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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.

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