Peanut Butter Challenge tops last year’s collection

Nearly 20,000 jars to fill food pantries across the state ahead of the holidays


For the second straight year, the winner of the statewide Peanut Butter Challenge is… Santa Rosa County, with a whopping 1,970 jars for a total of 2,485 pounds collected.

The 2023 jar collection brought together competitors from 50 UF/IFAS Extension county offices, our partners at Florida A&M University Extension Service, the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and of course, many community organizations and individuals inspired by the call to help our food-insecure neighbors.

In all, residents donated 19,350 jars for a total of 27,769 pounds. That’s enough to make about 440,000 peanut butter sandwiches!

All peanut butter is distributed to food pantries in the community where it is collected, providing a shelf-stable and nutrient-dense product that originates from a Florida-grown crop. The Peanut Butter Challenge began in 2012 in the Panhandle counties, where peanuts are a staple of agriculture, and it spread statewide in 2020 as COVID-19 increased demand for food pantry services.

These donation totals are supplemented by additional contributions from the Florida Peanut Producers Association (FPPA) and Florida Peanut Federation (FPF), which have partnered with the project for years. These organizations offer pallets of peanut butter each year in the northwest and northeast peanut-producing regions, where they are located.

Narrowly missing top bragging rights was Orange County, which involved the Orange County Government and several Parks and Recreation centers to accumulate its 1,417 jars for 2,311 pounds. Its 4-H OC Leadership Club took on delivery service this year, distributing the jars to seven food pantries around the county.

Third place would most fairly be called a toss-up, as Wakulla County (892 jars, 1,612 pounds) was neck and neck with Duval County (1,081 jars, 1,540 pounds) on the jar count and weight totals.

Newcomers to the competition, Columbia County (306 jars, 472 pounds), Baker County (126 jars, 124.5 pounds) and Highlands County (60 jars, 92 pounds) put up impressive numbers that will surely grow next year. The biggest gains in a year were seen in Orange County (+955 pounds, a 77% increase), Alachua County (+841 pounds, a 128% increase), Duval County (+791 pounds, a 106% increase), Jackson County (+787 pounds, a 132% increase), and Wakulla County (+773 pounds, a 92% increase).

But it’s not all serious competition. Participants found plenty of fun, too.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd ignited a creamy vs. crunchy battle on social media, which inspired Okaloosa County to jump into the fray. (Sorry, Sheriff Judd, Okaloosa County disagreed with your crunchy pick and overwhelmingly sided with Team Creamy.) Indian River County hosted a “Peanut Butter & Pickle Ball” event, while Hernando County government departments returned to vying for the coveted Great Peanut Trophy. And in Collier County, the public libraries were silly enough to challenge the 4-H clubs, who out-collected them by a third.

“It’s a competition, sure, but only in the sense that it drives the desire to collect the most and come out on top,” said Jennifer Bearden, UF/IFAS Extension Okaloosa County agriculture agent and co-organizer of the 2023 event. “It’s really in the spirit of giving back to the communities we serve, and we’re honored to continue this tradition every October.”

Learn more about the Peanut Butter Challenge at, and look for its return to your community in 2024.

Featured image shows a portion of UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County’s 2023 Peanut Butter Challenge collection. (submitted photo)

Other submitted scenes from around the state:


Posted: November 28, 2023

Category: Community Volunteers, Events, Health & Nutrition, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Community Events, Donations, Food Insecurity, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Challenge, Santa Rosa County, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Extension Duval County, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Wakulla County

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