Hillsborough County Youth Learn by Doing —Producing Wholesale Plants

Shawn Steed


During the 1970s in Hillsborough County, qualified, employable young people were hard to find to enter the growing field of ornamental plant production. The Hillsborough County Horticulture Agent (Roger Newton) and representatives of the ornamental industry created a program where students could practice growing quality wholesale plants for education and prizes. This program
attracted prospective youth to employment in local industries or to continue advanced education in the same field after high school. In 1975 the Hillsborough County Youth Plant Show and Sale was born. In 1976 the show and sale
joined the Florida Strawberry Festival as the event venue. The Environmental Horticulture Production Extension Agent manages the program with its host of
volunteers. He is helped by a youth committee comprised of teachers, 4-H agents, and industry members. The Agent publishes a set of rules that govern the show and sale with committee approval. The students have sold their plants and raised approximately $715,000 since the show’s inception. The students are required to attend a mandatory meeting that educates them on what is expected from show participants regarding plant projects and entry into the show and sale. Students must grow a fixed number of pest free, Florida
Fancy or Florida #1 graded plants determined by rules set forth each year by the committee. Teachers, 4-H leaders, industry members, the Extension Agent, and parents assist the students with their projects during the competition season.


Hillsborough County, Producing Wholesale Plants

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283