Organic producers in the Southern Region have many research needs that are not being met through existing programs at the land-grant universities. Organic producers operate diverse farming systems of varying size and comprising an array of agricultural commodities. They represent a relatively “new” group of growers whose practices will be regulated by the recently approved National Organic Standards.
The ultimate objective of this grant was to establish an organic research farm and education center in Northern Florida that would promote organic agriculture in the Southern Region in which Florida is the leading state in certified organic acres. In this project Florida Organic Growers assembled a multidisciplinary team of researchers and extension personnel from the University of Florida and Florida A & M University, as well as interested farmers, to discuss and create a model for the development research priorities and the establishment of an organic research and education center.
The Florida Organic Grower Workshop was pivotal in developing the institutional support necessary for the future commitment by the institution to a Center for Organic Agriculture. The project was, at least partially, responsible for certified organic research/ demonstration acres becoming a reality at both the University of Florida and Florida A & M University.