BELLE GLADE, Fla. - Engage in agriculture from the ground up on November 7 from 8 am. to 3:30 p.m. at the Everglades Research and Education Center (EREC) Open House. The free event is designed to sprout curiosity and awareness from the public about the work that EREC scientists conduct in their community to promote continued harvesting.
EREC, located at 3200 East Palm Beach Road (East Canal Street) in Belle Glade, Florida, is an agricultural research unit of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The sixteen scientists, along with 80 staff members represent various academic disciplines and lead agricultural research and investigate environmental issues that protect the sustainability of their surrounding communities within Palm Beach County and its neighboring counties.
The free event will open the center doors to the public at 8 a.m. with a light breakfast followed by presentations, tours, and workshops until 3 p.m. The activities promise to engage students, residents, growers, master gardeners, businesses and stakeholders with the research that takes place in the center day to day. Tours, learning activities and field demonstrations will give more than 200 participants an up close and personal opportunity with faculty, researchers and staff who will show what represents agriculture in the area by using food, science and farm facts. Corn, sugarcane, bugs, hydroponics, entomophagy, wildlife and more will be center stage to some of EREC’s research that participants will get to learn about while seeing firsthand the soil testing laboratory that keeps Palm Beach’s unique soil intact and ready to keep producing. Experience a deep dive into water quality through a tour of the water testing laboratory. Finally, participants will get to mingle with the graduate students, interns, and postdoctoral researchers as they showcase their work presented through posters.
For almost a century, EREC’s scientists have served the agriculture needs of Palm Beach County – Florida’s top producer of rice, lettuce, radishes, Chinese vegetables, specialty leaf, and celery. More importantly, sugarcane, fresh sweet corn, and sweet bell peppers are key ingredients that give bragging rights to Palm Beach County as the nation’s leading producer of these commodities featured on the tables of millions of residents each day. Those same ingredients are vulnerable to diseases that have threated their sustainability in the agricultural industry from time to time. EREC’s mission since 1921 has served to conduct research and extension programs in southern Florida that ultimately explore and promote profitable and sustainable agriculture systems. The core focus has been to conserve and protect the soil, water and natural resources.
Over the years, EREC has been credited with benefiting local growers with the science that led to breeding of lettuce, sweet corn, and sugar. EREC research has gained ground with keeping muck soils sustainable and rich which is one of the natural attributes of Palm Beach soil. Soil subsidence, the process of slowing down soil erosion, is another win for the researchers who continue to work on this issue.
The free event will include a light breakfast and full lunch to participants who register by November 1st. To register, go to the following Eventbrite link, search on Eventbrite for Open House by UF/IFAS Everglades REC, or call 561-993-1500
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..