Agri-Fest 2024: Florida Farms Station Overview

by LUIS RODRIGUEZ, UF/IFAS Extension Polk County

Every year, UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, Polk County Farm Bureau, and Polk County School Board collaborate on Agri-Fest. Agri-fest is an agricultural event catered to teach fourth-grade students about agriculture in Florida and its importance. The event is divided into six stations, and the students rotated within three stations out of the six for 30 minutes each. At each of these stations, the kids learned about important aspects of Florida agriculture such as citrus, livestock, forestry, phosphate, horticulture, and Florida Farms. 

Florida Farms Station

As the Small Farms Agent, I oversee the Florida Farms Station that consists of several displays that represent several aspects of Florida agriculture. These displays are used as demonstrations to teach kids the importance of agriculture, where their food comes from, and what is grown in Florida. There were four displays in total:

  • Produce display – This display consisted of several agricultural commodities set up in a farmers market setting. The purpose of this display is to teach kids about the diversity of crops that Florida farmers can produce and to create awareness of the importance of farmers to our society and food security. The produce for the display was donated by Feeding Tampa Bay. If you want more information about them visit their website at 
  • Chicken display – This display consisted of a chicken coop with live chickens from common laying breeds. The purpose of this display is to teach kids that animal products are part of agriculture. Kids learn that part of our food comes from animal farms such as eggs, meat, and milk. The chickens were donated by Wonderhere School from Lakeland.
  • Hydroponics display – This display consisted of a Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Hydroponics System. The purpose of this display is to teach kids about the technology used in farming and how it’s used to grow crops in Florida. The hydroponic system used was a design donated by another UF/IFAS Extension Agent.
  • Beekeeping display – This display consists of a table with beekeeping equipment and an observation hive with live bees. The purpose of this display is to increase awareness of the importance of honey bee pollination in Florida farms. The kids learned about the process of pollination, honey bee biology, how honey is made, and the essential equipment beekeepers need. The bees used at the station were from my apiary. 

During the presentation, I asked the kids questions about agriculture to promote engagement. Several kids were asked to come up front to answer specific questions with the purpose of better learning. Every kid had the opportunity to raise their hands and ask questions related to agriculture.

Creating Future Farmers

Teaching kids about agriculture, especially when Agri-Fest is the first interaction with agriculture for some, is important. Hopefully, events like this will create future citizens that support agriculture and farmers within their communities.

For more information about Florida Farms visit the UF/IFAS Polk County Small Farms website here: 

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