FDACS Creating Online Database for Produce and Seafood
On Monday afternoon, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) announced its effort to establish an online site to facilitate the sale or donation of fresh produce and seafood that might otherwise be left to rot because of the marketplace economics due to COVID-19 impacts.
The need for this clearinghouse is driven by reports that Florida growers are having to leave produce on the vine and in the fields, or dumping milk.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a form for use by Florida growers and aquaculturists. The FDACS urges wide distribution of this form so the department can create an online database that will be up and running by the end of this week.
The form is to be completed by the grower and returned to the email address listed at the bottom of the form. It’s important for growers to include whether the items are for sale or for donation.
In addition, Fried reported she has reached out to Wal-Mart and Publix with requests to either eliminate the restrictions for number of Florida-grown items (such as milk) or increase the number of items that can be made in one purchase. Fried’s team is also exploring other avenues for Florida-grown products, including the Florida Department of Corrections and school districts.
The FDACS is also using funds for this outreach that would have been used for trade show promotions to roll out “Keep Florida Growing” public service announcements and social media outreach.