On Friday, Santa Fe College (SF) hosted an Opportunities and Benefits of Heritage Foods Symposium as part of the “Florida Heritage Foods Initiative: Connecting Local Foods with Local Culture in Florida Farmer Markets” project.
SF partnered with Florida Organic Growers (FOG) and Consumers in a three-year grant designed to increase access to Florida’s heritage food consumption in local markets.
FOG’s mission is to educate producers, consumers, media, institutions, and governments about the benefits of organic and sustainable agriculture.
“Today is all about information, education, and conversations surrounding the power and cultural significance of food,” said SF President Paul Broadie II in an interview. “There is a historical context to food, so engaging our students and bringing people together is what this is all about.”
The symposium showcased farmers, entrepreneurs, educators, and community members actively engaging with Florida heritage crops.
Visitors learned how to grow, sell, and cook heritage foods throughout the event. It also highlighted the contributions crops make to local economic growth.
Farmers, professors, and entrepreneurs hosted presentations and workshops in SF meeting rooms that offered information and guided activities regarding food and culture.
The keynote speaker, Vivian Filer, presented “Indigenous African Foods Feeding America Today.” Her speech offered insight into the history of how African American food came to and became a staple in America.
Filer is the founding member and board member of Gainesville’s Cotton Club Museum.
“I believe the meaning behind the symposium was to allow people to dig deeper into the origin of the food and connect the heritage to specific foods,” said Filer. “It is important for everyone to know how their food arrived and thrived in the United States. I am excited because people are willing to learn and ask the questions that need answers.”