Introducing Farm Share

Farm Share Facility in Oakland Park (photo courtesy

Oakland Park is home to many non-profit organizations, including Farm Share, which recently began serving our community. Established in 1991 as a food bank, Farm Share is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that strives to ensure that food-insecure Floridians receive the food and support they need. Farm Share partners with more than 2,000 food pantries, churches, schools, and other non-profits throughout Florida to distribute food daily. In 202, the organization distributed over 136 million pounds of food to more than 23 million households in all of Florida’s 67 counties. More than 38 million pounds of the food distributed was comprised of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. Farm Share recently partnered with the City and HandsOn Broward around the holidays to coordinate food distributions in Oakland Park. The effort was such a success that the City is looking at ways to partner with Farm Share to organize regular distributions to ensure no one goes hungry in Oakland Park. Look for details about upcoming distributions on the Farm Share website.

LOAKL Spotlight

Mark Castro from Farm Share

One of the reasons why I took the job [with Farm Share] was because I was actually on the opposite end of this, I was in a situation back in 2017, I was at work, and I got injured ... I ended up having surgeries. I was out of work for a while. Even though people get paid workers comp, a lot of people don't understand that as time goes on, that amount starts decreasing. And at the time ... it was just my wife working. I didn't have short-term disability. It started turning into a situation where I was deciding about using whatever money I had to buy food or pay our mortgage ... We ended up having to move into a one-bedroom apartment because it was the only thing we could afford at the time. So when we did that, the kids' school... [gained] an understanding of what was going on with us. They teamed up with an organization in New York called the Knights of Columbus that invited us to a toy drive right before Christmas, and I remember that they provided ... toys, clothes, jackets, food, you name it, and it wasn't just for the kids, it was for all of us... the generosity ... I don't think anybody could ever imagine. It [started] this thought process of how do I go about doing something like that? I wanted to be on the giving end... so when I came down here and I was looking for work, I saw that they were looking for a manager in Homestead, and I got to interview with the CEO, Mr. Dennis ... and that was it! That was exactly what I was looking for. It was a perfect fit.

Q & A with Mark Castro

How can other businesses become involved with Farm Share?

...if a business wants to partner with us, they have two options ... they can go to our website,, and visit the Programs and Services tab to read about Becoming an Agency. The website explains all the things that are required. You can choose between becoming one of two types of agencies, ... temporary emergency food, which is known as TEFAP, which requires certain criteria, or you could be what is considered a produce-only partner, to get food that is donated to Farm Share. You can also partner with another non-profit agency that is an existing agency or has worked with Farm Share in the past.

What is unique about Farm Share ?

Here in Oakland Park, one of our unique qualities is that we do the majority of our food distributions and delivery ... we have our own trucks. Free of charge, ... we go to the churches, or the soup kitchens, or even to one of the special events that might be held by one of the municipalities, we will go with our truck, and we will deliver the food to them, so they don't have to rent a truck or come to us to pick up ... a lot of the churches ... don't have the means to do pick ups on their own, so it helps them a lot that we can go to them and bring them everything ...

How did Farm Share begin food distributions in Oakland Park?

"Well, it was ... the City ... that wanted to set it up. We're in Oakland Park, right across the street from City Hall... A while back, I was approached by the City, ... they were doing this during the height of the pandemic, and they wanted to restart a similar program, because ... it had stopped at some point... they approached us to see if we could set something up. They had already worked with HandsOn Broward on a number of other events in the past ... It was just [a matter of] combining everything together ... Working together, you get everything done."

LOAKL Business Resources

Consumer Protection Financial Bureau

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has extensive resources for small businesses. It is an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve System that provides consumers with information to make sound financial decisions. The CFPB sets and enforces rules to promote fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products and services.

Funding Opportunities For Your Business

Small Business Loans - Explore Your Options

For new and existing businesses that need to know if, when, and how to obtain funding. Loans help your business grow; whether you plan to hire more employees, expand into a new market, offer new products, or grow an existing location, your business needs cash to do so. Find out what funding options can help your business through this SBA seminar.

Learn more about the seminar

Additional Funding Resources

  • 7 Options to Access Money For Your Small Business - Learn about the top 7 funding sources and what you will need to consider for each.

  • SBA Funding Options and Resources for Small Businesses - The SBA helps small businesses get funding by setting guidelines for loans and reducing lender risk. These SBA-backed loans make it easier for small businesses to get the funding they need.


SCORE Webinars

SCORE is offering several webinars in January 2023:

  • Jan. 26 - Simple Steps for Starting a Business Series
  • Jan. 31 - Branding 101

Link to SCORE Calendar

SBA Training


  • Feb. 16 - Federal Contracting 101

In-person: Start, Get Funding, Grow and Run a Successful Business:

  • Feb. 2 - Carver Ranches Library, 4735 SW 18 St., West Park, FL 33023
  • Feb. 9 - North Regional/Broward College Library, 1100 Coconut Creek Blvd, Coconut Creek, FL 33066
  • Feb. 16 - Dania Beach-Paul DeMaio Library, 1 Park Ave East, Dania Beach, FL 33004

Link to SBA Events

2023 Bizwomen Mentoring Monday

Feb. 27 - Women unite! Join us for virtual networking, mentoring and business savvy advice.

Get tickets for this event

New Businesses

Let's welcome these new businesses to Oakland Park! 

  1. Atkins North America
  2. Carma Care Inc.
  3. Red Velvet Kitchen and Grill
  4. HDR Engineering Inc.
  5. Quality Detailing Oakland Park
  6. Jim Tony Gunhilla
  7. Rushy R & R Group
  8. Darma Fine Art & Design
  9. Dragonaire Mechanical Services
  10. J & N Spa Inc.
  11. N & S Marine Restoration LLC
  12. LLC
  13. DMG Flowers Co. LLC

New Development

Oaklyn in Oakland Park

Oaklyn in Oakland Park is steadily rising on the corner of Federal Highway and Oakland Park Boulevard. This project will, according to the Principal at Level Realty, Josh Deitchman, bring the first high-rise, modern, multi-family living option to Oakland Park. With 274 residences, 100,000 square feet of office space and 25,000 square feet off retail, Oaklyn will be the first of its kind in Oakland Park. The residential portion of the project will offer modern amenities, including common areas and a rooftop pool with a beautiful view of the skyline. Oaklyn will offer residents a modern, convenient place to work and play right where they live!

The LOAKL Buzz

Fire Station 9 Groundbreaking

Oakland Park is getting ready to break ground on Fire Station 9, a brand new, state-of-the-art, two-story facility with three fire-truck bays representing a $16 million investment in public safety. At its November 30th meeting, the City Commission approved the construction and work authorization of the new fire station. Kaufman Lynn Construction will build Station 9 at the corner of NE 6th Avenue and Park Lane/NE 38 Street. ACAI Associates will work with Kaufman Lynn to provide engineering services and oversee the project. Station 9 is one of several facility bond projects aimed at Building Oakland Park’s 2nd Century. The City cut the ribbon to open Phase I of City Park in October. Click here for more information about the 10-year Comprehensive Facilities Plan.

Business Tips

Your business’ holiday marketing strategy doesn’t have to end once the big day is over. Keep that sales momentum going into the new year!

Launch a reward program

Use the purchases made during the holiday shopping season as the first step in a reward program. Offer incentives for additional purchases and referrals. And give out discounts that can be redeemed during the slower months of January and February. People that have bought from you for the holidays are great prospects as repeat customers.

Keep up your holiday marketing and promotion

Not everyone stops shopping after December, so make your business available to catch the available dollars. Plan a post-holiday sale that will help you clear out your excess merchandise and get ready for spring. Promote online and in your store if you have one.

Continue to think seasonally and strategically

January offers its own benefits as people make their resolutions to start fresh, turn over a new leaf, lose weight, be more organized, and so on. Plot out the holidays and other seasonal events for the entire year and plan promotions and deals.

If your business is seasonal or cyclical, every year that passes will give you more insight. Apply the knowledge and construct a strategic plan for the year. Make a master calendar including trade shows or industry events you might want to participate in, as well as advertising opportunities from your local media.

More Tips

Upcoming Events

Fire Station 9 Groundbreaking Ceremony

January 20, 2023 - 10:30 a.m.

599 Park Lane / N.E. 38th St., Oakland Park, FL 33334

Fire Station 9 will provide Oakland Park with a new modern

facility to enhance public safety and better serve our community. The station will be equipped with a brand new, state-of-the-art, two-story facility with three fire-truck bays representing a $16 million investment in public safety.

Soul Fest

February 3, 2023 - 6-10 p.m.

Join us at Soul Fest at Jaco Pastorius Park

Join us to celebrate Black History Month and mark the contributions and achievements of the African and Caribbean American communities. This family-friendly event will feature live music from The Khemistry Band, a children's activity area, food trucks, and more.

Health, Wealth and Small Business Expo

March 14, 2023 - 4:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Main Street (NE 12th Ave) in Downtown Oakland Park

The Oakland Park Business Association (OPBA) and the City of Oakland Park are collaborating to present Oakland Park’s first Health, Wealth, and Small Business Expo. The free event is expected to attract hundreds of residents to meet and network with business sponsors and exhibitors in the medical, health, fitness, financial, retirement services, and home improvement fields. Medical and health-related professionals and organizations are encouraged to participate. Visit the sponsorship and registration portal now to learn more.

In Case You Missed It

Oakland Park Breaks Ground on the Sky Building

The future home of Oakland Park’s City Hall, the Sky Building, broke ground in December at 3701 North Dixie Highway. The Sky Building is an innovative mixed-use, public/private partnership between the City of Oakland Park and developer NR Investments and represents $48 million in private investment to the City. Learn more ...

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