For 25 years, Polk County Agri-Fest has been educating fourth-graders at this annual event to help cultivate future leaders for the agriculture industry. But most importantly, their efforts show children agriculture commodities that they may not have even been aware of.
As a former volunteer at this event, I was surprised to learn how many children had never seen the process behind freshly squeezed orange juice, or students who didn’t know that blueberries also are grown in Florida. For a few days, these kids get to take their heads out of the books and learn in hands-on workshops each day in the areas of citrus, beef cattle, phosphate, small farms, blueberries, aquaculture, horticulture, forestry, and water conservation. To see their faces light up as a real Florida cowboy demonstrates why he cracks his whip on the ranch is a priceless treasure by itself.
Since more than 6,000 students attend this event annually, volunteers are what make it all possible. I encourage you to partake in this great tradition of engaging students and helping cultivate tomorrow’s leaders. There’s not much time left, so you’ll need to contact Polk County Farm Bureau today to volunteer for one day or more. This year’s Agri-Fest is March 11-15 and March 18-22 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information on how you can help, call (863) 533-0561, ext. 112, and I’ll see you there!
column by Celeste Jo Walls
Celeste Jo Walls is managing editor of Central Florida Ag News. She may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.