What do a hydroponics farmer, an aquaculturist, and two scientists growing algae for food and biofuel have in common? They’re all working towards sustainability, and they all shared their stories, processes, and answered questions during ‘Farm to Fork’, COSEE Florida’s Water as Habitat Science Café. The event took place at Osceola Bistro in downtown Vero Beach on the gorgeous outdoor patio. Experts presented to a great community turnout, all coming together for an engaging discussion on local and sustainable eating.
The evening began with a fabulous spread of local food complimentary to attendees, prepared by Chef Chris Bireley of Osceola Bistro. Florida Organic Aquaculture donated shrimp for the event, which was served alongside dishes featuring local veggies, oysters, and lionfish. Bireley’s passion for fresh, local food as well as for the community was very apparent during his welcome. He strives to purchase as many fresh ingredients from local farmers and fisherman as possible, making it the perfect venue for this science café.
The panel included Lisa Brenneman of Florida Veggies & More, Jose Manzo, Project Manager at Florida Organic Aquaculture, FIT Vero Beach Marine Laboratory’s Nancy Pham, and Steve Schlosser, CEO of Florida Algae. Brenneman kicked off the conversation by talking about hydroponics and its benefits, as well as how Florida Veggies & More helps people set up their own hydroponic systems at home. Manzo spoke about the zero-exchange aquaculture processes used at Florida Organic Aquaculture to raise shrimp. Pham discussed the benefits of using algae as a biofuel, Shlosser spoke of the potential of Spirulina algae as a protein source, and Spirulina smoothie samples were passed around for guests to enjoy.
After the tasty food, passionate speakers, and a great discussion, many community members were pleasantly surprised with the variety of sustainable agriculture happening locally. If you’d like to learn more about these organizations, please visit their websites:
Florida Veggies & More sells Vero Beach-grown, fresh fruits and veggies and sets up personal hydroponics gardens. www.flveggies.com
Florida Organic Aquaculture sells Pacific white shrimp grown through zero-exchange aquaculture in Vero Beach; www.flaquaculture.com
Florida Algae LLC produces fresh, frozen Spirulina algae products grown in FIT’s Vero Beach Marine Lab. www.floridaalgae.com/
Osceola Bistro serves fresh, local food in downtown Vero Beach. www.osceolabistro.com
For more science café events in Florida, follow COSEE on Twitter @COSEEFlorida, on Facebook at COSEE Florida or Instagram @coseeflorida.