The Daily Dirt

Behind The Conference: Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell of Global Growers will be speaking during the PSA Food Safety Training, Friday all-day workshop.

What role do you play in the local, organic food movement?

I work for Global Growers and travel around the state working with small and medium-sized farms. We develop solutions to food safety questions, host workshops, and find ways to make sure Good Agricultural Principles, and the cost and paperwork that can come with them, are not barriers towards entering a marketplace, but keys to success. Also, since the growers in our state our non-stop amazing, I get to have the best day just about every day.

Why are you excited to present about your topic and what are some key takeaways attendees will get from your session?

Any opportunity we have to provide a cost-effective way for farmers to take steps towards FSMA certification is always a plus. Also, Perri and the G.O. staff have put together a great team for this workshop. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of FSMA, the steps they need to take to match FSMA requirements, and the feeling of satisfaction that they’ve successfully completed a BIG requirement of FSMA. They’ll also get to meet some Georgia Ag superstars like Beth Oleson, Judy Harrison, Maggie Hart, and Donn Cooper.

What is your vision for the future of organic farming in Georgia?

My vision is that farming, organic and otherwise, will continue to act as a bridge between our rural areas and big cities. Those of us in Atlanta have a lot to learn from our pals outside of the city, and a lot to lose if we don’t use our resources to support them. My vision is that each year we take the steps and make the decisions to ensure that farming is a financially viable way of life, and support farmers in whatever way we can.

What about the Georgia Organics conference do you look forward to the most?

The big smiles of Joe Reynolds and Judith Winfrey, the wisdom and friendship of Rashid Nuri, talking music and farming with Chris Edwards, Tenisio Seanima, and Robbie Astrove, being awed by just about everything Julia Asherman is doing on her farm, marveling at the extreme cuteness of the lil’ baby farmers at Babe and Sage, Jenny Jack Sun, and Big Branch Valley farms, Tony Scharko calling me Wild Man, and being confused for Evan “Atlanta’s most dashing flower farmer” Neal from Chattahoochee Queen Flowers – makes me blush every time!


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