As a guest columnist for Central Florida Ag News magazine, this article of mine was recently published in the February 2016 edition.

If you’ve been anywhere near a grocery store produce section in the last few years, then you’ve likely seen the “Fresh From Florida” label on everything from strawberries and oranges to chicken and seafood. It’s all part of a campaign created by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to encourage consumers to eat products grown, raised, and caught right here in the Sunshine State.

Ag producers who join, pay dues, and participate in the Fresh From Florida program get incentives for their participation, such as reimbursements for a portion of their packaging costs. Recently, FDACS announced that Publix, the popular southeastern grocery store chain with long-time roots in Central Florida, is partnering up during the Florida strawberry season to promote Fresh From Florida berries.

Buying Fresh From Florida produce and other products is good for the consumer as well as the growers. The benefits include:

  • Getting the freshest produce and products possible from a grocery store.
  • Buying from local farmers and others in the ag industry.
  • Supporting Florida’s economy.
  • Eating foods with a smaller carbon footprint because they didn’t need to be shipped very far.
  • Paying less for fresh products and produce.

Basically, buying items with the Fresh From Florida label equates to buying fresh, nutritious products that benefit your community, the producers, and all of Florida. Additionally, FDACS also launched a new initiative that offers Fresh From Florida recipes at to help consumers utilize their Florida-grown products and other fresh produce. Here’s to eating healthy, tasty food (like the Florida strawberry) that benefits all of Florida.

BIO: Michael Martin of Martin Law Office in Lakeland specializes in agriculture and environmental legal representation. A native of Polk County, Mike attended college at Sewanee in Tennessee, before obtaining a doctorate in law from the University of Florida and has tried numerous cases nationwide since that time. Mike also serves as the director of the FFA Foundation and is the author of the novel, The Crestfallen Rose.