The south west Florida small farmer network: a participatory and regional approach to diversified horticultural production extension

Robert Kluson, Roy Beckford, Robert Halman


The South West Florida Small Farmers Network (SWFSFN) is one of the new farmer-to-farmer networks supported by the UF/IFAS/FAMU Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Program. These working groups have been developed to meet the unique education needs of Florida small farmers. For example, the successful models for sustainable horticultural small farming in Florida and across the nation include highly diversified agroecosystems. The teaching of crop and enterprise diversification provides benefits for sustained production (Gliessman, 2006), marketing (Bandele, 1999). and lowering economic risk (USDA/RMA, 2008). These agroecosystems require increased knowledge of different crops, enterprises, and marketing compared to past single or limited commodity-based operations. This paper describes the approach and activities implemented by the SWFSFN to provide this information, research, and support.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283