Apr 29, 2020
Consumers connected with farms in southwest Florida with new website

Southwest Florida agricultural producers are encouraged to become familiar with the new “SWFL Fresh” brand website, which is one step closer to becoming live.

Following is an update from Jessica Mendes Ryals, sustainable food systems agent with the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension, Collier County.

“Many of you have been involved with the development of this brand over the past year and it seems there’s never been a more important time to connect consumers with direct-to-market producers than with what’s happening with the state of Agriculture during COVID-19.

Many other industry organizations such as FDACS, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Associated, UF/IFAS Extension and countless others are working tirelessly to get comprehensive lists of producers in front of consumers. We believe launching the website now will be complimentary to those efforts. The more eyes we can get on you all, the better.

Creating your farm profile

Temporary Link: http://sny.eaf.myftpupload.com/

We want to give you all a chance to input your farm information before we launch this week.

Scroll down to “Growers: Register now.”

Attached are directions for creating a profile. It easy, intuitive, and will take you 10 minutes to complete.

The goal is connecting consumers with local farms. So indicate how and where you sell your products; e.g.: 3rd Street Farmers Market; On the Farm; Farm Stand; Retail; Wholesale; Chefs; Catering; Private Events, etc. Give the profile as much information as you can so it’s easy for people to find you.

You will have control over your profile and can update as much as you’d like to include new products, changes in operation hours or locations.

Who can have a profile on the website?

The SWFL Fresh brand that was developed to encourage southwest Florida residents and visitors to choose food and beverages sourced from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties. The website and brand is geared toward small to mid-size growers selling direct-to-market products.

However, this brand may include restaurants featuring local foods on their menus, products made in the region using local ag products. Large agricultural producers are welcome to participate because we believe that all scale of local food production is important to our diverse food system. Again, the goal is for the public and consumers interested in local food to have a way to find you.

What’s the next step?

This has been an ongoing and collective effort spearheaded by the SWFL Regional Planning Council and multiple people and organizations including our regional producers, UF/IFAS Extension, EatLocaLee, FGCU and many others.

Many of you will have questions about who can use this logo? How to use it? What kind of accountability will there be? What’s the definition of “local”? What’s the definition of “swfl region”? What if your farm is outside of the counties listed but you sell to consumers in the five-county region? What if your product is sold outside of the region but produced here; can you still use the logo? And more…

These are important and will be addressed in the coming weeks and months. But for now, we think it’s important to put your names and products in front of the public. We understand that accountability, in particular, will need to be addressed. Once things calm down a bit, we will address these as a group and will look for your input and direction.

We are still figuring out a few issues on the site, such as the ‘what’s in season’ page. Let us know if something looks off to you.

We are also in the process of creating downloadable logos to use on your websites, product stickers, t-shirts, window decals for your trucks, and banners for farmers market – the production of some of these items may be slowed to the global pandemic, but we can get them out to you as soon as possible.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have suggestions and questions.”

– Jessica Mendes RyalsSustainable Food Systems Agent UF/IFAS Extension, Collier County


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