Pandemic fuels some of 2020’s most popular UF/IFAS Extension searches

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The coronavirus pandemic occupied space in everyone’s minds this year, prompting online searches about any variety of topics related to it. The year’s most popular UF/IFAS Extension EDIS publications were no exception, with two of the top 10 being brand-new documents related to food safety and the coronavirus.

In all, the Electronic Data Information Source, which hosts peer-reviewed publications from UF/IFAS Extension professionals, saw 17.5 million pageviews this year across the nearly 6,500 publications hosted.

Here are 2020’s 10 most-visited EDIS publications:

  1. The “Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide” is a perennial favorite and again tops the list. Vegetable gardening offers fresh air, exercise, enjoyment, nutritious and fresh vegetables and economic benefits, among other advantages. This year took on a different angle, however, with many taking up home gardening amidst the pandemic. Get a few pointers on home-grown veggies: (129,393 visits)
  2. The 4-H Plant Connections curriculum, “What Makes Plants Grow?,” is also a popular how-to. Plants need many of the same things people do: light, water, air, nutrients and proper temperature. For more, visit: (103,833)
  3. Common Poultry Diseases” include respiratory and nonrespiratory viral and bacterial diseases. Learn how to tell the difference: (72,837)
  4. Perhaps related to renewed interest in hygienic practices, “Basic Elements of Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing in Food Processing and Handling Operations” jumped 15 spots from last year’s ranking. Rinse, clean, rinse and sanitize those contact surfaces, and more tips at (68,808)
  5. Central Florida residents: Looking for what to plant and when? The “Central Florida Gardening Calendar” not only provides this info, but also explains specific concerns at certain times of the year, including irrigation, pests and pruning: (50,846)
  6. The document “COVID-19 and Food Safety FAQ: Is Coronavirus an Issue in Produce Production?” opens addressing a concern: The CDC, FDA and USDA have no reports of human illnesses that suggest coronavirus can be transmitted by food packaging. The document details best practices for facilities: (48,073)
  7. COVID-19 FAQ for Grocery Stores: Receiving and Food Packaging” addresses similar concerns and is available as a one-page guideline for grocery stores: (40,666)
  8. About 50 species of snakes live in the states along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, from Louisiana to North Carolina. They are predators and prey, and thus form important links in natural food webs. “‘Black Snakes’: Identification and Ecology” helps distinguish the easily confused snakes of this region that share a primarily black coloration characteristic: (39,640)
  9. Although “Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools” has appeared in the top 10 before, this year’s social justice movement could explain an increase in clicks this year. Managerial skills must adapt to a more diverse workplace: (37,467)
  10. North Florida residents can learn what ornamentals and vegetables grow well in the region, when to plant them and other important information with the “North Florida Gardening Calendar”: (36,365)


EDIS, a free service of UF/IFAS Extension, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021. Find information at on topics relevant to you: profitable and sustainable agriculture, the environment and natural resources, 4-H and other youth programs, Florida-friendly landscapes, communities that are vibrant and prosperous, economic well-being and quality of life for people and families.

“In a year filled with uncertainty and unexpected changes, we see the value in the public services of UF/IFAS Extension, including EDIS,” said Nick Place, UF/IFAS Extension dean. “We hope the public continues to rely on the expertise of this top-notch, science-based research.”


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. | @UF_IFAS


Posted: December 15, 2020

Category: UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Covid-19, COVID19, Edis, Florida Vegetable Gardening

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