The second annual Start Farming: Panel Discussion and Farmers Market featured Duval County Farmers showcasing both products and guidance to the public. This event began as a way to glean insight from the farmers in our county that have gone through the challenge of starting a farming endeavor. Panelists in our 2018 event also featured insight from Natasha Parks, lead for the Homestead Entrepreneurs program at Duval County IFAS, helping residents navigate the laws and requirements behind selling homemade products.
The 2018 panelists included Freddie Bacon, Bacon's Select Produce; Michael Leach, Bee Friends Farm; Val Herrmann, White Harvest Farms & Farmers Market; and Natasha Parks, Homestead Entrepreneurs, Duval IFAS.
Bacon's Select Produce discussed their long standing participation in local farmers markets and how that helped provide name recognition for networking with local chefs and restaurants. Michael Leach of Bee Friends Farm discussed their unique land use needs. Bee hives can be transported from area farms and help pollinate ag areas while creating several varieties of local honey. Bee Friends offers several products made from bees including pollinator services. Val Herrmann of White Harvest Farm discussed their most recent activities to convert the farm into organic production. This transition is facilitated by a conservation grant from the NRCS. Natasha Parks discussed the many things graduates of her Homestead Entrepreneurs courses have learned and how upcoming courses can help those interested in understanding the laws that govern at home food production.
The farmers market portion of the event was a time for farmers, potential farmers, and the public to ask questions from agency personnel that offer conservation funding assistance to growers and producers. We had representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Service - Florida (NRCS-USDA), Duval County Agricultural Extension, and information from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD).
Learn more about the Duval County farmers making a difference in both urban and rural parts of the district in local, sustainable food production today. #golo #jaxsoilandwater