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Norma Samuel in a field holding eggplants

Voices of UF/IFAS – Dr. Norma Samuel

Name:
Dr. Norma Samuel

Position:
Associate District Extension Director, Central District
Extension Agent IV, Florida-Friendly Landscaping and Urban Horticulture
UF-IFAS Extension, Sumter County

Current city:
Resides in Ocala, but office location is The Villages

Hometown:
Golden Grove, Antigua, West Indies

Years at UF/IFAS:
Just over 15 years

Describe your role at UF/IFAS:
I educate residents on how to have a beautiful landscape and or grow their own food while protecting the environment. I provide educational opportunities for landscape professionals to gain their pesticide licenses and or gain CEUs to maintain licenses.

How did your background and experiences shape your interest in your current field?
I’ve been involved in agriculture from an early age. Both of my parents farmed. We had both crops and livestock (chickens, goats, sheep, cattle). My seven siblings and I each had our own plot where we learned to grow and sell produce, so we viewed agriculture as an entrepreneurial venture. I also went to Jennings Secondary High School in Antigua that had a strong agriculture science program which cemented my decision to pursue agriculture as a career.

Who do you admire?
Mr. Francis Henry, former Director of Agriculture of Antigua and Barbuda. He was an excellent supervisor who had high expectations for his staff. Mr. Henry provided guidance I needed as a young professional. He always challenged me to do my best. He had a dry sense of humor and would always interject some between his words of wisdom. I pass on those same words of wisdom to my peers every opportunity I get, because they have served me well throughout my career.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
I grew up in a country that is predominantly Black, so I never knew about Black History Month until I came to the US. As I became immersed in American culture, I realized that the dominant culture had many negative stereotypes about Blacks. Black History Month provides an opportunity to highlight the achievements and contributions of Blacks to American society.

Would you like us to link to any of your work?
I presently serve as Director of the Board of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) an organization that works to build the individual and organizational capacity of Extension and rural advisory services so we can improve the lives of the families we serve.
https://www.g-fras.org

Let’s Talk Gardening
This is a YouTube program I co-host with one of my colleagues. It was started during the pandemic to deliver gardening advice to our clients. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpl5EWPz2TYniC8m-EQIo6w

What inspires you? OR What are your hobbies?
My family is a great source of inspiration. I enjoy traveling and making new memories with my family, cooking, and gardening.