42 episodes

Fresh Take is your weekly roundup of all things related to organic and sustainable living. Join Florida Organic Growers staff and guest experts as we discuss everything you need to know about sustainable living, organic agriculture, and how to make the best lifestyle choices that benefit you and the environment. So if you’re an eco-warrior, a dedicated farmer, or just someone looking to make more conscious decisions, tune in every Monday to get your Fresh Take.

Fresh Take Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers, INC.

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Fresh Take is your weekly roundup of all things related to organic and sustainable living. Join Florida Organic Growers staff and guest experts as we discuss everything you need to know about sustainable living, organic agriculture, and how to make the best lifestyle choices that benefit you and the environment. So if you’re an eco-warrior, a dedicated farmer, or just someone looking to make more conscious decisions, tune in every Monday to get your Fresh Take.

    Gardening for Attracting Wild Birds

    Gardening for Attracting Wild Birds

    We welcome Dr. Katie Sieving who is an expert in avian ecology and behavior and holds a PhD in Ecology, Ethology, & Evolution. 
     In this episode, Dr. Sieving discusses: 
    how to identify birds, methods that can attract birds to your garden, why birds are important for gardens, and how to deter birds from feeding on crops.  Depending on where you live, you will encounter different birds in your garden. To become better at identifying them, find a safe spot to visit on a repeated basis, so you can observe birds, take notes on their behaviors and other characteristics. Over time, you’ll learn about how they react to their environments, what’s important to them, what they’re afraid of and what they love to eat.  
    To attract birds to your garden, it’s important to have cover to shade smaller birds from larger predators and to have diversity in your plants to satisfy the different functions the birds are looking for. 
    Among the many benefits of having birds in your garden, pest management is one of the best, since they feed on many harmful crop pests. Another important role birds have is that they serve as indicators of a healthy environment. Organic producers know that the presence of birds means that there is biodiversity on the farm. This is because biodiversity is not as noticeable on farms where there has been high pesticide use. 
    Although having birds in your garden can be beneficial, for people who grow certain fruits and vegetables, they can be a nuisance. Dr. Sieving explains some of the strategies for deterring birds from foraging such as using sounds or netting. 
    For more information on Dr. Sieving, visit her website on UF/IFAS. Learn more about her research on using sunflowers to attract birds and research on farmers’ opinions about bird conservation and pest management on organic and conventional north Florida farms. 
    To learn more about identifying birds, check out UF/IFAS bird and farm research leaflets or visit the Alachua Audubon Society website. 
    Other great resources include the Audubon Birds App, National Audubon Society Field Guides and the eBook “What the Robin Knows” by Job Young.  
    Support the show (https://foginfo.org/donate/)

    • 25 min
    Sacred Gardens - Gardening for Meditation

    Sacred Gardens - Gardening for Meditation

    Gardening provides several health benefits. Among them, our guest speaker explains how designing and nurturing your garden can contribute to your self-care. 
    Ms. Marewski first became interested in sacred gardens through active meditation, which is a style of meditation that advocates movement followed by silence.  
    She explains that what we are doing physically transcends to what we are doing mentally, and that active meditation translates to the garden in a way of being totally present. “That dialogue is about the dialogue with the plants and what’s at hand. What does my garden need? What are the plants saying?” 
    Ms. Marewski explains her process for gardening and the meditation process that goes with each step of the nurturing process. Emphasizing that it’s not just feeding our bodies with good organic food but also about nurturing our soul.  
    There are many types of gardens that bring joy. Gardens can be created using raised beds or tucked into landscaping and various types of plants can be grown. What is most important is to focus on what resonates most for you—whether that be an edible garden, a medicinal garden, or a pollinator garden with lots of colorful annual and perennial flowers.  
    As flowers are the highest expression of a plant's energy, Ms. Marewski encourages letting plants go to flower and consuming edible flowers in your diet.  

    She also explains some of the unique uses for edible flowers: 
    Begonia encourages letting go Borage brings courage and optimism  Nasturtium brings balance from excess mental activity which is good for insomnia Sunnhemp is the energy of the sun so it brightens our day  For those who have issues with insomnia and sleep, she recommends Passionflower and St. Johns Wart which are both calming.  
    When starting your garden, she also notes the importance of using Organic soil, and explains the differences between Organic, Hybrid and GMO seeds.  
    Follow Gabriele’s adventures at StorySkyrts.com and learn more about Paradise Farms Organic, a showcase 5-acre certified organic farm specializing in micro-greens, baby greens, over 52 varieties of edible flowers, mushrooms, tropical fruits and vegetables located in Miami. 
    Support the show (https://foginfo.org/donate/)

    • 26 min
    Environmental Issues Should Not Be a Political Football

    Environmental Issues Should Not Be a Political Football

    Do you know how perceptions about environmental issues in politics have changed over time in Florida? How can we achieve bipartisan support on these important issues? Dr. Ram Balasubramanian and Ryan Smart provide some background on these questions and suggest strategies moving forward. 
    Before 2010, environmental issues such as protecting Florida’s everglades and springs, conserving natural lands, rivers and beaches, and taking on polluters, was supported by both our Republican and Democratic representatives. However, Mr. Smart notes that since then, there has been much less support from both parties on taking meaningful action to protect Florida’s environment. 
    Although Floridians are clear at the ballot box that they want their tax dollars to be spent providing more protections for the environment, many believe that the will of the people is not being upheld by the politicians in Tallahassee.  
    Mr. Smart says that this is due to numerous reasons such as influence from lobbyists and large industries, but especially because of a lack of regulatory action from government agencies to enforce meaningful protections, which has led to disasters such as the recent Piney Point disaster. 
    As 70% of nitrogen pollution across the State comes from agriculture, improving this and other agricultural practices is an important place to start. Our speakers discuss how policymakers can provide more resources to help the economic viability of farmers transitioning to Organic and sustainable practices, which would have a great impact on Florida’s environment.  
    To reduce pollution in Florida’s waterways, stronger implementation and improvement of Best Management Practices (BMP) is another actionable step that can be taken right away.   
    Dr. Balasubramanian explains that organizations like FOG and the Florida Springs Council play an important role in advocating for policies and politicians that protect the environment while educating citizens who must support these initiatives on an individual basis as well.  
    Stay up-to-date on policy issues and how you can advocate by visiting the Florida Springs Council and FOG websites.  
    Support the show (https://foginfo.org/donate/)

    • 27 min
    Are Florida Springs Under Threat?

    Are Florida Springs Under Threat?

    Our guests answer questions such as: How are Florida’s springs being protected? How do large companies like Seven Springs receive permits to take water for bottling purposes? What can you do to help? We cover these topics and more.
     With over 700 springs, Florida has the largest concentration of fresh water springs in the world. More than 90 percent of people in Northeast and Central Florida use groundwater, which comes from an aquifer, as their water supply, making the springs a reflection of what is in our drinking water.
    Two of the main threats facing the springs are water quality and water quantity.  Thus, controlling pollutants from contaminating the springs and how much water is taken out of the springs is key.
    According to Mr. Smart, despite Florida’s water use permit system, its implementation leaves a lot to be desired. With the recent Seven Springs case, a number of these issues are highlighted such as the ease of which permits can be received. 
    To receive a permit, three factors must be taken into account: 1) there must be a reasonable beneficial use, 2) the renewing use would not encroach upon the legal rights of others, and 3) public opinion. 
    Mr. Haskins explains the details about how the Seven Springs Water Company’s permit to take out nearly 1 million gallons of water per day was approved by the Suwanee Water Management District.
    The speakers also gave some strategies on how to help:
    -       Stay involved in the process.
    -       Attend Water Management District public meetings.
    -       Support organizations that monitor the springs.
    -       Reduce your bottled water usage.
    If you would like to learn more about what the Florida Springs Council is doing, follow this link to their website.
    Support the show (https://foginfo.org/donate/)

    • 29 min
    COVID-19 and Food Safety in Farms

    COVID-19 and Food Safety in Farms

    Is the food we consume safe from COVID-19? How are farmers making sure it is safe to eat the fruits and vegetables they grow for all of us? Dr. Keith Schneider, food safety expert and a professor at the University of Florida’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Department answers these questions and provides more information about our food system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Dr. Schneider explains how farm and farmworkers are threatened by the COVID-19 and what is being done. 
    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that there is no evidence that food or food packaging facilitates the transmission of COVID-19. However, Dr. Schneider reminds us that it is always important to follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods
    One of the biggest production and distribution challenges farmers must deal with is their farm workers getting sick. Many produce farms are small operations run by one or two managers and a minimal crew. Thus, the safety of our food system begins on the farm and it can potentially be compromised if the workforce is out sick and cannot adequately perform the required tasks to grow and harvest crops. 
    To protect workers and practice proper food safety at the farm level, Dr. Schneider recommends increasing the use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as masks, goggles, gloves, etc., as well as to emphasize the use of suitable handwashing, sanitation and personal hygiene. Other recommendations include more distance between workers, avoid clustering during breaktime, “quarantining” people that regularly work together, and the use of barriers like plexiglass so there is less transfer of respiratory droplets.
    Dr. Schneider also gives strategies on how to improve farm food safety:
    -       Put as much distance between workers as possible.
    -       Workers should continue to wash hands as they did before.
    -       Workers need to self-report illness and not go to work if they are sick.
    -       Administer temperature checks, although this may be ineffective as the virus can be asymptomatic.
    After COVID we see that keeping workers safe the top priority. Going forward, continuing with a high focus on sanitation is the best way to keep the workforce healthy, which will help businesses stay open longer.
    If you would like to learn more about CDC recommendations on food safety during COVID-19, visit here.

    Support the show (https://foginfo.org/donate/)

    • 21 min
    Attracting Hummingbirds to your Garden

    Attracting Hummingbirds to your Garden

    On this episode of Fresh Take we welcome Dr. Taylor Clem, the Alachua County Environmental and Community Horticulture Agent. 
    Tune in to learn how you can attract hummingbirds to your garden! 
    Dr. Clem will help our listeners
    identify the ruby throated hummingbird, give landscaping tips on how to attract the beautiful bird,and inform you of the benefits these pollinators provide to our ecosystem and to our own well being!For more from Dr. Clem check out our Florida Friendly Yards episode!
    Dr. Taylor Clem from UF IFAS Alachua county extension services joins us to talk about the Florida Yard and Neighborhood program. Tune in to find out about the 9 principles of Florida Friendly Yards, and other best practices you can implement at home! How to introduce this practices to your HOA ... and more! 

    Taylor Clem-
    Alachua County - Northeast 
    Specialty: Environmental Horticulture
    2800 NE 39th Ave
    Gainesville, FL 32609-2658
    Tel: (352) 955-2402 Fax: (352) 334-0122

    Support the show (https://foginfo.org/donate/)

    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Pluff87 ,

Relevant and Informative!

Such a great podcast that’s very informative and relevant. Many of the guests on the show discuss important issues and ideas relevant to Floridians.

Robin Lavitch ,

Educational and Informative

Very educational and informative information!

CareaboutEarth ,


Oh wow. What a clarity on some of the issues that I was not clear about. I always wondered what the issues are with GMO. As Floridian I always worried and concerned about water quality. The springs that I used to swim is now infested with algae. We take Mother Earth for granted. Great podcast.

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