florida agriculture

Madeline Fox / WLRN

Palm Beach County has its share of spacious, suburban houses – especially in the areas west of the coastline, where land is cheaper and more plentiful.

It also has plenty of farms, producing crops that range from Florida’s famous sugarcane to sweet corn, lettuce and tropical fruits.

A planned community in Wellington is hoping to find success by combining the two. Arden bills itself as an “agrihood,” a master-planned community of 2,000 homes centered around a five-acre farm and barn.

Joe Cavaretta / South Florida Sun Sentinel

South Florida consumers used to be able to buy fresh tomatoes and bell peppers at Publix that were grown at Whitworth Farms in Boynton Beach. But last year, the third-generation farming family was forced to lease its land because it was no longer profitable to farm it.

Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition / Courtesy

For the past 68 years the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition has brought fun amusement park rides, funnel cakes and magic shows to South Florida. But it's more than just fun; organizers also want to educate kids on the agriculture industry. This year's fair, which has been going since March 14, is training the future generation of farmers.

University of Florida researchers have made some headway in their quest for cultivating vanilla plants that would thrive in the state.


JOSE A. IGLESIAS / MIAMI HERALD

Weapons. Water. Weed. Nikki Fried successfully campaigned on those "three W's" to become Florida’s new agriculture commissioner. The former lobbyist defeated Republican challenger Matt Caldwell in an extremely tight race that went to a manual recount. The margin of victory was only 6,000 votes or .08%.

Fried has an ambitious and progressive policy platform but faces some difficult challenges. She will be the lone Democrat elected to Florida's cabinet and expects to face pushback on policies related to gun control and climate change.

Frustration is growing among Florida citrus farmers awaiting the distribution of $2.36 billion in federal disaster-relief money for agriculture losses sustained in Hurricane Irma.

Automation. Development. Citrus Greening. Florida’s agriculture industry is hurting, and Hurricane Irma is only the most recent blow. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers will be considering how to support the industry, which is second only to tourism.