Sarah Bostick, sustainable agriculture agent
UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County
Savor Sarasota is coming back to town June 1st through 14th. During this event, local restaurants will feature lunch and dinner menus for $16 and $32 per person. At UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County, we always encourage and support events that focus on local businesses. This includes supporting local businesses, such as the Sarasota County Green Business Partners. The Green Business Partnership is open to all businesses in Sarasota County and highlights business partners that operate in an environmentally responsible manner. More than 250 businesses have earned this designation and are using best management practices (BMPs) as outline by the program’s educational training.
Sarasota County’s urban Green Business partners aren’t the only businesses in the county who have embraced best management practices. Many farms and ranches in the county have voluntarily enrolled in Florida Department of Agriculture’s Best Management Practices program. Agriculture BMPs are “designed to benefit water quality and conservation while maintaining or even enhancing agricultural production”.
One of Sarasota County’s best kept secrets is our award-winning farms and ranches. Three local farms and ranches have won Farm Bureau’s coveted This Farm CARES (County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship) Award for their exemplary voluntary efforts to protect Florida’s natural resources. Sarasota County is also home of the winner of Audubon Florida’s 2019 Sustainable Rancher of the Year Award and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award.
UF/IFAS waste reduction agent, Randall Penn, who oversees the Sarasota County’s Green Business Partnership, points out that supporting initiatives on the local level has not only benefits economically, but can have positive impacts on the environment. Additionally, and maybe more importantly, we can reduce impacts of waste and resources, such as water and energy usage by supporting environmentally sustainable business and restaurants.
Savor Sarasota is a fantastic opportunity to support Green Business partner restaurants and the local farmers and ranchers they buy from. Check the Green Business Partnership website to see restaurants that are supporting sustainable initiatives.