Localecopia is a non-profit organization focused on bringing together businesses, producers, educators and government organizations for the purpose lessening our carbon footprint by supporting local product consumption, helping operations better utilize waste and bringing together individuals to help achieve sustainable business practices.
- The Hospitality Industry: Comprised of hotels, restaurants, country clubs, cruise lines, institutional and other foodservice venues.
- Local Agriculture: Comprised of local agriculture , horticulture, aquaculture and other local producers.
- Local Government: Comprised of city and county groups who work directly with local businesses and agriculture.
- The University of Florida: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences A federal-state-county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences, and enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life by making that information accessible. While extending into every community of the state, UF/IFAS has developed an international reputation for its accomplishments in teaching, research and extension. Because of this mission and the diversity of Florida’s climate and agricultural commodities, IFAS has facilities located throughout Florida.
The Localecopia Story
The idea of Localecopia started with a question by the Executive Chef of the Breakers Hotel: Why can’t our hotel serve the same, fresh mango I can get from walking outside my back yard? With this simple question in mind, Geoff Sagrans, Assistant Director of Materials Management at the Breakers, wanted to come up with a plan to make this happen. Knowing that the hotel was already leading the charge in green initiatives (which had a core focus on sustainability), Geoff came up with a concept which incorporated buying local produce with the whole theory of a local focus.
The idea was to create a concept where everyone could benefit from each other (hence, “Group Synergies”). This idea was to also make the endeavor a non-profit one so all businesses could participate and benefit. The concept was originally called The Farm-To-Plate Alliance. After much due diligence on the name, it was recommended that a new name be formed because of the potential for a naming conflict of interest with other organizations. The quest for the new name took many months. With the help from Mike and Amy Wallander, Localecopia became the new title of this concept.
From the summer of 2007 until the Fall of 2008 meetings were held with members of the University of Florida, UF / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, local government officials, large area farmers, small area farmers and various members of the hospitality community. With an overwhelming positive response, the concept was further refined. Each of the groups began to realize the benefits that could be achieved by working with the other groups.
During the Fall of 2008 Localecopia had its humble beginnings. Starting with a few farmers and hospitality organizations, the concept appears to be taking off. As the word grows about this concept, Localecopia sees the potential for this to positively impact members of this community and many other communities for years to come.