Florida Local Food Summit
The Florida Local Food Summit, held in Gainesville from September 18-20, gathered many leaders from around the state to discuss how to support each other in efforts to create a resilient local food system in Florida. Topics touched on Sales and Distribution, Marketing, Policy, Services, Purchasing and Knowledge, and panelists represented key groups that have been working together across the state to define the meaning of a farmer cooperative and how all can benefit by continuing to act as a collective. Break-out sessions provided more detailed information on small production laws, farmer’s market displays and sales techniques, best practices for harvesting and packing, and social media, among other topics.
The keynote speaker, Dr. David Shields, inspired the audience to look beyond standard produce so that heritage or heirloom produce can be re-introduced as viable crops in the marketplace. Many in the crowd left with visions of Dancy Tangerines, White Velvet Okra, Key Lime Lettuce and Blue Stem Collards planted in their fields. All the talk of food stimulated appetites, and just in time, the Ark of Taste Dinner was served with Florida products as the center of attention (and plate). The stars of Saturday night included mayhaws, goat cheese, dates, Florida beef, wild gulf shrimp, catfish, okra, datil peppers, Seminole pumpkin, kumquats and persimmon.
The three day event, sponsored by , East End Market and Local Roots Distribution, provided a forum for knowledge sharing, networking opportunities and sources for additional resources. A key take-away for all attendees was the agreement that the collective is stronger than the individual. With collaboration and on-going conversations, we hope Summit discussions will continue to achieve greater food system impact at a statewide level.
For more information on how you can get involved in next year's Local Food Summit, visit www.floridafoodsummit.com