In 1988, the Florida Legislature passed the Solid Waste Management Act that affected the solid waste disposal practices of every county in the state. With legislation directly affecting the industry, organic recyclers and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) regulators recognized a need to establish a professional organization that could serve as a unified industry voice, and foster high standards and ethics in the business of recycling and reuse of organic materials. In December 1994, a meeting was held to discuss the formulation of a Florida organic recycling association which became known as the Florida Organics Recyclers Association (FORA). FORA's first major contribution to the industry was the development of a recycling best management practice manual for yard trash in 1996. The second major project undertaken by FORA was a food waste diversion project which sought to promote an increase in food waste recovery and reuse. In Spring 1999, FORA became the organic division of Recycling Florida Today (RFT) further unifying recycling efforts within the State of Florida. In an attempt to address mounting concerns regarding industry marketing and promotional needs, RFT/FORA developed an organic recycling facility directory for the State of Florida in Spring 2000. Most recently RFT/FORA developed an organic recycling facility operator training course outline to assist the FDEP in identifying industry training needs. From its modest beginnings in 1994, to future joint programming efforts with the University of Florida's Florida Organic Recycling Center for Excellence (FORCE), RFT/FORA continues to emerge as a viable conduit of educational information for public and private agencies relative to organic recycling in Florida.
Joan Bradshaw and Monica Ozores-Hampton
Kathleen C. Ruppert, Joan Bradshaw, and Arlene Z. Stewart
The Florida Master Gardener program volunteered more than 730,865 service hours to the Florida Cooperative Extension Service from 1991 through 1996, valued as a net in-kind donation of $4,615,395. Started in 1979, this program has grown consistently, affecting Floridians in all walks of life. Agents in 47 counties devoted an average of 29% of their time to capitalize on this volunteer knowledge and expertise. An overview of Florida's Master Gardener program provides a synopsis of the many components that make this volunteer program a success including past trends and current areas of review to prepare the program for the next millennium.