Where we live?

Ecology Matters by Duke Vasey

A recent issue of "Nature" examined the special relationship between scientists and cities and how each can bring out the best in the other: http://goo.gl/WRESd. When you get there you will see a terrific package with great graphics (want to know where the next megacities will emerge, or where the most scientific papers are published?) and feature articles on the synergy between urban areas and scientific innovation.

But the best article to make my point appeared Saturday, November 6, 2010, in the “Naples Daily News,” by Lance Sherer titled: “ECHO field trip: Elementary students get a close-up look at sustainable agriculture.” ECHO stands for Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization and the story was about fourth-grade students from Immokalee’s Eden Park Elementary School who got information on sustainable agriculture....

ECHO global farm is a “50-acre spread [that] showcases how people in developing countries can increase their crop yields, safeguard their environment, and grow food for consumption and trade.” Why would school children from Immokalee need to leave our community to learn about “sustainable agriculture”? With a little effort, Collier County could be the poster child for sustainable agriculture.

Collier County could have an agriculture and food processing industry, i.e., farming, seed supply, agrichemicals, farm machinery, wholesale food distribution, processing, marketing and retail sales far beyond the pusillanimous efforts currently in vogue.

We have a great geographic location and are subsidizing thousands of acres of farm land; but, we have not diversified our citrus or agricultural industries! Better yet, make “Ag” properties farm if they are going to qualify for the low agriculture tax rates. With the right emphasis we could be a leading manufacturer of key food and agricultural products beyond citrus, vegetables, specialty foods, etc. Why aren’t we home to food industry leaders or food processing firms? Producing food is a no brainer. We all need to eat and will forever. If we get the right foods, possibly we can cut down on medical expenses.

Why not incentivize companies that manufacture food processing machinery, or possibly commercial and public food research institutions or commercial nutraceutical industry.

Nutraceutical, a term combining the words "nutrition" and "pharmaceutical," applies to a food or food product that provides health and medical benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Such products may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and specific diets to genetically engineered foods, herbal products, and processed foods such as cereals, soups and beverages. We could do it all in our county!

Drive on the back roads and see all of the opportunities in Collier County.

Duke

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