Florida agriculture has a compelling story to tell every day, but what better time to tell it than National Farmer’s Day, which is Oct. 12.
The story of Florida agriculture is about farmers, their love for the land, and an industry that powers Florida’s economy. It has been written one generation at a time by families whose dedication puts food on Americans’ tables every day.
To honor farmers and to tell their story, the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association has produced “The Story of Florida Agriculture: A Rich Legacy and a Bright Future,” an informational video about the producers who feed consumers and provide jobs in our communities.
It also highlights key economic facts about Florida agriculture that many consumers simply aren’t aware.
Our goal in producing the video is to raise awareness and to prompt ongoing conversations about the contributions of Florida farmers to our economy, our way of life, and our health and well-being. The video is designed for people to share it with their friends, elected leaders, civic groups, and others through social media and other means. It’s important for consumers to know what farmers do and why they do it, and it’s the job of each of us to talk to others about Florida agriculture.
Watch, Enjoy, Share
FFVA distributed the video to the 400-plus attendees at its annual convention last month in Naples. Now, we are making it widely available to other agricultural organizations, media outlets, bloggers, and others. We hope that you’ll watch it, “like” it on YouTube, download it, post it on your website, show it in meetings, blog about it, tweet about it, and post on Facebook and Instagram — and whatever other social media outlets you’re on.
In it, you’ll see some familiar faces. Several Florida farmers discuss the challenges and rewards of farming.
It’s important for growers to talk with consumers about farming, says Danny Johns, who grows potatoes and other vegetables at Blue Sky Farms in Hastings.
“Our population has lost track of where their food comes from, so it’s important we take every opportunity to try to educate the public on who we are and what we do,” he says. “We’re your neighbors. We grew up in the community and we support the community.”
The 4½-minute video details the economic impact of Florida farming. Agriculture and its related industries account for 1.52 million jobs — 14.3% of all jobs in the state. Statewide, revenue adds up to $148.6 billion a year. The video also highlights agriculture’s efforts to conserve water and soil resources so farming can continue for future generations. The best management practices used by South Florida growers, for example, has resulted in the reduction of phosphorous in water coming off their farms by an average of 56% over the past 20 years.
Growers see a future full of opportunity, the video points out, using innovation and technology to improve how they farm and conserve natural resources. But also it emphasizes the legacy of the generations who have gone before to make the way for today’s operations.
“Even with all the water and labor issues we face, it goes back to family heritage,” says Keith Wedgworth of Wedgworth Farms. “I’m a fourth-generation farmer here in Belle Glade, and I want to make sure that I’m able to tell my kids that I was a part of that heritage that hopefully will be passed down for many generations to come.”