View Poster Application


Extension Education

Yvette Goodiel
Sustainability & Comm. Hort. Extension Agent III


Growers across the Treasure Coast of Florida are often faced with inventory issues due to the nature of their perishable commodity. In 2019, Extension completed a food systems analysis that identified current resources and suggestions for system improvements, and this information was shared with local stakeholders and decision makers. To start addressing inventory issues, Extension partnered with the Martin County Agriculture and Natural Resources Advisory Committee to offer an in-person food system networking event in October 2019. Based on stakeholder feedback, the team planned to offer the event again the following fall.  Local growers then faced drastic changes in their distribution outlets due to the pandemic, further exposing weaknesses in the local food system. Considering the need to strengthen food system distributions, Extension implemented a monthly virtual meet-up event, “Good Food Connections”, for local producers and users to share information, express needs or desires for their operation and offer available resources. Monthly events have been attended by local growers, representatives of local and out of state food banks, food product producers, retailers, industry organizations, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, distributors, and Extension faculty. Participants have made the intended connections at each event and, with the events being offered monthly, continued and expanding connections have been possible. After participating in the December 2020 event, 100% of survey respondents (n=12) said “definitely yes” (42%) or “probably yes” (58%) they were able to make at least one new connection. Connections have included:

  • Growers learned of packinghouse and processing facilities;
  • \r\n
  • Retailers shared with growers they are seeking to purchase local produce;
  • \r\n
  • Growers seeking skilled labor connected with a pantry offering student internships at their production garden; and
  • \r\n
  • A grower seeking trained chefs/cooks for farm-to-table dinners connected with non-profits engaged in hospitality workforce development.
  • \r\n

At an individual scale, for a skilled hospitality or agricultural worker to find employment, the benefits can be life-changing. For business owners, having skilled workers makes a huge difference. When growers connect with packing, processing, and retail opportunities, they have more options for market outlets and product offerings. Good Food Connections can help to build a stronger food system.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted only for display at AM/PIC. Poster is not to be judged, but the abstract will be published in the proceedings.

Click to view Poster

Authors: Y. Goodiel, C. Roberts, C. Fiestas Nunez
  1. Goodiel, Y. Sustainability & Comm. Hort. Extension Agent III, UF/IFAS, Florida, 34996-4007
  2. Roberts, C. Community Resource Development Agent I, UF/IFAS, Florida, 34945
  3. Fiestas Nunez, C. FNP Food Systems Specialist, UF/IFAS, Florida, 33314