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Organic farming is a multimillion-dollar industry in Florida, with certified organic farms having generated $72.4 million in produce sales statewide in 2016.

To highlight the practice of growing organically, the University of Florida/IFAS will host Bob Quinn, whose family-operated wheat farm in Montana has been fully organic since 1989.

Quinn will present a seminar on Oct. 11, and his visit will also include speaking to a few UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences classes and stopping by the UF Field & Fork Farm and Gardens.

“I’ve been involved with organic farming for more than 40 years,” said Quinn, who is also the founder of Kamut International, a khorasan wheat production company. “My generation has raised the overall percentage of organic farms from 0% to 6%. Now we need to put our trust in the farmers who will come after us. The next generation of farmers is the future for a better food system and a healthier planet.”

Danielle Treadwell, UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences and state Extension specialist in organic and sustainable vegetable production, said Quinn’s visit will provide an opportunity for attendees, especially students, to hear from someone who has successfully farmed using certified organic practices for decades.

“Bob Quinn is a rare individual,” Treadwell said. “He was raised on a multi-generational farm in Montana, earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry, then returned to the farm with new ideas and a mind for business. His success as an agricultural entrepreneur, combined with his values of sustainability, will make for an inspiring conversation, particularly for our students. I am very much looking forward to his visit and hope the community will take advantage of the opportunity to join us during his time in Gainesville.”

‘Grain by Grain’

Quinn is making the stop at UF while he is in the area to promote his new book, “Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food.” He will also be speaking at the Farm Bureau on Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. That presentation, entitled “Organic Ag, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food Systems,” is sponsored by Florida Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc., and is free and open to the public.

The seminar on Oct. 11 is also free and open to the public. It will be in a conference room at Fifield Hall and starts at 2:15 p.m. Visitors who are not UF students, faculty or staff should know that metered parking near this building is limited.

WHO: Bob Quinn, organic farmer, founder of Kamut International, author of “Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food.”

WHAT: Quinn will share his experience in organic farming during a visit to Gainesville and the University of Florida campus.

WHEN AND WHERE:

  • Thursday, Oct. 10 at the Florida Farm Bureau, 5700 SW 34th St., Gainesville; 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 11 at UF’s Fifield Hall, Conference Room 1304; 2:15 p.m. Limited metered parking available.

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