Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sarasota as Organic Hub: Steve Suau at CONA Feb. 9

How Sarasota could be a 
hub of organic food production - 
an economic development initiative
  Sarasota - At the February 9, 2015 meeting of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, Inc. (CONA), their guest speaker, Stephen Suau, will present a vision for an economic development initiative that describes how Sarasota County might become a hub for organic agriculture to help meet local food demands, as well as the increasing regional and national market demands, for organic foods. Although there are several legitimate and unique challenges to agriculture in the county, there are some key assets that could form a foundation for such an initiative.
   Ironically, Sarasota once was an important center for agriculture due to the innovative methods and practices that were developed or introduced by Bertha Palmer on her vast land holdings in Sarasota County. Suau will present a path that could lead Sarasota to an important role in modern food production, one that is responsive to the healthiest and most demanded food products at the markets of today.  
   Suau is a professional engineer specializing in watershed management, planning, and restoration. He also is a small business owner and partner in Progressive Water Resources, which is headquartered in the county. Their work includes assisting agricultural operations manage water resources throughout Florida, including one of the largest organic farms in the United States, Lady Moon Farms. Additionally, Suau is working with his brother, Anthony, a Pulitzer Prize and Emmy winning photojournalist, on his upcoming documentary film, Organic Rising, on the organic food movement in the United States.   
   Suau has co-chaired the Sarasota County original environmentally sensitive lands advisory committee and the Manatee County Chamber of Commerce green business committee. He has served as technical water advisor to the Florida Century Commission, the statewide storm water technical advisory committee, and the technical advisory committee for the Charlotte Harbor Estuary Program. He is the former storm water director for Sarasota County and served as executive director of the Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Business Center. 
   CONA meetings are open to the public as well as members of the seventy-two associations the organization represents and its individual members.  
   CONA meets regularly on second Mondays of the month (except July and August) at 7:00 p.m. at the Sarasota Garden Club, 1131 Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota, which is at the intersection of Tamiami Trail, south of the Municipal Auditorium. Parking and the entrance are reached from Van Wezel Way. A social precedes the meeting.
   More information about CONA is available at http://www.conasarasota.org/

After the CONA meeting, Steve McAllister shared his impressions of Steve Suau's talk.


  1. I think this idea is BRILLIANT...
    First, organic farming is non-toxic, so no harmful chemicals are used, which otherwise would pollute the land, groundwater, streams, lakes and eventually the ocean. and it's the healthiest foods for humans and animals!
    Second, organic farming and produce is skyrocketing. This is a very lucrative "field" to get into. Whole Foods sold more than $5 billion in organic foods last year, and CostCo will sell almost $6 billion in the year to come. This includes vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, eggs, and cheese/dairy products! Organic farming is an idea that has arrived!(Again!)
    Third, the endless development of residential communities, without any diversity, will soon turn the west coast of Florida into something that we all detest, the East coast of Florida. A sensible plan, combining the thoughtful planning of communities, as well maintaining and interspersing organic farmlands, (which are a big part of the heritage of this area, as well as the charm), would be an ideal that everyone would work for. Nobody wants this area to turn into Fort Lauderdale!

    1. Thanks for your comment. If you have any interest in developing your thoughts in a longer piece, we'd be happy to consider it for posting here. We can be reached at sarasotavision@gmail.com