Florida Food Policy Council

L E A D I N G  F L O R I D A  F O O D

Policy Meetings

  • 30 Sep 2019 9:00 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Follow Up: September Florida Food Forum 
    Animal Welfare 

    If you were unable to attend the meeting, the full presentation is available online here. You can also view the presentation in this pdf.

    To keep the conversation going, please visit our forum on Animal Welfare to add your thoughts and comments.   

    On Friday, September 27th guest speaker James Wildman presented on the topic of Animal Welfare.

    James began his presentation by discussing the Gestation Crate Ban, which was first passed in 2002 and officially took effect on November 5, 2008.

    The ban reads as such: “Inhumane treatment of animals is a concern of Florida citizens. The people of the State of Florida hereby limit the cruel and inhumane confinement of pigs during pregnancy as provided herein. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to confine a pig during pregnancy in an enclosure, or to tether a pig during pregnancy, on a farm in such a way that she is prevented from turning around freely.” – Constitution of the State of Florida, Article X, Section 21.

    James went on to discuss resolutions that would condemn and restrict “battery cage egg production” in certain cities across Florida in 2007. He also introduced the 2011 bill SB 1636, which although failed, would have prohibited tethering or confining of hens and calves in a specified manner.

    Along with egg-production, dairy and cattle farming are some of Florida’s largest animal industries. Yet, in 2018, James noted how, “undercover videos of the horrific mistreatment of two dairy farm workers led to public outcry and led to Public Supermarkets to suspend deliveries of milk from the farms.”

    In fact, he said, “over the past decade the animal-agriculture industry has been behind the introduction of ‘ag-gag’ bills in more than half of all state legislatures across the country. These bills are designed to silence whistleblowers revealing animal abuses on industrial farms.”

    In Florida, ag-gag bill SB 1184 was introduced by Senator Jim Norman in 2012. According to the bill, “A person may not knowingly enter upon any nonpublic area of a farm and, without the prior written consent of the farm’s owner or the owner’s authorized representative, operate the audio or video recording function of any device with the intent of recording sound or images of the farm or farm operation.”

    Although the bill was rejected in both the House and the Senate, James points out how ag-gag laws can the negative aspects of these laws, “Ag-gag laws pose a threat to a wide spectrum of values and issues Americans care about. It’s not just animal rights activists who oppose Ag-gag laws. Besides, animal welfare ag-gag laws threaten: food safety, marketplace transparency, workers’ rights, free speech and environmental protection.”

    James continues his presentation touching on other topics such as the growing alternative dairy industry and plant-based foods market. With these new foods have also come proposed bills restricting the use of certain words such as: meat, beef, burger, sausage, and jerky, unless the product came from animals born, raised and slaughtered in a traditional way.

    As interest in plant-based foods increases a number of restaurants have added these items to their menus. James touched on the positive health benefits of this shift. Following the presentation was a lively discussion.

    James Wildman is the Humane Educator for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF). Since 2007, James has given over five thousand presentations at over a hundred different schools and universities in South Florida, teaching respect and compassion for animals and the environments we share. These presentations have reached over a hundred thousand people, empowering youth and adults to live a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle. In 2017, James was featured in the documentary "Food ReLOVution." James has worked with youth for over 20 years, and in 2006, he obtained a master's degree in Humane Education.

    Disclaimer: The views of the presenters do not represent the views of the Florida Food Policy Council. We are a forum for the offering and sharing of information and encourage diversity and communication within the food system.

  • 30 Jul 2019 8:00 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Follow Up: July Florida Food Forum 

    Cottage Industry 

    If you were unable to attend the meeting, the full presentation is available online here. You can also view the presentation in this pdf. 

    To keep the conversation going, please visit our forum on Cottage Industry here to add your thoughts and comments.   

    On Friday, July 26th, Ann Nyhuis lead the July Florida Food Forum on Cottage Industry. 

    During her presentation, Ann covered many topics including: where to access knowledge on Florida Cottage Food, licensing and training requirements, mandatory labeling practices, and how to stay up to date on cottage regulations. 

    Ann started her talk by outlining Florida’s legislative guidelines regarding cottage foods and important things to consider before starting a cottage business.  

    She spoke about food permits and exemptions from permits, like cottage food operations, then went into detail about approved and prohibited sales locations and methods of sales. 

    Next, Ann dove into an important but sometimes overlooked topic: food labels.  

    “Cottage Food operations may only sell cottage food products which are prepackaged with a label affixed that contains specific information (printed in English). This label must include, ‘Made in cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s Food Safety Regulations.’” 

    In addition, depending on the ingredients in the product, a business might need to apply for a wholesale or manufacturers license through the state. Because of this, Ann emphasized the importance of contacting a consumer service specialist from the Florida Department of Agriculture. 

    The talk continued with a lively question and answer session, where Ann continued to share her exceptional knowledge.  

    Ann’s presentation contained a robust amount of information about Florida’s Cottage Industry and is a great starting point for entrepreneurs looking to start a cottage operation in Florida.

    Local PSA Grower, Ann Nyhuis, expanded her passion to the "glory" of sowing non-gmo seeds in harmony with nature, into best practices (no chemical use) producer of microgreens and specialty plants. Her company is further recognized as the first Certified Naturally Grown producer for eastern Florida, and has won several awards (locally and nationally) on their preserves, jams and jellies. A few are even referenced in the "Friends Share Recipes" dedicated cookbook published by the Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. (All proceeds go towards protection of the Refuge's wildlife and the preservation of the Refuge habitat.) More recently, A Garden's Glory broadened accessibility of its vibrant, nutrient dense superfoods to "Microgreens mini-grower kits" for the home user to effectively enjoy (with ease) PIATTO FRESCO - "health...on a fresh plate"; and, trademarked a new, exclusive line of delicious preserves this year.

    Visit www.agardensglory.com to learn more!

  • 2 Jul 2019 11:00 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Follow Up: June Florida Food Forum

    Food Processing for Small Producers

    If you were unable to attend the meeting, the full presentation is available online here. You can also view the presentation pdf. 

    To keep the conversation going, please visit our forum on Food Sovereignty here to add your thoughts and comments.  

    On Friday, June 28th, Tom Pellizzetti was the guest presenter for the June Florida Food Forum: Food Processing for Small Producers.  During the meeting, Tom spoke on correlations between food sovereignty and food policy, including how food sovereignty could be a response to certain challenges in contemporary agriculture and culture as a whole. 

    Tom began with thoughts on how it is common to focus on the story of the farmer, yet there are many parts to the system that allow meat to get from farm to table. From the farmers, to processors and to sellers, the system is separated into small functional players and major integrated vertical companies. Expertise differs from the farm to the distribution to the sales side, “at the end of the day if you don’t have sales and processing and distribution, you don’t have a farm” he said. 

    “Consumers are really rethinking and revaluating what is value to them in food.”  

    Outlining comparisons between small and large producers, and local versus industrial, Tom noted the transformation in consumer demand and changes in consumer values in recent years. “These are everyday people that have had a transformation or they have been educated about something. Or there has been a life experience that has caused them to rethink food. So they went from not thinking about where the food comes from, and just eating what [they] can…Especially young families. When you have a son or daughter come into your family, all of a sudden it matters what you are feeding them. And all of a sudden people care and are reading ingredients…”  

    Over the last 10 years there has been a mainstreaming of the natural foods movement and big chains are now carrying more natural and local foods, yet still it is largely industrial-based food.  “Even though McDonalds these guys aren’t heroes in our minds, they are attempting to step up to the consumer demands and those incremental changes should be celebrated in a way that they do make a significant impact versus the very small niche markets that don’t have as much impact in the food system, although there is a lot more passion around it” says Tom. “A little change for a big company—say cage-free eggs at McDonalds—makes a significant impact in sustainability.”  

    Tom went on to discuss the Grass-fed Movement and the major shift in processing over the past few decades from small producers to large corporations. He points out the differences between the production systems used and the money concerns that are involved. For small processors, “sustainability in meats is really economic sustainability to keep that business running…When asked “What does sustainability mean to me?” it’s how do we stay in business another week?” 

    Although the small farm movement has picked up momentum, Tom highlights the reality that the majority is still led by Industrial meat. He continued his talk touching on other important issues—labeling laws, processing issues, sustainability efforts and consumer trends, which led to a great question and answer session. 

    Tom earned a BS in Animal Science from UF in 1996 and an MBA from Thunderbird in Arizona in 2001. Tom spent about 12 years working for large food companies (Tyson Foods, Nestle Purina and Schreiber Foods) with roles in (operations, sales and marketing).  Tom became an independent sales agent in 2009, and co-founded a small grass fed beef producer called Arrowhead Beef in 2010. Tom and his business partner bought a very small USDA-inspected harvest facility in NW Florida in 2013. Tom sold his interests in those operations by 2017 and now provides brokerage and management services to natural food companies selling into retail and foodservice channels. Local When We Can! 

  • 4 Jun 2019 5:00 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Follow Up: May Florida Food Forum

    Food Sovereignty

    If you were unable to attend the meeting, the full presentation is available online here.

    To keep the conversation going, please visit our forum on Food Sovereignty here to add your thoughts and comments.

    The May Florida Food Forum was hosted by Dell deChant on Friday, May 31st. Dell spoke on correlations between food sovereignty and food policy, including how food sovereignty could be a response to certain challenges in contemporary agriculture and culture as a whole.

    Dell noted seven relevant concepts of food sovereignty: 1. Focuses on food for people, 2. Values food providers, 3. Localizes food systems, 4. Puts control locally, 5. Builds knowledge and skills, 6. Works with nature, and 7. Agrarianism, further explaining the use of these ideals in food policy.

    “Although largely overlooked and even rejected by the dominant food production system of our culture, these ideals and principles are worth considering by policymakers, especially if we are seeking to combat anthropogenic climate change and cultural instability; and then constructively, to establish stable food systems and resilient ecology,” he said. “It’s kind of a conditional. If we want to take action and establish policy that will be constructed, these are considerations to bear in mind.”

    Dell described this as new territory from a policy sense, and from a theoretic and conceptual sense. He points out that this is, “New in culturally dominant and normative food systems, and in American culture as a whole. How most Americans think about food, acquire and consume food, and value and evaluate food.”

    Going deeper into the 4 basic pillars of food sovereignty: 1. The right to food, 2. Access to productive resources, 3. Agroecological production, and 4. Fair trade and protection of local markets, he poses the ethical and political question: “Should structures be put in place to establish and advance these principals?”

    Dell continued his talk by highlighting important historical and current issues that face food sovereignty, which led to a great question and answer session.

    Dell deChant is a Board member and Co-Chair of the FLFPC Policy Committee. He is the Associate Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida, a Master Instructor and has served at USF since 1986. The author of three books, over 30 articles in professional publications, and chapters in twelve books, deChant’s specialization is religion and contemporary cultures. His current research focuses on religious, literary, and ecological expressions of Agrarianism as they manifest in American popular culture. deChant is Chair of the Environmental Committee of the City of New Port Richey, a founding member of Food Policy Council of Pasco Country, a member of the Florida Food Policy Council, and a member of the Board of Directors of Ecology Florida.

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