12 www.HernandoChamber.com 2 0 1 8 / 2 0 1 9 “To improve access to fresh local produce” is the mission of the Hernando County Growers Association, Inc. (HCGA).* This non-profit agricultural cooperative’s membership includes area farmers, ranchers, fishermen and cottage industry producers who are looking to consumers for their products. HCGA provides cost free EBT transaction services at it’s markets on behalf of growers who are unable or do not currently accept SNAP benefits, giving access to fresh local produce to all consumers. Founding President Michael DeFelice (47) moved here in 2014 with his wife Ginger Promoting Our Abundant Agricultural Resources and children from Clearwater. Together they started Twelve Oaks Community Farms, Inc. in Brooksville. As a retired Army veteran, his personal mission is continuing service through community projects especially on behalf of veterans. In March 2018 HCGA initiated the weekly Brooksville Farmers Market, held every Sunday in Brooksville. It gives them a place to meet face to face with locals and evolve new community buying patterns, education and support. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org . www.facebook.com/HernandoGrowers. ■ * The HCGA is partnered with the Florida Department of Health in Hernando County, and was grant funded by the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida to establish the non-profit Brooksville Farmers Market in downtown Brooksville. Contributing and supporting organizations include the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners, City of Brooksville, Brooksville Mainstreet, Florida’s Adventure Coast (Tourism Development), UF/IFAS County Extension Services, Florida Organic Growers, Florida Department of Agriculture and a host of local businesses.