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Back by popular demand: UF/IFAS Extension Broward Urban Sustainable Food Production Short Course

  • Sustainable urban food production provides benefits that extend beyond addressing food insecurity.
  • The supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 continue to be felt across industries and communities. This has awakened a volume of interest from a variety of community members seeking ways to grow food locally.
  • In an effort to continue meeting the demand for information, registration is now open for the 2021 Sustainable Urban Food Production short-course led by faculty, Extension agents and scientists in Broward at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

BROWARD, Fla. — UF/IFAS Extension Broward County and the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center partner to meet the community needs that are unique to Broward’s urban environments. A trend increasing in popularity is urban food production.

From backyard plots to community gardens, up to full-time, commercial operations that supply farmers’ markets, restaurants and grocery stores, urban food production serves a vital role in promoting community sustainability and resilience, particularly in times of crisis.

Urban food production is a developing concept that homeowners, educators, urban farmers, community gardeners and entrepreneurs consistently seek information to grow food locally. This method of growing food makes it more accessible, even amid a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sustainable urban food production has the potential to address important social-environmental challenges such as food security, inequality, resource consumption and environmental sustainability that our society is facing today,” said Jiangxiao Qiu, assistant professor of landscape ecology at UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (FLREC).

To meet this increased demand for information, residents in South Florida and surrounding counties can now register for the “Sustainable Urban Food Production Short-Course” workshop series.

Beginning September 20, by popular demand, this program, now in its third year, will feature an enhanced and easy-to-follow curriculum designed to promote pathways that can contribute to long-term urban sustainability.

“Developing local food production is particularly relevant for South Florida, where food security is now becoming a significant concern with 326 identified ‘food desert’ areas,” said Lorna Bravo, director at UF/IFAS Extension Broward County. “Food desert areas are places where residents have difficulty in accessing affordable, fresh, and nutritious food.”

Participants meet on Mondays from 1 to 4:30 p.m. for six weeks through October 25. Registration is required through the following link https://browardurbanag2021.eventbrite.com/

“We continue to enrich this program with updated content and information relevant to urban food production, and also provide it in a hybrid model this year as compared to fully online last year with the COVID restrictions so that we can broaden participation and integrate field tours and hands-on activities in the area,” said Qiu.

Registrants pay $25, which covers all six classes with training materials included. Seating is limited. Scheduled in-person sessions will be held in classrooms at FLREC, located at 3205 College Ave, Davie, FL. Participants will receive a certificate after completion of this short course.

Qiu and Bravo hope participants will walk away from this year’s program with two key points: an increased awareness on the varied social-environmental benefits of urban agriculture; increased interests, engagement and adoptions of urban agriculture and sustainable management practices.

For more information on the program, click on the registration link https://browardurbanag2021.eventbrite.com/ or contact Bravo at lbravo1@ufl.edu or Amy Wiedenfeld at awiedenfeld@ufl.edu.

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The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.
ifas.ufl.edu  @UF_IFAS

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By Lourdes Mederos, rodriguezl@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.
ifas.ufl.edu  @UF_IFAS