For Hometown News
TREASURE COAST -- The Slow Food, Gold & Treasure Coast Chapter will host its second annual farm tour on Feb. 16.
Small-scale, sustainable farms throughout Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties will participate in the Viva 500 U Drive Farm Tour, named in honor of the 500th anniversary of the founding of Florida by European explorers.
The public is invited to tour more than a dozen farms that share the values of slow food and have agreed to participate in the annual event. The tour is free to the public, although donations to the chapter will be accepted.
The Slow Food, Gold & Treasure Coast Chapter offers the farm tour each year to increase awareness, support, knowledge of and appreciation for the farmers who produce local food in a sustainable manner.
"The Viva 500 U Drive Farm Tour is a rare opportunity to be on a farm as sadly, visits to farms have all but disappeared," said T. A. Wyner, who co-founded the Slow Food, Gold & Treasure Coast Chapter.
Ms. Wyner points out that visits were recently a part of our local Florida culture.
"Just a few decades ago, the vast citrus industry drew tourists to board buses to take them through the groves and ultimately to the processing plants to see how the fruit was selected for packing, shipping, exporting and, of course, tourists got to enjoy a fabulous glass of fresh squeezed and non-pasteurized OJ," she said.
To date, 13 farms will open their doors to the public on Feb. 16.
For an e-booklet providing a complete listing of participating farms and their addresses, tour details, a schedule, and suggested places to stop and enjoy lunch, visit www.goo.gl/elH7J, email email@example.com or visit the Slow Food, Gold & Treasure Coast Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SlowFoodGTC).
In addition to tours and conversations with local farmers, visitors can also enjoy U-pick, chefs' demos, wine tasting, and learning about farm animals and backyard gardening tips.
A photo contest will be held and a gift certificate to the Wednesday Fort Pierce Green Market & Food Co-op will be given to the best "farm tour" experience photo snapped by a farm tour participant.
"The farm tour may encourage others to try small-scale farming and that helps us all by preserving agricultural land for agricultural use," said Ms. Wyner. "And the more we support local farmers, the more fresh, local food there'll be."
The Slow Food, Gold & Treasure Coast Chapter is a nonprofit that advocates for food and farming policy that is good for the public, good for the planet, and good for farmers and workers to build healthy communities through connections to local food.
For more information, visit the Slow Food, Gold & Treasure Coast page on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To become a member, please visit www.slowfoodusa.org.