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UF research facility to donate fresh produce to needy families during Farm to City Week

2015 Cares dinner and farmer recognition at the North Florida Research and Education Center at Live Oak, Florida on Thursday, November 7th.

JAY, Fla. –The University of Florida’s West Florida Research and Education Center will join forces with the Bay Area Food Bank, Waterfront Rescue Mission and the Guy Thompson Community Center to feed 700 local families during National Farm to City Week, Nov. 20 to 26.

Farm to City Week is a national effort to increase the public’s knowledge and appreciation for agriculture. The week of Thanksgiving, meals will be distributed to 400 needy families in Santa Rosa County and 300 families in Escambia County.

“This food will provide these families with a healthy meal this Thanksgiving holiday,” said Wes Wood, center director of the UF/IFAS West Florida REC. “We want to feed these families and teach folks in our community about the economic, environmental and societal benefits of agriculture.”

Inmates from the Barrydale work camp, who work at the West Florida REC, helped the research center farm crew plant 2,000 cabbage plants and 5,000 collard plants. The 15,500 pounds of produce will be harvested by local FFA/Ag students from Santa Rosa and Escambia County one day prior to the holiday meal distribution.

Each pre-qualified family will be provided with fresh produce, a turkey and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal along with some locally grown sweet potatoes provided by the Florida Farm Bureau.

The UF/IFAS Extension Services will be there to demonstrate how to prepare and cook the produce as well as how to can fresh produce.

“There is no better time to honor our local farmers and producers. Without them, the safe, abundant and affordable food we’ll put on our tables at Thanksgiving would not be possible,” said Robin Vickers, events coordinator for the UF/IFAS West Florida REC.



By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566,


Source: Robin Vickers, 850-983-7134,