The 2015 Grower Achievement Award recipient, Peter Pero IV of Pero Family Farms in Delray Beach, FL, says educating consumers is one of the most important steps you can take. Special thanks to Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers for sponsoring the award.
Q1 In your opinion, what are the top three issues facing vegetable growers in the U.S.?
Peter Pero: Rising costs, foreign competition, and educating the public on where the food supply comes from are the three big issues facing growers. The general public doesn’t realize where their food comes from, and the population is outgrowing what we can supply. I’m seeing that first-hand.
Q2 How is your farm dealing with those issues?
Peter Pero: The public needs to understand where their food comes from, and that is what we are trying to do with our packaging [for products such as Pero’s U.S.-grown Mini Sweet Peppers and Green Bean Snack Snips]. We also need to make sure we have enough land in this country to protect our food supply. We don’t want to be dependent on other countries for our food.
Q3 How would you recommend other growers and the industry help educate the public?
Peter Pero: What I see today is there are no young farmers out there. That is why when I go to schools I talk about farming, which is a seven-day-a-week job and you have to work very hard. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of people who want to take up farming in this technology-driven era. We know it is a tough business. We have to teach young kids that farming is a viable [career] and at the end of the day to understand that we all need food.