2018 Farm City Luncheon Showcases Martin County Agriculture
PALM CITY, Fla. - One Martin, a non-profit devoted to cultivating an informed citizenry and building a prosperous community, sponsored the first annual Martin County Farm City Luncheon this November at Kai-Kai Farm in Indiantown to celebrate the essential role agriculture plays in the economic health of the region.
Adam Putnam, Florida Secretary of Agriculture, sent a personalized video greeting in which he urged attendees from both the agricultural, business and nonprofit spheres to work together to connect urban and farming communities in order to propel Florida forward.
Keynote speaker Brandon Tucker, a Governing Board Member of the South Florida Water Management District, addressed the myth that agriculture is not regulated in Florida. While emphasizing farmers’ inherent interest in environmental protection and best management practices for their land, he also explained the multitude of regulations and regulatory bodies that have to be satisfied before land can be used for any purpose.
Moderating a lively panel discussion, One Martin Board Member Mitch Hutchcraft, Vice President of Real Estate for King Ranch and Consolidated Citrus, underscored the important notion that a healthy environment, a strong economy and sustainable agriculture are not mutually exclusive. “We agree on the essentials,” Hutchcraft said, “including a healthy local environment, economic vitality, environmental protection, and quality of life. This Farm City event offers members of our community from all walks of life an opportunity to come together and discuss both business and environmental goals.”
Panelists posed intriguing questions to the 120 attendees. Crystal Stiles, Director of the Office of Economic Development of Florida Power & Light, asked, “How do we leverage what is unique about our community?” Rob Ranieri, CEO of House of Hope, asked, “How do we prepare our workforce for job opportunities so that the people we assist at House of Hope are no longer in need of our services?” Tom Hurley, Chairman of the Board of Becker Holding Corporation, questioned, “Now that the citrus business in Martin County is in jeopardy, how will we replace the economic vitality of that agricultural sector?”
The lunch served at One Martin’s Farm City event provided a perfect example of the role of agriculture in Martin County. Carl Frost, One Martin Board member and co-owner of Kai-Kai Farms – along with his wife Diane and their staff - created a three course meal using products grown on their farm or sourced from local producers, including their delicious signature Kai-Kai Seminole Pumpkin Bread Pudding.
Rick Hartman, President of One Martin’s Board and Owner of Hartman Real Estate and Old River Cattle Company, invited the audience to continue sharing their expertise in building a community that values both economic diversity and environmental protection. “My family has been here for generations and we love Martin County,” he said “The collaboration of the people gathered here today and the discussions we’re having – connecting our rural and urban communities – is a great start to helping us build a more prosperous Martin County.”
One Martin is grateful to the speaker’s panel, attendees and sponsors who supported the event including: Becker Tree Farm; Caulkins Citrus LTD; Shadow Lake Groves; Whiticar Boat Works; Harbor Community Bank; Captec Engineering; Florida Farm Bureau and Oceana Coffee....