Farm lovers swarmed Florida A&M’s third-annual Farm Fest agricultural exhibition by the dozens on Saturday for tours and produce.
Held at FAMU’s Research Extension Center in Quincy, Fla., Farm Fest featured walking and riding tours through the 267-acre facility, exhibits from organic food providers and demonstrations from growers and veterinarians.
People milled about the farm, watching exhibitions, talking with students of food and animal providers and stuffing bagfuls of free squash, collard greens, tomatoes and other vegetables, which had been grown just for the event. When asked about the number of people who attended, FAMU assistant professor of food and animal sciences and FarmFest coordinator Keawin Sarjeant said: “The turnout was what we expected. We expect to see growth [each year].”
Tallahassee resident Nikki Harris agreed. It was her first time attending Farm Fest. “The crowd participation was really good. It was a lot of informative demonstrations,” Harris said, and, “It was also great for the community to see all the project research and extension activities here on the farm.”
Another Tallahassee resident, Carolyn Hightower, called her day at the farm “beautiful.” “I loved it: Seeing the vegetables, riding the tractor, I loved that very much and seeing the goats and the hogs,” Hightower said.
When asked about today’s events, Leon Fuller, a resident of Miami, said: “It’s very informational. A lot of good ideas and a lot of good techniques.”
College of Agriculture and Food Science Business Technology Coordinator Cedric Spradley was quick to point out technology’s emerging role in sustaining agriculture. “Bringing technology to the farm…students use laptops to identify insects and plant diseases,” Spradley said. “If identified immediately, we save crops.”
Volunteers helped make Farm Fest a success, organizing vegetable display tables, assisting with parking and children and serving lunch.
FAMU biology student Alicia Alexander said she thought Farm Fest was a “great experience,” adding she would volunteer again. “I enjoyed today’s event. I thought it’s a great way to bridge the gap between the community and agriculture,” said Alexander, a senior from Ft. Lauderdale.