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State of MREC: January 2018

Wondering what the latest happenings are at MREC? Take a few minutes to read the latest update, courtusey of our Center Director Dr. Roger Kjelgren.

Blessings and best wishes in 2018 to every and all stakeholders in MREC! As we peer ahead into the coming year, MREC is better shaping its path into the future. To follow up on my October blog where I shared MREC’s new vision statement, we are transmuting that statement into a mission statement that our faculty can align with: “MREC’s research focus is lifestyle horticulture: profitable yet environmentally responsible production and use of high value horticulture plants and plant products to satisfy demand driven by consumer tastes, preferences, and wellness”.

This mission statement reflects and recognizes the urbanization of central Florida; for agriculture to thrive in an urbanizing environment, plant production must be high value to be profitable (to fend off housing developments), and to be profitable agriculture needs to connect to yet shape consumer demand. Like its core foliage industry constituency, MREC is creating a portfolio of high value plant products that satisfies discerning consumer demand.  This discerning demand ranges from attractive yet low water Florida Friendly landscapes, to foliage production for quality interiorscapes, to beverage crops such as hops that impart taste and medicinal properties to beer, to urban food production that can grace high end restaurants as well as make food deserts bloom and community gardens prosper.

Wordsmithing this mission comes in a year when MREC will celebrate its 50th anniversary.  We are planning for an event sometime in late fall when we can honor MREC’s history—early evolution from vegetable production, blossoming into foliage production to make Apopka the foliage capital of the world, and now MREC’s emerging portfolio of lifestyle horticulture plants.

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