Inside the RC&D
The Florida West Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides leadership, coordination, partnership development and technical assistance for projects that promote strong communities and sustainable agriculture by bringing people together to create healthy local community food systems in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.
We do this by bringing people together to create and carry out innovative and sustainable solutions to community-identified problems, recognizing that locally-driven economic and social opportunities are integral to healthy, vibrant, and truly sustainable communities.
The National RC&D Program
RC&D was started in the 1960s to address rural poverty and help rural communities generate sustainable natural resource-based economies. Although today, many RC&D areas are no longer rural or predominantly poor, the need for the RC&D concept is as strong as ever: local people solving local problems. RC&D provides a mechanism for people to partner with other community members and organizations to identify, create and carry out ideas which improve the community in a meaningful way.
The RC&D Area
RC&D areas are approved for national RC&D program participation by the Secretary of Agriculture, but initiated by local people to improve the quality of life in their communities. The Florida West Coast Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Inc. was formed as a nonprofit corporation in 1999 by a group of dedicated volunteers and community leaders. The founders worked with the USDA-NRCS to complete the rigorous application process, and after a successful 2-year effort, the Florida West Coast RC&D area of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties was officially designated by the USDA in 2001.
The RC&D Mission Areas
The national RC&D program has established the strategic mission areas of Water Management, Environmental Enhancement/Land Management, Community Development, and Land Conservation for all RC&D councils nationwide. The Florida West Coast RC&D has added Agricultural Resources as an additional mission area critical to our RC&D counties.
The RC&D Area Plan (pdf Annual Plan)
Nationally, each RC&D council develops and adopts an Area Plan, which serves as the long-term business plan for the organization. The Florida West Coast RC&D's Area Plan details the group's mission, vision, goals, objectives and strategies for the RC&D area counties and mission areas, with stated needs derived from a variety of community sources.