- Education and Training: networking
- Farm Business Management: business planning, farm-to-institution
- Sustainable Communities: community development, local and regional food systems
The Florida FarmLink Sustainable Community Project has been a succesful project to date and will continue to be fruitful for the next several years. The Florida FarmLink website is currently operating at www.floridafarmlink.org
and has been populated with 3 pages of entries to date. Most of the materials developed with this grant are being saved for a big statewide promotion in 2008-2009.
Florida FarmLink is an innovative tool for assisting farmers and communities in achieving their mutual goals of sustainability, building on and expanding the models of farm link programs from outside the South. Florida Farm Link was launched as a statewide effort, that is currently in beta testing operating as a web-based service.
Listings are currently posted for the following:
• Farmers seeking land and landowners seeking farmers
• Employment posting area for farm manager/apprentice/mentor matching
• References for professionals specializing in assisting small and sustainable farms
• Local food outlets
• Link to local food and sustainable agriculture resources, such as SARE, ATTRA, LocalHarvest, and others
Funding for website development has been provided by local economic development organizations and agencies. The methodology is to utilize a self-serve network to keep operational cost down while coordinating large amounts of information and resources. Outreach to the agricultural sector, potential beginner farmers and landowners is critical to achieving the goals of the program in the coming year.
The objectives of this project have been to provide educational materials that will facilitate the overall Florida FarmLink project. Those goals are:
1. Facilitate linkages between rural landowners with farmers and farmers with land and additional resources to achieve their goals in their sustainable farming enterprises and build capacity in the local community food system.
2. Demonstrate the importance of agriculture and local food systems to overall sustainable communities and sustainable economic development using a natural capitalism partnership-based approach
3. Construct an innovative tool that can be used immediately by entrepreneurs in the susainable agriculture sector and function as an on-going needs assessment and communications method for sustainable agriculture and small farmers across Florida
4. Reach out to the community members that may have never had a connection to agriculture, but are interested in community development, civic participation, and sustainability and include them in the solution of a local food system