Suncoast Food Alliance
John Matthews founded the Suncoast Food Alliance (SFA) in the Sarasota area around 2008. He describes himself as “a former pitchman for Monsanto”. He left that life about 13 years ago and now works with growers south of the Skyway Bridge to organize and bring their product to market. In my one-hour phone chat with him, I spoke with a passionate man committed to making amends and doing things right by our local farmers and the consumers who need healthy, chemical-free food. John works with some larger farms but is intent on supporting the smaller operations that don’t have the funds or time to move their produce.
Due to StPete.LocallyGrown.Net’s mission to sell only chemical-free vegetables, John has assured me that he won’t be selling us any vegetables that are not chemical-free. Although his organization does represent some conventional growers, John said he is working to get the farmers to move more towards organic practices. Some of them are slowly moving in that direction due to consumer demands. Some of them can’t go totally chemical free due to size and logistics. I am eager to learn more about this so we can educate ourselves and keep you, our treasured customers, apprised.
An article in the first edition of The Local Dirt (since defunct), published in January 2012, has an article entitled “Farm to Fork” which includes much on John’s background and his mission surrounding the Suncoast Food Alliance. It’s a great article and a wonderful new publication for the Tampa Bay Area. I am placing my trust in John Matthews and I ask that you do the same.
Tina Levy, Market Manager
FARMS WE BUY FROM THROUGH SFA:
Worden Farm sells organic veggies at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg and, occasionally, they are able to spare product to distribute through Suncoast Food Alliance (SFA).
“Aloe Organics” launched their organic vegetable farm production in Arcadia, Florida, in the Fall of 2012 on 5 acres and are now selling through SFA.
King Family Farm focuses primarily on growing main crops which are chemical-free peaches and blueberries. They grow the majority of their blueberries in Myakka but also have over an acre at their farm in Bradenton where they also grow 8 acres of peaches.
Lake Meadows Farm in Ocoee, Florida. Lake Meadow Naturals supplies their local area with cage free chicken and duck eggs. They occasionally have chicken livers for sale and these are our interest.