FFVA & ACF Showcase Florida Ag to Influencers

Last month, Ag Communicators of Florida partnered with Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association to bring local influencers to Florida farms and showcase ag to their followers through social media and blog promotions.

From planting and picking to packing and transporting, the tour highlighted what Florida farmers do on a daily basis to bring fresh produce to local grocery stores, and ultimately to the tables of families.

Our influencers included:

Our first stop on day one was at Wm G Roe & Sons (Noble Citrus) to get a taste of the Noble Juicy Crunch tangerine and learn more about Florida citrus. The influencers learned more about the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box, which Noble Citrus is a participant in, and the unique challenges that face the citrus industry with greening.

Next, we headed to Dundee Citrus Growers to get a look at Florida Peaches. Due to the challenges faced with citrus greening, Dundee began to diversify, growing Florida peaches, which are a smaller, more flavorful variety. Poised in between peach seasons from other regions, these peaches will hit stores late March to May.

Our third stop, Hardee Fresh, gave influencers a different look at agriculture. Hardee Fresh is an indoor organic vertical farm and showcased technological advances in the industry. Sustainability was a big topic of conversation as they spoke about their ability to use less land, water and fertilizers to grow organic greens.

On day two, we headed to Florida Pacific Farms to meet up with Florida Blueberry Growers Association for a look at blueberries, then over to Fancy Farms for strawberries. The influencers had lots of questions on how bees are used in agriculture, around food waste and secondary markets for produce that “doesn’t make the cut,” and why buying local produce is so important.

Our tour ended at the new office of Wish Farms, touring their packing facility before a lunch demonstration with Fresh from Florida’s Chef Justin and a panel including:

  • Mike Joyner, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
  • Sue Harrell, Florida Strawberry Growers Association
  • Brittany Lee, Florida Blueberry Growers Association
  • Gene McAvoy, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

The most important takeaways for the influencers focused on how important agriculture is to Florida’s economy. It’s the second largest industry in our state (1st during COVID) and accounts for over 1 million jobs.

Influencers left with a better understanding of how much work goes into growing our food, the passion and resilience of Florida farmers, trade and labor issues, pest and disease management and food safety, food security and the importance of buying local (to your region, state or country).

Thank you to the other sponsors of this tour for their support:

  • Florida Blueberry Growers Association
  • Florida Peaches
  • Fresh from Florida
  • Wish Farms