Wilson, T.1; Bosques-Mendez, J.2; Walter, J.3; Dunn, G.4; Freeman, T.5; Fletcher, Evelyn "Prissy"6; Thomas, M.7
1County Extension Director, Production Agriculture Agent III, University of Florida/IFAS, St. Augustine, FL, 32092
2County Extension Director, Agriculture Agent II, University of Florida/IFAS, Wauchula, FL, 33873
3Program Extension Agent III, University of Florida/IFAS, Cocoa, FL, 32926
4St. Johns County Senior Forester, Florida Forest Service, St. Augustine, FL, 32092
5Urban and Commercial Horticulture Agent II, University of Florida/IFAS, St. Augustine, FL, 32092
6Commercial Agriculture Agent I, University of Florida/IFAS, St. Augustine, FL, 32092
7County Extension Director, Family and Consumer Science Agent II, University of Florida/IFAS, Bunnell, FL, 32110


Situation: Historically, St. Johns County Florida has been an agricultural hub that produced vegetables, beef cattle and citrus. From 2010 through 2019, the population of St. Johns County increased 25% and is expected to continue increasing over the next 10 years. This growth has reduced the amount of land used for agriculture in the County. However, as this transition occurs, residents who own or are thinking of purchasing smaller tracts of land may be interested in starting a production agriculture enterprise. Methods: The “Living on a Few Acres” in St. Johns County workshop series was developed to provide basic agricultural production classes on various topics each month to help clientele make decisions on whether to develop an agricultural business on their land. One-hour classes were offered on the third Thursday of each month to address topics of interest. Currently, two series of classes have been developed. The first series included topics related to livestock production such as: beef cattle, small ruminant and backyard poultry production. The second series includes topics related to fruit and vegetable production such as: peaches, muscadine grapes and cottage food laws. To promote these workshops to new clientele, YouTube videos were developed by the SJC Communications Department and sent to multiple media outlets in addition to traditional marketing efforts. Results: Participation for 8 of the 11 classes that have been completed totaled 48 and varied individually from 2 to 17. Although participation seemed low, it was apparent that those in attendance were serious about developing an agricultural enterprise with their small acreage. Several participants have attended multiple classes to integrate various production systems on their farms.  Some participants have even used these classes as a networking venue to meet other small farm operations in the area. Conclusion: Overall, participants indicated the classes provided the information they expected related to each topic. Although participants who want to move forward with their enterprise will need additional information, these classes have been useful in helping them make initial decisions.

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