Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making
|February 1, 2013||Posted by Sarah under Agriculture, Events, News|
Commissioner Putnam recently moderated a panel discussion at the University of Florida about the history of Florida agriculture, titled “Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making.” If you haven’t heard, 2013 marks the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s arrival in Florida. Of course Florida’s fertile soil and bountiful lands made agriculture one of the most important reasons to settle here. While we have certainly advanced, agriculture has remained a top priority in Florida for the last 500 years.
The discussion at UF was the first of a year-long series of events Commissioner Putnam will host in partnership with universities and colleges throughout Florida. The series includes six events featuring speakers and panel discussions to recognize the important role agriculture has played in Florida’s 500-year history. In addition to the University of Florida, other partnerships include:
- Florida Southern College (April 11)
- Florida A&M University (Fall 2013)
- Gulf Coast University (Fall 2013)
- University of West Florida (Fall 2013)
- The “Florida Agriculture: Then and Now” Traveling Exhibit will make its way through Florida in 2013, educating residents and visitors about the exponential growth of the agriculture industry during Florida’s 500 year history. The exhibit will make its first appearance at the Florida State Fair on February 7 in Tampa. From there, the exhibit will travel to muse
ums, universities, fairs and community events, where it will be on display for anniversary celebrations. A full schedule of the exhibit’s tour will be made available in the coming weeks.
- The Youth Fine Arts Competition is an opportunity for middle school and high school students to celebrate the history of Florida agriculture creatively. More than 200 students across Florida submitted entries in December. On February 7, Commissioner Putnam will recognize the winner and eleven finalists at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. Each finalist will be awarded a scholarship and their work will be on display at the Florida State Fair, as well as at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee and the Lawton Chiles Center for Florida History in Lakeland.
- The Youth Coloring Competition invited elementary students to learn about the history of Florida agriculture through color. More than 1,300 Florida students submitted entries in November. Ribbons will be awarded at the Florida State Fair in Tampa where the winners will be on display, February 7 through 18.
The events and activities are all designed to leverage the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon as an opportunity to raise awareness for Florida’s rich agricultural heritage. Though people, places and industries have come and gone during Florida’s 500-year history, agriculture has endured. Today, Florida produces nearly 300 commodities. Florida-grown products are enjoyed throughout the state, across the nation and in 125 other countries around the world.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is a partner of the Florida Department of State in Viva Florida 500.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.