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Meet Local Sarasota Farmers on the March 18 Eat Local Farm Tour

The public is welcome to register for a March 18 bus tour of five innovative small farms in Sarasota County, an opportunity for locavores to meet local food growers on their farms and learn about this exciting aspect of the local food system.

Register by Tuesday (March 13th) to save your spot for this exciting and informative tour, coordinated by Transition Sarasota in collaboration with UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County. This event is a companion event to Transition Sarasota’s popular annual celebration of local food, Eat Local Week, an autumn event held for seven years running. Transition Sarasota is a Sarasota-based nonprofit dedicated to shifting food consumption to local sources, supporting local businesses and farmers, and eradicating food scarcity in our community. For example, their “10% Local Food Shift Pledge” has the goal of expanding the local food economy for the benefit of local growers and consumer.

Locations to be visited on this farm tour include the following:

  1. McIntosh Middle School urban farm: learn the amazing achievements of this campus farm producing food by students for students that is eaten in the school lunch program
  2. Blumenberry Farms: walk the fields of this certified organic farm of a large variety of vegetables
  3. Seneca Farms: a diversified farm of fruit trees (tropical and subtropical) and produce with an onfarm produce stand
  4. Grove Ladder: visit the operations of this pastured poultry farm using organic practices which is selling eggs and meat at local farmers markets
  5. Florida Native Plants Nursery: learn about the variety of edible native plants that can be grown locally, and the growing of cut flowers for the Slow Flower movement.

Participants in a "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Farm" meeting tour an area operation.

Touring an area growing operation. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County]

Agriculture in Sarasota County has a long tradition of food production, including cattle, citrus, and vegetables. It also has a long tradition of adapting to the changes in product demand by the marketplace, starting with the naval stores and lumber industries in the 1800s. Today the new face of agriculture is the local food system. With a growing, statewide population of 20 million, our local producers are realizing and responding to this exciting opportunity. Come meet some of these local farmers who are the “movers and shakers,” and learn first-hand their challenges and hopes.

 

The ticket price is modest ($36.99 total), thanks to generous community sponsors, such as Visit Sarasota, Sarasota County Farm Bureau, Farm Credit of Florida, and Edible Sarasota. It includes transportation from start/end point and lunch by Zildjian Catering (indicate food preferences in ticket). There is also a student ticket price ($20).  Opportunities will be available to make purchases from some of these farms.

Space is limited, so make sure to register early.  The registration deadline is Tuesday, March 14th, at 5 pm.

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