Growing Local in St. Johns County – A New Event in October!

This fall, the St. Johns County Extension Office will be Growing Local!

For many years, we have hosted the Datil Pepper Fall Festival the first weekend of October in St. Augustine at the Ag Center. While we have enjoyed bringing the community together over the years to honor our iconic, heritage pepper, many things have changed, and we have an opportunity for growth.

For one, the pandemic has made it difficult to gather in large groups, and we are still taking precautions. The restaurant industry has suffered greatly as they struggle with rising costs of food, and lack of a full staff to service their customers. Our Datil pepper production has become limited to small farms and home gardens. Since potatoes, cabbage and vegetables of Asian-origins being the larger representation of St. Johns County, we feel that our educational events should represent all commodities.

With that said, the St. Johns County Extension Agents decided as a group (with stakeholder input), to make some changes as we all evolve with the change in times. On October 21st – 22nd of 2022 in St. Augustine, we will be offering…

Growing Local in St. Johns County!

Growing Local Avatar
Growing Local in St. Johns County

So what does this all entail? A brand new vision and opportunity for you to engage with us and the agricultural community! By “Growing Local…,” we mean that literally. Growing your… produce, mindset, health, youth’s creativity, livestock, community awareness, etc.

Your Extension Agents are part of the county and our state educational institution – UF/IFAS. While we have enjoyed working with local vendors and restaurants, it is time bring more awareness of the purpose of our County Agricultural Center, and the contributions of local farms to our county!

For two days, you will have access to the Master Gardeners and their fabulous plant sale. These plants are all Florida Friendly, and non-invasive. Your purchase supports the volunteer organization. Youth in the 4-H Pumpkin Project will be offering a wide variety of pumpkins (for carving, decorating or baking) as part of their fundraiser too! Ask them which variety is good for what purpose – they’ve been studying for a while!

There will be educational sessions and lectures on Saturday, along with farm tours on Friday! Visitors will have the opportunity to choose from one of two (or both!) tours. The Ag Agents will take you on a 50-passenger bus to visit either wholesale/commercial farms or retail/u-pick/small farms in St. Johns County. You can learn about large-scale production of commercial farms, or the operation of small farms who regularly sell at our local markets for a small fee to cover our travel costs.

We have many exciting plans in the making, and more details coming soon. Please contact our office at 904-209-0430 for more details, and we’ll post information about tours and free lectures in the upcoming weeks!

Bok choy
Field of Bok choy in Elkton, FL

Prissy Fletcher
Posted: July 23, 2022

Category: Events
Tags: Ag Awareness, Community, Education, Food Systems

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