Co-founders John Bitter and Amy Van Scoik started Frog Song Organics in the fall of 2011. Our mission is to produce nutritious food for our community and create meaningful employment opportunities. We also aim to demonstrate that farming can be accomplished with the “triple bottom line” – with respect to our human, ecological and economic resources.
We started with help from family, friends and neighbors, working in trade for food. Over the past five years, we have grown from two planted acres to managing over sixty acres. We are located in eastern Alachua County about 30 minutes from the University of Florida in Gainesville. We grow over eighty different types of produce, herbs, fruits and flowers. We grow mainly in the field and also in several greenhouses/hoophouses. Everything is grown in soil for real flavor, we do not use any hydroponics. We also raise laying hens for eggs and have recently started a pastured pork program for our CSA members. We also produce value-added goods such as jams and fermented foods like kimchi and pickles. Our farm, and all of our fresh produce, is certified organic by Quality Certification Services. We have been certified organic since 2012.
We currently sell at several regional farmers markets, directly to many fine restaurants and grocers, and to distributors and buying clubs. We operate a CSA program (Community Supported Agriculture) with over one hundred members.
Our team is made up of a group of amazing, hard-working, and caring people who cooperate to produce our crops. At our peak season, we have had up to twenty-five staff members. We offer a variety of benefits to our full time staff including paid sick leave, life insurance, prepared lunches, and a paid vacation program. We recently started offering a healthcare stipend. We pay for the legally required workers compensation insurance coverage (which is not standard on many farms who pay “under the table” or employ undocumented workers). We also pay legally required employment taxes for our staff.
We work with both domestic and international crew members. Our permanent, year-round crew includes folks from Michigan and Florida. Some of our seasonal staff is from Puebla, Mexico utilizing the H-2A guest worker visa program. This program, offered through the Department of Labor, allows guest workers to travel safely across borders and return each summer to visit family at home. It also provides our farm with experienced workers to keep up stable production to feed people in our community. Agriculture is hard work and we truly appreciate everyone who has worked with us on the farm in one way or another.
Our long-term goals include adopting solar power, improving our on-farm fertility system and composting program, and opening an on-site farm stand for retail customers to purchase produce and enjoy family-style farm house cooking.