoon sessions on Sept. 18.

    Published schedules for the Senate and House are accessible online.

    To learn more about members of the House of Representative Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Agriculture Committee, visit our website’s Policy Snapshot section.

  • 1 Sep 2019 1:38 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    In order to ensure quick and safe evacuation of pets and livestock from areas effected by Hurricane Dorian, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry, announced the temporary suspension of intrastate movement requirements for the transportation of animals from areas expected to be affected by Hurricane Dorian. 

    Regulated wildlife is not included in the suspension.

    "Any person transporting pets or livestock must stop at the Department’s agricultural interdiction stations and present any required movement documentation. A transporter who fails to provide the required documentation will be issued an Advisory Notice, which must remain with the animal(s) during transport to the premises of destination and the return trip to the originating premises in Florida."

    The suspension is valid went into effect August 30th and remains in place until September 30, 2019, unless extended or rescinded. 

    Additionally, interstate import requirements for Florida pets and livestock leaving impacted areas have been waived in the following states: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

    For more information call  (850) 410-0900 or visit

  • 25 Aug 2019 8:07 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    On August 21st, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida will soon join the multi-state voter registration organization ERIC, Electronic Registration Information Center. 

    “One of my administration’s top priorities is protecting the integrity of Florida’s elections, which is why joining ERIC is the right thing to do for our state as it will ensure our voter rolls are up-to-date and it will increase voter participation in our elections,” said Governor DeSantis.

    ERIC is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that serves to assist states in increasing access to registration and improving the accuracy of voter rolls by cross-referencing information between states.

    Currently 29 states including with Washington, D.C. are participants, making Florida the 30th state to join.

    For years, county election supervisors encouraged the state to join ERIC as it is predicted increase public confidence in the elections and higher voter turnout.

    As Florida is the nation’s third-largest state and sees massive amounts of migration, many voters in the state are simultaneously registered in other states. Although being registered in more than one state is not a crime, voting twice is voter fraud.

    “Since taking office, we have been reviewing this issue with Supervisors of Elections. We are confident that by improving the accuracy of our voter rolls, we will reduce the potential for voter fraud,” DeSantis said.

    In an effort to increase voter registration, DeSantis said that he will ask the Legislature for $1.3 million to pay for ERIC-mandated statewide mailers that include voting registration instructions, to go out to eligible but unregistered adults in Florida before the 2020 presidential election.

    DeSantis said he agreed to join ERIC after getting assurances that retirees moving from other states into Florida won’t be unfairly “dinged.” He also mentioned that he doubts there is any widespread problem of voters fraudulently casting ballots in two states.

    “It was a great relief to know we are all on the same team on this thing right now,’’ said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, “I think it’s great. It’s something we’ve needed.”

  • 16 Aug 2019 12:00 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    “Energy touches every one of us every single day – from the food we eat, to how we move from one place to another, to the air we breathe,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement.

    On August 15th, Fried announced the full agenda for the 2019 Florida Energy and Climate Summit in a press release.

    Scheduled for September 4-6 in Tampa, Florida, the event is the first state-level conference to address climate change since 2008.

    Contrary to the previous commissioner, Adam Putnam, addressing environmental issues including climate change has been a major part of Fried’s platform.

    The multi-day conference will center around the theme of “Powering Change” by examining the interconnectedness of energy with sectors such as agriculture, transportation and the environment.

    The summit will feature a number of panel discussions focused on energy.

    According to the release, the summit “will provide opportunities to share ideas on diversifying Florida's energy sources; promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative vehicle technology; spurring economic growth; and tackling climate change. It will bring together leaders in energy efficiency and development, sustainability, climate change, agriculture production, government, academic research, technology and finance from across the state and around the nation.”

    For more information and to register to attend the 2019 Florida Energy and Climate Summit, visit

  • 9 Aug 2019 8:32 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Food for Thought - An Interview with Tom Pellizzetti 

    Tom Pellizzetti is an outstanding member of the Florida Food Policy Council! He is a food broker who works independently to develop lines of beef and provides management services. He has done work in developing grass-fed lines of beef and was the previous co-founder and owner of the small grass-fed beef company, Arrowhead Beef. 

    Graciously, Tom made time for a short interview to talk about challenges and gaps currently seen in the meat industry, as well as his current projects and hopes for the future.  

    Tom was also the guest presenter for the June Policy Committee meeting where he discussed “Food Processing for Small Producers.” If you missed his presentation, you can watch the call and get more information about his presentation here.  

    Tom earned a BS in Animal Science from UF in 1996 and an MBA from Thunderbird in Arizona in 2001. Tom spent about 12 years working for large food companies (Tyson Foods, Nestle Purina and Schreiber Foods) with roles in (operations, sales and marketing). Tom became an independent sales agent in 2009 and co-founded a small grass-fed beef producer called Arrowhead Beef in 2010. Tom and his business partner bought a very small USDA-inspected harvest facility in NW Florida in 2013. Tom sold his interests in those operations by 2017 and now provides brokerage and management services to natural food companies selling into retail and foodservice channels. Local When We Can! 

  • 24 Jul 2019 1:02 PM | Administrator (Administrator)


    Mark Your Calendars for the  Urban Food Sovereignty            
     Mini-Summit: North Suncoast - Monday, Sept. 23

    On Mon., Sept. 23, 2019 an Urban Food Sovereignty Mini-Summit:(North Suncoast) will be held at the New Port Richey Public Library (5939 Main St., 34652) from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
    Urban food sovereignty: the right and opportunity of persons in urban ecosystems to define their own food and agriculture policies and practices, and to produce healthy and culturally appropriate food through their own means using ecologically sound and sustainable methods, independent of industrial food systems.
    The mini-summit will feature an address by Professor Will Schanbacher of the department of Religious Studies at USF - one of the world's leading scholars of food sovereignty. Dr. Schanbacher will share insights from his just-published book, Food as a Human Right: Combating Global Hunger and Forging a Path to Food Sovereignty.

    Joining Professor Schanbacher will be other USF faculty members, and local leaders engaged in food-sovereignty projects.  
    Also included at the summit will be poster presentations from individuals and organizations engaged in food sovereignty and food justice projects.  
    The finale of the mini-summit will be a focused deliberation by all participants on the state of food sovereignty in their community and identification of specific actions that can advance this goal.
    The purpose of the event is to expand awareness of food sovereignty, to engage individuals and communities in the North Suncoast in a vibrant discussion of food sovereignty, offer opportunity to meet and network with others interested in the topic, and relate local food-sovereignty projects to the work of the USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group.
    Organizers welcome proposals for poster presentations from local individuals, organizations, and communities. Contact Dell deChant at or call at (727) 849-1626 for further details for submitting a proposal for a poster presentation. There will be space for up to ten posters.
    This event is hosted by the New Port Richey Public Library and sponsored by New Port Richey FarmNet in cooperation with the University of South Florida's Urban Food Sovereignty Group.

  • 22 Jul 2019 8:10 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    New Grant Funding to Help Farmers Markets Accept Snap Benefits

    On Monday, July 15th, $4 million in funding for a Farmers Market SNAP Support Grant became available through the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The program aims to increase the participation of farmers markets in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and access to farmers markets by SNAP recipients.

    According to Farmers Market Coalition, “SNAP provides over 45 million low-income Americans with monthly benefits that can be used to purchase most foods and beverages. Each year program participants spend roughly $70 billion in SNAP benefits, including more than $22.4 million at farmers markets in 2017. While SNAP helps low-income Americans purchase food, the program also supports farmers and farmers markets in all 50 states.

    In Florida, incentive programs funded by the USDA like Fresh Access Bucks(FAB), an initiative of Feeding Florida, encourage SNAP recipients to redeem their benefits at farmers markets, produce stands, CSAs and mobile markets to purchase healthy produce directly from Florida farmers. FAB matches or discounts up to $40 of what a SNAP cardholder spends with Fresh Access Bucks that can be used to purchase fruits & vegetables.

    Expanding the abilities of SNAP recipients to access the healthy foods farmer’s markets requires more innovation, making this grant a great opportunity to create change.

    For full grant information click here.

    Key Dates: 

    —> July 15, 2019 — Application opening date. 

    > September 13, 2019  — Application closing date. Full applications --must be submitted via

    Estimated Total Program Funding: 


    Number of Awards: 


    Eligible Grant Applicants: 

    Applicant must be a nonprofit with a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education.

    Grant Officer Contact Information:

    Trinity Richardson, Grant Officer
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, FNS
    Phone: 703-305-2184

  • 15 Jul 2019 8:00 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Fifth Annual Okra Occasion
    New Port Richey

    Monday, August 12
    Less than a festival but more than an ordinary day!

    NEW PORT RICHEY (July 13, 2019) - All are welcome to join the City of New Port Richey’s Environmental Committee and New Port Richey FarmNet for the fifth annual "Okra Occasion...Less than a festival but more than an ordinary day!” to be held at the New Port Richey Public Library (5939 Main Street) in downtown New Port Richey on Monday, August 12 beginning at 6 p.m.

    Friendship Farms & Fare, FarmNet, and the gardeners from the Grand Gardens are joining other growers and citizens to share the magic of okra – one of Florida's forgotten vegetable treasures. There will be samples of okra dishes; two short films on urban farming;  an okra recipe mini-booklet; and some fresh okra for sale by local growers.  A brief presentation on New Port Richey' FarmNet will be included on the program.
    This year will again feature prizes for the best okra dishes.  Everyone is invited to bring a dish for folks to sample and evaluate. There will be three prizes (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) awarded on the basis of evaluation of the dishes by those in attendance. Awards will be $50 for first prize, $30 for second, and $20 for third. If you desire to have a dish included in the tasting and judging, you must contact the organizers for instructions, bring the dish and 50 copies of the recipe. Deadline for the entering contest is August 9.  Up to ten entrees will be accepted - first come first serve.

    Fresh, locally-grown okra will be available for donations.  We have commitment from Friendship Farms & Fare, Grand Gardens, East Madison Gardens, Habitat for Humanity Gardens, and other farms and gardens in the city.  Growers are welcome to bring fresh okra to the event to share with attendees. If you desire to have your fresh locally-grown okra available for donations, you must contact the organizers for instructions, bring your okra to the event and 50 business cards or flyers for your farm or garden.

    Assisting at the fifth annual okra occasion are members of the City’s Environmental Committee.  It has been through the efforts of this committee that New Port Richey has a progressive agricultural program allowing for residential farms and gardens and micro-urban farms such as those in the East Madison Neighborhood and the city's Agricultural District in the Western portion of Virginia Avenue. The Environmental committee has discovered many residents in the city would like to grow their own organic vegetables.

    For more information about this upcoming special “occasion” on August 12, feel free to call Dell deChant at (727) 849-1626, or contact New Port Richey FarmNet through their Facebook page.

    The Okra Occasion in one of the four major seasonal agrarian celebrations in New Port Richey.  The others are: The Sweet Potato Round-Up (September 28, 2019), The Collards Festival & Winter Greens Expo (January 25, 2019), and The Florida Loquat Festival (March 21, 2020) - the only Loquat Festival in America.

    Mission: The mission of New Port Richey FarmNet is to quickening the rise of a resilient and sustainable community in the City of New Port Richey and surrounding areas on the basis of agrarian principles and practices, and a commitment to food sovereignty.

  • 14 Jul 2019 5:00 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Improving Food Management in Hotels

    Tuesday, August 13 
    8:30am - 4:30pm
    Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, North Miami Beach


    Join chefs, hotel administrators, and food and beverage executives to learn how to fight food waste in the South Florida hospitality sector.

    World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Florida International University (FIU), supported by the American Hotel & Lodging Education Foundation (AHLEF), are coordinating this workshop to provide hotel staff an opportunity to develop a property level strategy map for tackling their food waste challenge, as well as a forum to connect with key technical assistance providers locally who can help put their strategy into practice.

    This event is brought to you with generous support from the American Hotel and Lodging Education Foundation. With this support, we are able to offered a subsidized registration fee of $25.

    This workshop will meet the following objectives:

    • Raise awareness of the social, environmental, and economic impacts of food waste.

    • Create a strategy document for how to integrate food waste prevention into business processes.

    • Schedule food waste audits and develop a process for measurement and tracking of food waste to understand reduction in food waste over time.

    • Set meetings with a donation or composting partner and outline steps for establishing a property program.

    Register for the full day if you are seeking additional training on the Hotel Kitchen resources or the demonstration project engagement model.

    Hotel, food service, and tourism participants should register for the half-day session. Our afternoon session will run from 12:15pm to 4:30pm. For all attendees who hold the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), Certified Food & Beverage Executive (CFBE) designations, or ACF-Certification this industry seminar will qualify for 3 maintenance points/continuing education credits.

    Scholarships are available for participants in need.

    Contact with any questions.

    Register and learn more here.

  • 8 Jul 2019 12:30 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    We sat down for interviews with our New York and Washington D.C. Correspondents and asked them to speak about their work, food policy and the future.   

    Rachel Ram, New York Correspondent 

    Watch Rachel’s Interview Here 

    Rachel Ram is a health educator, policy advocate, adventurer, and overall foodie. Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Education, Community Health and Preventive Medicine from the University of Florida in 2017. A lifetime resident of south Florida, she now resides in Brooklyn NY working for the American Lung Association. She began her work with the Florida Food Policy Council in 2016 and continues to raise awareness on food policy issues. Besides engaging in food policy, Rachel enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga, cooking and reading.  

    Candace Spencer, Washington D.C. Correspondent 

    Watch Candace's Interview Here

    Candace Spencer is a Double Gator and earned both her B.A. in Environmental Science and J.D. from the University of Florida, as well as a Certificate in Environmental and Land Use Law. She previously worked at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she developed a new program area in the Conservation Clinic focused on environmental justice and community economic development and engaged in local urban agricultural policy. Candace is passionate about equitable food systems and land ownership, particularly Black owned agricultural land and addressing food apartheid. She currently works as a Policy Specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, D.C. 

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