Traveling Workshop (TW) will take place on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 after the Opening Breakfast Welcome. As a conference attendee, you will have the opportunity to experience Florida's agricultural industry firsthand through an unforgettable traveling workshop experience! Each attendee may select one (1) traveling workshop experience, which is included with the registration cost.
Please note that all workshop locations are subject to change, and an appropriate and equally engaging substitute will be included in the experience.
Traveling Workshop 1: Fish and Ferns!
Jump on this tour in rural Volusia County to see the unique operations of FernTrust and Evans Fish Farm. FernTrust is a cooperative made up of 13 family-owned farms that cover over 350 acres. Between 6 and 8 million bunches of fern go through FernTrust each year. This foliage growers’ cooperative is nestled in the fern capital of the world. Just a hop and a skip down the road is Evans Fish Farm. Aquafarmers are helping to pioneer state-of-the-art aquacultural operations in the U.S., making Florida a primary producer of sustainable, farm-raised caviar. Evans Fish Farm raises different species of sturgeon including Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga to produce Anastasia Gold caviar in a unique aquaculture system. This is sure to be a fun and diverse trip!
Traveling Workshop 2: Blueberries, Beef, and Brahman, Oh My!
The one-stop shop of Chapman’s Double C Bar Ranch is a family-owned and operated agritourism ranch. Along with their commercial beef operation, they specialize in the raising of purebred Brahman cattle, locally finished beef, and most recently-Blueberries! At Double C Bar Ranch, they take great pride in raising and caring for all of their plants and animals. They strive to be good stewards of the land and animals they are able and willing to care for. You will have the opportunity to visit with the ranchers and gain some knowledge of the work they do in the industry. This tour will be a single stop loaded with multiple learning opportunities!
Traveling Worksop 3: Plant Products and Projects With A Purpose
This tour will have a plethora of interesting industry information! Cherrylake was founded over 30 years ago, they have researched, developed, and implemented the leading practices in horticulture to grow trees that not only look beautiful but also have optimal performance after transplant. Cherrylake is part of IMG Enterprises, Inc., a diversified group of companies specializing in Agribusiness and Land Management in Florida. IMG Enterprises includes three main operational entities: IMG Citrus, Cherrylake, and Cherrylake Wilderness Preserve. These operations are unified by a common family ownership, a commitment to Florida agriculture, and a belief that a sustainable connection to the land can transform the world exponentially. This stop will be packed with greenhouses, tree nurseries, a roadside pollinator garden, a C.U.P.S. facility (citrus under protective shield), and plenty of topics to pique your interest!
Traveling Worksop 4: Plants, Plants, and More Plants! One of the largest pieces of Florida agriculture is the Nursery and Landscape Industry, so this tour is one that highlights some of the different operations within that sector. The Deroose Plants Group is a supplier of young plant material for growers and plantation owners around the world. The company has been active in tissue-culture cloning of plants since 1980. Currently, plants are being produced in their locations in Europe, North America, and Asia. With over 800 team members, working in their laboratories and 20 hectares of greenhouse facilities, Deroose is one of the biggest T.C. propagators in the world. The next stop, Central Florida Ferns & Foliage was founded in 1990 by Ray and Kathy Roberts. With most of the indoor foliage being grown in this area of the state, Ray soon found his niche in growing assorted ferns with unique and wide varieties. Since then, Central Florida Ferns & Foliage has expanded from assorted ferns to other interesting tropical foliage that has enhanced their product line. Proud of being a family-founded business they continue to be family-owned and operated today. At the last stop, attendees will have the opportunity to walk through greenhouses filled with cacti and succulents and have the opportunity to purchase and bring home a piece of Florida agriculture. So come along on this tour to see plants, plants, and more plants!
Traveling Workshop 5: Where the Garden, the Kitchen, and Education Meet!
This tour shows how the culinary world is integral in educating consumers about agriculture. John Rivers, the man behind 4 Rivers barbecue, has been working for years on a plan to change the food system in Central Florida. The goal is to improve food access in Central Florida while increasing education about healthy eating. The main feature of the organization is the 4Roots Farm Campus, which is a 40-acre farm and educational center in Orlando’s new Packing District off of John Young Parkway. This is a place where students and the community will be able to come and learn how their food is grown and where they can access healthy food where they live. The next stop is the Edible Education Experience which operates the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden. The collaboration began between community professionals and key educators to create a Nutritional Science Lab at Orlando Junior Academy, located across the street from what is now the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden. The centrally located facility is a simple, yet beautiful, 3,500 sq. ft. kitchen house with four cooking stations that open onto a veranda overlooking the garden that perfectly serves EEE’s mission to empower students and their communities through seed-to-table experiences. This tour is a unique experience and is sure to inspire you!
Traveling Workshop 6: Global Innovation in the Plant Industry!
Agri-Starts was founded by Randy Strode, a former high school biology teacher, who had an interest in plant propagation in tissue culture. Since opening its doors in 1984, AgriStarts has grown to a team of more than 120 employees offering more than 850+ plant varieties, including tropical, edible, interior foliage, native and specialty plants that are shipped worldwide. Agri-starts partners with Orange County Public School District to host a transition program for students to get hands-on alternative education experience. The sheer size and innovation of this stop is sure to blow your mind! After this tour, attendees will head to Kelly Park where they will enjoy lunch near a crystal blue Florida spring. (Wheelchair accessible).
Traveling Workshop 7: A Partnership Rooted In Positivity!
On this tour, you will get to visit a school and a major theme park that have come together to educate students in central Florida about the importance of taking care of the world we live in. The first stop is Millennia Gardens Elementary School. MGES started an Eco Club in 2016 after being awarded a substantial grant through the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. This grant called for a strong focus on environmental topics, applications, and projects such as school gardening, wildlife conservation, alternative energy applications, and local ecology. The goals for what would become the Eco Club were daunting but the determination and passion shared by the teachers involved and the inspiration they brought to the students proved to be the winning facet that led to the success of their highly unique projects and endeavors. The Eco Club has impacted its students in a multitude of ways, but one unique project was constructing and maintaining a fifty-tower hydroponic garden that produces romaine lettuce for SeaWorld’s Manatee Rescue Project, a quarter-acre wildlife sanctuary that has bat houses, an osprey nesting perch and frog pond, ten vegetable garden beds and many smaller gardens for insects and wildlife. The group not only grows vegetables and fruit but the students learn to cook and hold an annual cooking competition. They have received numerous grants and awards that highlight the innovative ways they help impact their students in achievement. Seaworld has become a consistent supporter of the Eco Club with the new and continuing projects they have conducted with their students. This partnership is an amazing thing to see!
Traveling Worksop 8: Technology, Trends, and Trails - Inspiration from a Local Community
Join the former Director of Disney’s Horticulture and members of the Bloom & Grow Garden Society for a tour of Winter Garden Florida that will highlight the projects, partnerships and passion of some exceptional volunteer community leaders. Each stop on the tour will showcase the role horticulture and environmental responsibility play in the success of a community as well as the importance of partnerships to make bold things happen. You will meet community leaders who will share their stories, their passion and their successes. Along the way, you will learn about the different careers in horticulture essential to creating a quality landscape. Each stop of the tour will include nuggets of information on technology and trends within the horticulture industry that make Winter Garden the special place it is. The tour will include about one mile of walking, rain or shine, and will include a butterfly garden that honors the monarch and its plight, an innovative boutique plant store, a heritage tree walk that tells the history of the city and its people as well as the trees and a walk through the beautiful and serene Path of Life Garden. Most of these projects were created by volunteers and could be inspiration for comparable projects in the classroom.
Traveling Workshop 9: The Next Generation of Nursery Owners
This tour covers the family-owned nursery niche. The first stop is Nelson and Family Nursery. Established in Apopka over 65 years ago by Olin Nelson. Before 1955, people said you couldn’t grow roses in Florida. To prove that theory wrong, the Nelsons decided to experiment with a wild rose that was found throughout the state of Florida and the Southeast. Along with the University of Florida, a way to graft onto Fortuniana Rootstock was developed and they have been a wholesale producer of quality grafted roses ever since. Their stock and rootstock are all maintained, grown, and grafted on-site in sunny Central Florida. The next stop will be Knox Horticulture. This nursery began in 1962 when Jim and Nadine Knox began growing cuttings in a misting box on their patio. These first plants were for home use, but in the summer of 1962, the Knox’s made their first commercial sale. As the 1980s drew to a close, Jim and Nadine began relinquishing their roles at the nursery to their sons, Bruce and Monty. The current nursery is located on 33 acres of former orange groves on Avalon Road in Winter Garden. Their production processes make extensive use of automation and computer technology. They use the Eco-friendly EZ-Pot System to significantly reduce the use of traditional plastic pots and save money, while providing customers with plants that have a healthier root system, resulting in faster finish times after transplant. This tour will show how the next generation is ushering in new trends in the industry.