Farmers discuss activity during a workshop

SW Florida Small Farmers Network meets March 13 at Jubilee

Join us for a special March 13 meeting of the Southwest Florida Small Farmers Network at Jubilee Farm in Bradenton, and learn how farmer-to-farmer networks can help you.

Farmer-to-farmer networks, like the Southwest Florida Small Farmers Network (SWFSFN), long have been effective grassroots approaches to help farmers distribute information, offer moral and technical support, and share resource leads. They have taken root worldwide, in part because they:

  • assume each person has valuable knowledge and experience to contribute;
  • are developed by farmers due to being underserved by institutions and agencies;
  • respond rapidly to unique needs due to diversified production and marketing systems; and
  • promote sustainable agriculture approaches, such as agroecology, soil health, participatory research, agrobiodiversity, and community food economy and security.

SWFSFN is part of the statewide UF/IFAS/FAMU Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises (SFAE) program. It began in July 2007, and its geographical scope includes the counties of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota. Intended membership includes beginner and experienced small farmers who want to develop a regional network of producers and food purveyors/entrepreneurs for local food systems in southwest Florida. On-farm meetings and workshops are provided to evaluate and share sustainable agriculture and alternative enterprise approaches first-hand. Membership is open and free.

For our next meeting, we are very fortunate to offer you a special opportunity to visit the new Jubilee Farm in Bradenton. Jubilee Farm is based on the concept of a regenerative food forest, situated on three acres of former farmland.

The farmer, Ryan Duncan, describes his approach as replicating what nature intended as a perfect design, using agroforestry and permaculture techniques. The objective is to help restore the farming system and to regenerate the soil to where it was 2,000 years ago, while producing nutrient-rich foods. Crops include bananas, avocado, papaya, yucca, olive trees, Chinese spinach, Brazilian cherries, and a growing list of vegetables.

Jubilee was built to be self-sufficient and is equipped with solar panels; rainwater is collected for irrigation. Marketing of the crops highlights local niche markets, such as the restaurants on Anna Maria Island in Manatee County. For a “birds-eye” preview of the Jubilee Farm, watch their Youtube video.

Here are the details of this SWFSFN event:

Date March 13
Time 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location Jubilee Farm, 8413 Ninth Ave. NW, Bradenton
Cost Free
Registration Required, through Eventbrite.com
Note Bring eating utensils, folding chairs, and home-made/home-grown food to share at the pot luck lunch

AGENDA:

9:30–10 a.m. Registration and welcome
10 a.m. to noon Farm tour
Noon to 1 p.m. Pot luck lunch; seed swap; meet local USDA representatives
1-2 p.m. Farmers networking meeting (introductions; discussion of challenges and opportunities in production and marketing
2-3 p.m. UF/IFAS Extension session (county Extension agriculture education announcements; and SFAE announcements

We really look forward to seeing SWFSFN members, both new and established, soon at the Jubilee Farm, Manatee County.

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