2007 Industry Outlook
Small farmers hope to cash in on interest in buying local.
People to Watch
Dave and Rick Brown
Owners, Riverview Flower Farm
The brothers started their nursery on 3 acres south of Tampa in 1982. Today, they grow their "Florida Friendly Plants" on 127 acres in three locations.
Riverview Flower Farm conducted more than 10,000 trials to see how flowers and plants fared in the Florida weather and how well they resisted disease and pests.
From the trials, the Browns selected 30 perennials and 10 ornamental grasses for their "Florida Friendly" line, which is now stocked in more than 100 Home Depots from Gainesville to Key West.
As many as 600,000 seasonal farmworkers harvest Florida's crops. The state's farmers maintain there is no domestic workforce capable of doing the job.
Republican Agricultural Commissioner Charles Bronson says he'll continue to lobby for "meaningful" immigration reform that allows immigrant farmworkers to earn the right to permanently stay in the country if they continue to work in agriculture.