Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried today launched the Keep Florida Growing webpage, a one-stop online portal with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ COVID-19 food and agriculture-related information for Florida’s farmers and ranchers, consumers, and news media. Fried first announced the new page in a #KeepFloridaGrowing social media video.
“With COVID-19 deeply affecting not only Floridians but also agriculture, our state’s second-largest economic driver, we’re launching a new one-stop page to support consumers and our agriculture community,” said Commissioner Fried. “We’re bringing together Floridians and their food producers in one place to share state and federal resources, ways to buy and sell farm-fresh Florida products, and information on steps we’re taking to keep Florida growing.”
For Agriculture Producers: The Keep Florida Growing page features the Florida Farm To You commodities list, where agriculture producers can have listed their farm-fresh products to be found by buyers, food banks, and consumers. The page also features information on economic assistance, such as SBA loans, USDA assistance, and state emergency bridge loans, as well as state purchasing programs for agricultural commodities, and the latest actions Commissioner Fried and FDACS are taking to support farmers, including emergency orders.
For Consumers: Florida’s consumers will find convenient access to food-related information, including a U-pick farm locator where farm-fresh produce can be found, reducing transportation costs for agriculture producers. Consumers can also find information on the Department’s food assistance programs, including Summer BreakSpot meals for children under 18 during school closures, and Emergency Food Assistance Program locations for low-income families.
For Media: News media can easily find press releases, official guidance, and videos for use in stories about the challenges Florida’s agriculture community is facing during COVID-19.
Commissioner Fried and FDACS are committed to helping farmers move their products to market, and helping Floridians access that nutrition. These efforts include emergency orders and recommendations issued by Fried to temporarily waive labeling requirements for cartons of eggs, and weight and size limits for trucks hauling agricultural products. Commissioner Fried also requested that retailers end consumer purchase limits on milk to reduce milk dumping by dairy processors, and has sought accelerated USDA and SBA relief for Florida farmers.