‘Small farming’ focus of series

Small farms in Florida and across the nation need help that FAMU hopes to provide.
Photo Courtesy of FAMU Forward.

Florida A&M’s School of the Environment and College of Agriculture and Food Sciences have teamed up to bring the community back to back seminars centered on local small farming.

The “Enabling a Thriving Sustainability” session started on Sunday with a panel discussion that focused on the origin of organic foods and what we as a community can do to become more involved in the lifestyle.

The series featured John Ikerd, a graduate of the University of Missouri and internationally recognized advocate for small farmers. He is a public speaker on economics and agriculture.

Ikerd has written six books, including the critically acclaimed “Small Farms are Real Farms Sustaining People Through Agriculture.” He was also commissioned for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations to write its regional report “Family Farms of North America,” in 2014, according to his website www.johnikerd.com.

Ikerd spoke on the importance of growing healthy foods in our communities and the politics that surround doing so.

“All we have to do to create a sustainable, ecological economy is to restore the fundamental principles of classical capitalism and classical democracy,” he said.

Ikerd explained how going back to the principles that were originally laid out by our forefathers would ultimately bring us back to a time when we put our environment first.

“Classical capitalism was about ethical and moral constraints that you out on an economy so that it would function for the greater good of society as a whole.”

The three-part series ended with a panel session dedicated to the importance of the role that we as a people and small farmers play in the farming industry. “We have to invest in the greater common good of society and we have to fulfill our responsibility to future generations,” Ikerd said.

Enabling a Thriving Sustainability is a prelude to what is to come for the annual FAMU 2019 Capacity Building Series, which is aimed at expanding students’ international knowledge of natural resources and food systems.

According to the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences website, Rural development and small farms will conduct programs in four major areas:  Rural development, Natural resources and community forestry & agroforestry, Small farms, and Family and consumer science.

The programs mission is to “enhance the social and economic well-being of rural and small farm communities through research that facilitates education outreach and policy decision-making.”  

The Capacity Building series is an ongoing effort by the FAMU Statewide Small Farm Program.