GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Shorten showers. Limit lawn irrigation. For the most part, Americans get it: They are fairly water conscious, according to a new national survey conducted by a team of University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers.
UF/IFAS researchers based their assessment on responses to a survey of 1,052 respondents. The poll shows 46 percent are “water considerate;” 44 percent of the participants are what researchers classified as “water savvy conservationists” and 9 percent are not concerned about water conservation.
“Water considerate” consumers take a few actions to conserve water but could stand some improvement, said Laura Warner, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of agricultural education and communication. “Water savvy conservationists” are most likely to engage in landscape irrigation conservation practices, and they’re more likely to use professionals for various landscape tasks. The savvy ones are also more likely to have social support or perceive expectations to conserve from friends and family, Warner said.
So-called “unconcerned water users” lack the strong perceived value for water resources, said Warner, who is also affiliated with the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s winters are usually dry, but the wet winter of 2015-2016 helped spread pathogens that destroyed ornamental plants in Miami-Dade County. That’s a problem in an area where the industry generated an estimated $998 million annually in sales in 2015, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers say.
Damage figures are not yet available from the 2015-2016 winter rains, but UF/IFAS scientists have found the pathogens Phytophthora and Pythium caused the most destruction. Rain spreads those pathogens, said Georgina Sanahuja, a post-doctoral researcher at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida.
Meteorologists consider Florida’s “dry season” to run from Oct. 1 to March 1 and the rest of the year to be the “wet season.” But last year, the “dry season” wasn’t so dry, because of El Niño, which brought more rain than South Florida has seen since records were kept starting in 1932, a new study published in the journal HortTechnology says.
Who: The Deep Roots 4-H club supported through the Lake County 4-H Youth Development Program of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
What: Thanks to funding and donations from the Florida State 4-H Foundation, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Bob Strier of Bookman Bob, Ace Hardware and local residents, the Deep Roots 4-H club members have planned and constructed five miniature community libraries, four to be installed at local public parks and one that will travel with the club to events.
The libraries will house 5,000 books donated by Bookman Bob, and most will be for young readers. The project aims to help more children access books and experience the joy of reading. Borrowers do not need a library card, and there are no late fees.
The opening of the first library will coincide with several youth soccer games at the same location. About 400 youth are expected to participate in these games. The Deep Roots 4-H club will invite players to discover the library and learn about the project.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Use your imagination to hop aboard ‘Ole Red’ and ‘Bobby Boat’ for a tour of Florida’s aquaculture and seafood industries, part of the 14th annual Florida Agriculture Literacy Day on Tuesday, May 2.
To celebrate, participants from many sectors of Florida’s agriculture sector, including employees and volunteers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will read to elementary schoolchildren in their classrooms.
They’ll read the book, “Drive Through Florida: Aquaculture and Seafood,” which features the animated red truck ‘Ole Red’ and his new friend, ‘Bobby Boat.’ Participants are encouraged to read the book ahead of time to familiarize themselves with the content before their classroom readings.
“Ag Literacy day is a great opportunity for students to learn about something they may not see in their daily lessons,” said Becky Sponholtz, executive director of Florida Agriculture in the Classroom. “Students enjoy the interaction with industry representatives, who often take the reading day as a chance to further engage students with hands-on examples of their commodities. Last year, volunteers across the state brought samples of Florida vegetables for students to taste and feel. This year some students may get to see and touch an alligator.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Farmer’s markets have been growing in popularity over the past decade, as consumers discover the benefits of buying farm-fresh food from local growers. However, increasing popularity has also raised food safety concerns for produce sold at farmer’s markets.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is hosting a one-day workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, April 10. The workshop will be held at the Power Plant Business Incubator, 2nd floor training room, 405 SE Osceola Ave., Ocala, Florida 34471.
Assistant professor Soo Ahn, in the food science and human nutrition department, and other UF/IFAS faculty will host classes on what matters most to consumers, food safety issues, safety guidelines for growers and vendors, and how to ensure products are in compliance.
Cost of attendance is $40 through March 31 for early registration; $50 starting April 1. Click here to register online. For more information, contact Soo Ahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-294-3909.
By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, email@example.com
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 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 works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Growers are bracing for a cold snap tonight that could cost them thousands of dollars in damage. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension agents and researchers are here to help.
A hard freeze warning is in effect from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday, March 16 for many counties in North Florida, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. Temperatures are predicted to be 24 to 27 degrees during these hours.
UF/IFAS Extension specialists are available to give growers advice for the cold spell. Find your county’s UF/IFAS Extension specialists by clicking here. Then click on your county.
Landscaping at a home garden.
SANFORD, Fla. — Wondering if that new lawn will mean a discussion with your Homeowner’s Association? The University of Florida Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM program offers a workshop on April 26 to help homeowners navigate the process.
“Legally Speaking: FFL in The Planned Community” will run from 12:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the UF/IFAS Extension Seminole County office. The location is 250 County Home Road, Sanford, Florida 32773.
“We are offering the course to help homeowners learn about current legal issues, and to give them strategies they can use when working with an HOA board to install a Florida-Friendly landscape,” said Claire Lewis, UF/IFAS statewide Florida yards and neighborhoods coordinator. “We want homeowners and HOA members to work together and also be able to avoid problems by learning the science-based ways to landscape.”
The workshop will include topics such as a review of issues and outcomes of installing a Florida Friendly landscape, a presentation by a community association attorney on disputes arising between HOAs and homeowners, and 10 strategies for working with an HOA.
Cost to attend is $5. Click here to register. For more information, contact Claire Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-273-4518.
By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, email@example.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida peaches make for a succulent snack, say consumers surveyed by a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher.
That’s encouraging news for Florida producers trying to expand their reach, not only in the Sunshine State but nationally, said Joy Rumble, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of agricultural education and communication.
“I was surprised to see that one of the most common ways people reported eating peaches was as a snack,” Rumble said. “I thought that people would be consuming them as part of a meal such as lunch or in a dish such as cobbler or as a topping, like on yogurt. This finding is encouraging for the Florida peach industry because the Florida peach tends to be smaller than those produced elsewhere. There is an opportunity to position and market the Florida peach as the perfect snack.”
MILTON, Fla. — The seasons are changing and it’s time to enjoy the blooming plants across the state. Families are invited to enjoy the Spring Festival of Flowers on April 7 to 9 in Milton. The University of Florida IFAS Milton Campus and the Pensacola State College are sponsoring the free event.
The festival will be held at the UF/IFAS and Pensacola State College Milton Campus, 5988 Hwy. 90, Building 4900, Milton, Florida 32583. The festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The festival will feature arts and crafts, plants, flower and herbs, garden supplies, locally grown vegetables, and great food and music. Educational booths will feature UF/IFAS Extension agents answering questions about plants and flowers, eclectic gardening, good bugs and bad bugs, sprinklers and air layering demonstrations, and experts offering advice and hands-on demonstrations on wildlife for your backyard.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — How’s that New Year’s resolution holding up? If you resolved to eat healthier in 2017, you have a second chance during National Nutrition Month, which runs through March.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Put your best fork forward,” according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Experts from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have a few tips to help you get started.
“Putting your best fork forward means making every bite count and getting the most out of our ‘food investment’ — a forkful of salad gives us a lot more than a forkful of pie,” said Nan Jensen, family and consumer sciences agent in Pinellas County with the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program.
“As we celebrate National Nutrition Month, I would encourage everyone to eat a variety of foods from all food groups,” said Lacey Corrick, education and training specialist for the UF/IFAS Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).
Corrick and Jensen recommend starting with small changes that will improve your health over time.