IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS, Pinellas Sheriff’s office create urban farms in Pinellas County

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition

Loften Center students learning about gardening and nutrition on Thursday, May 21st, 2015.

GAINESVILLE, Fla.— Residents in a county on Florida’s Gulf Coast are getting the help they need to access healthier foods via a collaboration between the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and the Pinellas Sheriff’s Police Athletic League. The two entities have teamed up to create an urban farm in Pinellas County.

Urban farms promote an abundance of food for people in need while raising awareness of health and wellness. “It is an opportunity to teach families and children the values of nutrition and establish a level of commerce for produce distribution,” said Mark Trujillo, a public health regional specialist for UF/IFAS Family Nutrition Program.

Trujillo introduced the executive director of the Pinellas Sheriff’s PAL, Neil Brickfield, to an empty U-Pick farm in Lealman, Florida, Pinellas County. After discovering the potential that the farm had to help the county, Brickfield then began to work with UF/IFAS to identify the needs of the farm and community.

Because Lealman, Florida is considered a food desert, the idea of an urban farm was essential for the area, Trujillo said. According to Brickfield, the citizens in Lealman are more than a mile from a local grocery store. “So, the urban farm is an opportunity for people to have fresh produce readily available,” Brickfield said.

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UF survey shows most Floridians want to know more about genetically modified foods

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, New Technology, Nutrition, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While almost half of Floridians acknowledge buying genetically modified foods, a recent survey by the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida reveals that most people want to know much more about those foods.

“The study shows that Floridians believe they don’t know much about genetically modified foods and their benefits,” said Joy Rumble, assistant professor in agricultural education and communication at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “Many people are favorable to supporting research, and they think it’s essential that government support it. Floridians see a place for GM foods, but they do have hesitations.”

The PIE Center surveyed 500 Floridians on their perceptions of genetically modified foods. Respondents were largely unsure about the potential benefits of genetically modified food, with more than 40 percent neither agreeing nor disagreeing that food technology such as GMOs allows people to live longer or better lives.

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Survey: Most Floridians concerned about food waste, safety

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Displays of fresh vegetables and produce. Photo taken 10-01-15.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Often without much thought, Americans throw out more than one-third of all food grown in the United States each year. However, a majority of Floridians acknowledge food waste is a major concern.

­­­Sixty percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed that they are concerned about food waste in their household, according to a recent food waste survey of 500 Florida residents conducted by the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida. The PIE Center is part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

It was also discovered through the survey that fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products most often go to waste. Oppositely, beverages, spices and seafood are the food items that go to waste least.

The survey also captured public perceptions on food safety.

Results from the survey revealed that 42 percent of Floridians feel that food safety is a major concern and 68 percent feel responsible for their own food safety.

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UF/IFAS will host entrepreneur workshop for future Florida business owners on May 13 and 27

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition
Soohyoun Ahn.  Assistant Professor.  Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Soohyoun Ahn. Assistant Professor. Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Gainesville, Fla.— Do you have a passion for cooking and want to invest your ideas in a restaurant? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension offers helpful information at the “How to Start a Food Business in Florida” workshops on May 13 and 27.

Anyone who is interested in running his/her own food business in Florida can attend the one-day workshop at one of the two locations and dates. The May 13 workshop will be held at Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center in Gainesville; the May 27 event will be held at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Florida. Both workshops will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“How to Start a Food Business in Florida” workshop will provide participants with general information on food safety and quality, basic food science, business planning, and federal and state regulatory requirements for food businesses.

The registration fee for the course is $125; early bird registration by April 30 is $100. Registration includes course materials, lunch, coffee breaks and certificate of completion. Register by May 6 for the Gainesville workshop at http://tinyurl.com/FoodBusinessGNV, and by May 20 for the Immokalee workshop at http://tinyurl.com/FoodBusinessImmokalee. Classes will be limited to the first 45 registrants for each site.

For more information, contact Dr. Soo Ahn at sahn82@ufl.edu or 352-294-3909.

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By: Brinkley Clark, 954-600-8257, brinkleycclark@ufl.edu

Source: Soo Ahn, 352-294-3909, sahn82@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS expert: Fisheries won’t meet need of exploding population, but aquaculture will

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

 

 

Jim Anderson (2)

James Anderson

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The world’s fisheries are a great source of protein, but even with the best management, they won’t be able to meet the needs of a global population expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences resource economics expert said.

Aquaculture must grow, said James Anderson, a UF/IFAS food and resource economics professor.

Aquaculture production is expected increase by more than 60 percent and account for nearly two-thirds of all seafood supplied for human consumption by 2030, said Anderson, who’s also director of the UF/IFAS Institute for Sustainable Food Systems.

Anderson made his remarks at the opening plenary of the Aquaculture 2016 Conference in Las Vegas, Feb. 23.

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Mother-daughter team teaches the art of canning food

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Vegetables
UF/IFAS Extension Agents Melanie Thomas, left, and her mother, Jackie Schrader teaching canning classes in Duval and Clay counties. Photo courtesy Melanie Thomas

see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As a little girl, Melanie Thomas would ladle hot fruit into glass jars with  her grandmother or watch from afar as her parents canned fruits and vegetables in the kitchen.

“I was one of those who was afraid of the pressure canner and left that job up to my mom and dad,” said Thomas.  “They always seemed like they knew what they were doing and had it under control.”

Now Thomas is a fearless advocate of preserving your own food.  She and her mother, Jackie Schrader, join forces each month to teach canning classes through a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension program.  Once every month, they gather students in either Duval or Clay County to instruct on everything from pressure canning low acid foods, including vegetables, meats and soups, to adding just the right amount of sugar and spices.

Their next class is scheduled for January 22 at 9:00 a.m. at the Clay County Extension office in Green Cove Springs. The February class is set for the 12th in Duval County. (more …)

UF/IFAS Extension helping students enter the food service workforce

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition
Micaela Howell prepares cake as part of Dunnellon High School's culinary arts program. The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences helps the program by administering a certification exam. Photo by: Dunnellon High School

see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Brandi Smith, 17 and a senior in the culinary arts program at Dunnellon High School, dreams of one day being accepted into the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. A program at her high school has set her on that path.

“Culinary arts is the one thing I have always loved doing,” said Smith, who is set to graduate in May.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension program and Marion County Public Schools is helping Brandi achieve that dream. She is one of about 400 students who, in the last four years, have passed through the food service program at Dunnellon High. As part of that class, Nancy Gal, a UF/IFAS Extension agent in Marion County, prepares students for a rigorous certification exam. (more …)

UF/IFAS experts predict food trends for 2016

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research

 

Lunch, carrots, watermelon, and salad sit on a table cloth with a picnic basket.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As 2015 starts to wind down, world-renowned food scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are already predicting trends for 2016. As they do, here are some hints as to what you can expect see in grocery stores and on your dinner table:

Total sensory foods – Smart food manufacturers now appreciate that flavor and aroma alone are not enough for many consumers, and that visual and textural stimuli are also important to the consumer. Foods incorporating innovative approaches to a blending of sensory attributes will likely win the consumers’ dollar. Scientific studies show that people shown a picture of a high-calorie food, such as pizza or pastry before experiencing an unfamiliar taste will find that taste more enjoyable than if they were shown a picture of a low-calorie food, such as watermelon or green beans. Thus, the appearance of a food is a critical part of the eating experience. Doug Archer, 352-392-1784, dlarcher@ufl.edu.

Decline of grilling – Grilling has been the go-to way of cooking red meats and poultry, but newly re-kindled concerns about the safety of red meats and meats and poultry cooked in conditions that may char or add smoke may cause consumers to return to recipes that call for baking in the good old oven. A contributor to this trend is the explosion of recipe sharing on social media for mixed meat and vegetable meals prepared easily in the oven. Doug Archer, 352-392-1784, dlarcher@ufl.edu.

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UF/IFAS expert gives food-safety tips for Thanksgiving

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Safety

 

A tomoato being hand-washed in a kitchen sink.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — You’re about to feast, give thanks, watch football and, maybe, take a nap. But as you head into the Thanksgiving holiday, how do you make sure you’re preparing your food properly and, then after dinner, how to you ensure your food stays safe to eat?

Amy Simonne, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor of food safety and quality, said although there are few clear-cut answers, she offers some situations and suggestions:

  • If the turkey, stuffing and gravy or other perishable foods are left out at room temperature longer than two hours or for one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees, the Food Safety Inspection Service of the U.S. Department (USDA/FSIS) recommends you discard them.
  •  After you’ve cooked and served the meal, when turkey, stuffing or gravy are not left between 40 and 140 degrees, you can divide the products into small portions and keep them in the refrigerator for three to four days or in the freezer for two to six months. This recommendation also comes from the USDA/FSIS. For more information, click on: http://1.usa.gov/1uKfrNl.

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