Fresh Take

Fresh Take

Fresh Take is your weekly roundup of all things related to organic and sustainable living. Join Florida Organic Growers staff and guest experts as we discuss everything you need to know about sustainable living, organic agriculture, and how to make the best lifestyle choices that benefit you and the environment. So if you’re an eco-warrior, a dedicated farmer, or just someone looking to make more conscious decisions, tune in every Monday to get your Fresh Take.


July 19, 2021 34 min

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding climate change. In this episode, Mary-Elizabeth Estrada and Dr. Ram Balasubramanian discuss three climate myths: ?

Myth 1 - Beef consumption is bad for climate change. ?

Meat and dairy specifically account for around 14.5% of global greenhouse emissions. By using sustainable practices when producing meat and dairy products, greenhouse emissions can be reduced.?

Myth 2 - Aquatic ecosystems c...

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There are a lot of myths surrounding food safety. In this episode, our guest speaker Dr. Schneider breaks down the truth about these often-heard food safety suggestions: 


-  Always wash your fruits and vegetables, even when pre-washed.

- Wash raw chicken before cooking. 

- Freezing food kills harmful bacteria. 

- It’s okay to thaw meat on the counter. 

- Check if your meat is done with a thermometer. 

- You don’t need to deep clean a gr...

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June 14, 2021 26 min

Gardening in summer can be a challenge, especially with the Florida heat. But if you have plan, growing a summer garden is possible. 

In this episode, our guest speaker Dr. Rodriguez discusses: 

- starting a garden in summer, 

- what to grow in your garden, 

- purchasing seeds and seedlings,  

- and methods for growing in different areas. 

When creating a plan for your garden, start by deciding what types of crops you want to grow.  UF/I...

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June 7, 2021 30 min

In this episode, we have a conversation with Dr. Tatiana Sanchez about strategies for keeping organic gardens healthy. 

Dr. Sanchez gives tips on:

- understanding and maintaining soil health,

- strategies for preventing disease,

- managing pests in your soil, 

- and how to correctly manage plant nutrients in your garden.

When starting your garden, it’s important to begin with a soil test. Once you know what is in your soil, you will be a...

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Since COVID-19, farms across the nation have had to adapt to new and unpredictable circumstances. In Florida alone, more than $500 million dollars in crop losses were reported due to the pandemic. 

In this episode, our guest speaker Logan Petrey discusses: 

- how COVID-19 has affected her farm, 

- steps that have been taken to increase food safety on the farm,  

- and general food safety tips going forward. 

Although the supply chain wa...

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We welcome Dr. Katie Sieving who is an expert in avian ecology and behavior and holds a PhD in Ecology, Ethology, & Evolution. 

 In this episode, Dr. Sieving discusses: 

  • how to identify birds, 
  • methods that can attract birds to your garden, 
  • why birds are important for gardens, 
  • and how to deter birds from feeding on crops.  
  • Depending on where you live, you will encounter different birds in your garden. To become better at identifyi...

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    Gardening provides several health benefits. Among them, our guest speaker explains how designing and nurturing your garden can contribute to your self-care. 

    Ms. Marewski first became interested in sacred gardens through active meditation, which is a style of meditation that advocates movement followed by silence.  

    She explains that what we are doing physically transcends to what we are doing mentally, and that active meditation tra...

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    Do you know how perceptions about environmental issues in politics have changed over time in Florida? How can we achieve bipartisan support on these important issues? Dr. Ram Balasubramanian and Ryan Smart provide some background on these questions and suggest strategies moving forward. 

    Before 2010, environmental issues such as protecting Florida’s everglades and springs, conserving natural lands, rivers and beaches, and taking on ...

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    March 22, 2021 29 min

    Our guests answer questions such as: How are Florida’s springs being protected? How do large companies like Seven Springs receive permits to take water for bottling purposes? What can you do to help? We cover these topics and more.

     With over 700 springs, Florida has the largest concentration of fresh water springs in the world. More than 90 percent of people in Northeast and Central Florida use groundwater, which comes from an aqui...

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    March 1, 2021 21 min

    Is the food we consume safe from COVID-19? How are farmers making sure it is safe to eat the fruits and vegetables they grow for all of us? Dr. Keith Schneider, food safety expert and a professor at the University of Florida’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Department answers these questions and provides more information about our food system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Dr. Schneider explains how farm and farmworkers are threate...

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    On this episode of Fresh Take we welcome Dr. Taylor Clem, the Alachua County Environmental and Community Horticulture Agent. 

    Tune in to learn how you can attract hummingbirds to your garden! 

    Dr. Clem will help our listeners

  • identify the ruby throated hummingbird, 
  • give landscaping tips on how to attract the beautiful bird,
  • and inform you of the benefits these pollinators provide to our ecosystem and to our own well being!
  • For more from...

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    June 22, 2020 20 min

    On this Fresh Take episode we welcome Dr. Ram Balasubramanian and Dr. Stephen Forbes. Tune in to listen to our experts share about genetically modified mosquitoes scheduled to be released in Florida and Texas.

    Dr. Forbes, an expert in microbiology and genetics, holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (Immunology and Infectious diseases track), while Dr. Balasubramanian holds degrees in Crop Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, and Ecologi...

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    June 8, 2020 23 min

    Welcome Amy Vu and Dr. JC Rodriguez! We discuss the Asian Giant Hornet “murder hornet” with Amy, Extension coordinator for the Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab (HBREL) @ UF, and Dr. JC Rodriguez, appreciated member of our staff. 

    Amy and JC are both passionate about bees, both started their bee keeping journey during college. JC shares with us his experience handling Africanized “killer” bees, and the bad reputation around t...

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    Join our talk with Tripp Pomeroy CEO of Sweetwater Organic Coffee! We chat about certified Fair Trade, certified Organic, and sustainable coffee. We also touch on the unprecedented times we are living in along with Tripp’s efforts to adapt and protect business, people, and earth!
    Sweetwater Beginnings
    In 2004, Tripp was given the opportunity to buy-in and co-own, Café Campesino in Americus, GA. Tripp mentions this opportunity being ...

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    Today, we welcome back Ram, CEO of Quality Certification Services (QCS) and an experienced Food Safety Auditor and trainer on various food safety topics. Join us to learn more about how to safely shop during unprecedented times!
    COVID-19 is not a foodborne illness!

    Sanitizers vs. Disinfectants:
       - Sanitizer are substance that significantly reduces the germ population, but doesn't destroy or eliminate all the germs. Typically, s...

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    Join Ram, CEO of Quality Certification Services, while he talks about the financial impact of COVID-19 on Florida's agriculture and the financial resources available to farmers. 

    1. Federal Assistance administered by SBA

    1.1 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

    1.2 Economic Injury Disaster Loan - unable to accept new application 

    2. Assistance not administered by SBA 

    2.1 CARES act: 

    State of Florida

    Direct-to-Consumer Sellers and Online...

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    April 20, 2020 21 min

    On this episode we welcome Quality Certification Services (QCS) staff to talk about Organic Certification during the COVID19 pandemic. Our panelists are Beth Rota, policy and quality assurance manager, Brian Rakita, inspection manager, and Ram, CEO of QCS.
    Ram shares with us that the agricultural sector is holding strong, with some operations even doubling sales since the lock-down started. He also shares his work linking small and ...

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    March 23, 2020 23 min

    Our guest today is Alane Humrich from Gainesville based Community Weatherization Coalition! Tune in to learn about their work and to find out how you can save water and electricity.

    Fresh Take is your weekly dose of all things related to organic and sustainable living. Join Florida Organic Growers staff and guest experts as we discuss everything you need to know about sustainable living, organic agriculture, and how to make the best...

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    March 9, 2020 24 min

    Second part is here! We continue our conversation with Dan and Adam regarding organic certification. On this episode, we touch on common misconceptions surrounding organic certification, transitional organic, and a final rundown on the certification process!

    Fresh Take is your weekly dose of all things related to organic and sustainable living. Join Florida Organic Growers staff and guest experts as we discuss everything you need to...

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    March 2, 2020 23 min

    On today's episode, Dan Zaman and Adam Maxwell chat with us regarding what it takes to get certified organic, what the label means, and the level of scrutiny they follow. Get your questions answered HERE!  Dan and Adam have the appropriate background and extensive training on the certification process, they understand what is behind the label and have complete knowledge on the current NOP regulation. Part 2 to follow next week!


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