Organic Agriculture in the South
In this podcast, Jeff Schahczenski, agricultural and natural resource specialist with NCAT, has a conversation with Marty Mesh of Mesh & Associates of Gainesville, Florida, about the current and future development of organic production in the South.
While certified organic farming and ranching has been expanding nationwide, its growth in the southern United States has been much slower. In this episode, Jeff and Marty explore many reasons for this slower growth.
Marty Mesh is a leader in organic agriculture in the south and nationwide. A pioneer, visionary, and expert in organic agriculture and food systems, Marty began organic production in 1972. Four years later, he helped found the Bellevue Gardens Organic Farm, which made its reputation by growing and selling much-beloved and sought after organic watermelons nationwide. In 1987 he co-founded Florida Organic Growers and Quality Certification Services in Gainesville, Florida, and served as its Executive Director for over 30 years. In 2004, Marty was named one of the 20 “Most Influential People Developing the Organic Industry,” and in 2014 the Organic Trade Association awarded him the “Growing the Organic Industry” Award.
Marty has helped start, and has served on, Boards of many organizations, including: the Organic Certifiers Council (OCC), Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG), Accredited Certifiers Association (ACA), Organic Trade Association (OTA), Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), The Organic Center (TOC), and many others. Most recently, Marty has worked with Farm Aid connecting farmers around the country with legal, financial, and mental health resources, as well as, with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) on a project researching the question, “Is Organic Farming Risky?”
Now, Mesh & Associates, LLC continues the work Marty has been committed to for well over 40 years. The diverse team collaborates on a variety of efforts that include national organic research initiatives and local community food projects, always with a focus on increasing opportunities for organic agriculture and farmers and creating socially just food and agricultural systems.
For more information on this topic, you can contact Jeff Schahczenski directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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