Spiny lobster, endive, and cauliflower are all locally grown fresh products available in the month of December. And there are many more. To increase regional farm visibility, a trademark logo and marketing campaign, SWFL Fresh, was created to identify locally grown products more easily and to bring more attention to local growers. The initiative is a partnership among Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and Blue Zones Project Southwest Florida. It was made possible through a three-year Regional Food System Partnerships grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
The SWFL Fresh brand supports the development of new markets for farmers, increases public knowledge of healthy, local food sources, and connects food producers to consumers. One goal includes encouraging healthy food choices among socially disadvantaged populations.
On National Hunger Action Day, held September 15, SWFL Fresh alongside the American Heart Association participated in a cooking demonstration at the Misión Peniel food distribution center in Immokalee, teaching how to cook healthy food with fresh, homegrown, and locally sourced ingredients. The hope is to continue these ongoing monthly events.
“Together we aim to change food and health attitudes and behaviors, equipping individuals with new skills for healthy living,” says Andreali Moron Vasquez, community impact director with SWFL American Heart Association.
To find out what area fishermen and farmers are harvesting and where you can find the fruits of their labor (and what other fresh food products are available in December), visit the SWFL Fresh website.