Rosie's Organic Farm
Talking with Rose Koenig let’s you get a glimpse back into the history of the food movement in Gainesville. Rosie’s Organic Farm was one of the first CSA farms in the state of Florida, and Rose herself started the Haile Farmers Market.
She grew up on a farm in New Jersey that raised vegetables and poultry. She started Rosie’s Organic Farm when she was a grad student at UF in 1993. She studied plant pathology and eventually got her PhD. Then she and her husband Tom Mirti had their kids in the mid 90s, and they bought the farm and stayed put. “One of the reasons why we did the farm is we wanted to be able to raise our kids with a farm,” Rose said. “A lot of kids are disconnected from what their parents do for a living. We’re able to talk with our kids about where their food comes from, and they’ve been involved from the beginning.”
Rosie’s Organic Farm has been certified organic from the start. Rose feels that the certification allows consumers to identify a set of practices associated with what they’re purchasing. “We wanted to make it affordable,” she said. “If people want to purchase organic it shouldn’t be beyond the means of a normal family.”
Rose helped start the Haile Farmers market, and managed it for ten years from 1998 to 2008. And why a start a market in Haile Plantation?“We wanted a location that had a sense of community, and we felt Haile had the philosophy of green living consistent in the types of values promoted by the market,” Rose said.
And now almost 20 years after she started it, Rose gets to reflect on what the market has meant to Haile Plantation, Gainesville area farmers, and customer. “The market has helped farmers, but it’s also helped the community,” she said. “I’m really proud that we helped start the food movement in Gainesville, and we’ve watched it blossom.”