“Your Food, Your Farmer” is a simple mantra, but one that resonates loudly with many of today’s consumers, writes Paul Rusnak on GrowingProduce.com. With an eye on a burgeoning demand for locally grown food produced in an efficient, sustainable, and responsible manner, a new Florida-based group has formed to help deliver to the market what it desires.
The International Responsible Farming Council (IRFC) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of farmers and qualified consumers that aims to shine a light on the use of precision agriculture and its wide-ranging benefits. The growing adoption of horticulture technology products and labor-saving practices are not only helping growers overcome modern-day production and farm management challenges, but also conveying a positive message of stewardship that so many shoppers are seeking.
Nick Larsen, Executive Director of the IRFC, says inspiration to start this organization came from a need to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers in regard to production practices. “In the past few years, technology — especially precision agriculture — has advanced to the point where it allows farmers to be transparent about what they do on a day-to-day basis. With this transparency, we think we can give the consumer confidence in what they are buying.”
Bolstered by support and guidance from Mulberry, FL-based Highland Precision Ag, the IRFC formed. As of this posting, the IRFC featured nine board members, each serving three-year terms. According to Larsen, members were chosen based on their roles and life experience. “The board consists of farmers and qualified consumers,” he says. “A ‘qualified consumer’ is someone who is not a farmer, but also is not ignorant of how farming works. The goal was to find people with jobs or interests in food, labor, sustainability, and the environment. On the farmer side, I wanted to pick a diverse group.”