Florida agriculture dates back to the 1500s. See the timeline of significant events below:

1513
Ponce de Leon makes landfall on the eastern coast of Florida somewhere between current day St. Augustine and Melbourne.

1521
Ponce de Leon organizes a colonizing expedition consisting of 200 men, including farmers, 50 horses and other farm animals. The descendants of the hardy livestock became the original Cracker Horse and Cracker Cattle breeds.

Florida Oranges

1565
The Spanish plant oranges and figs at St. Augustine as King Phillip II stipulates planting sugar cane for the sugar mills to be built at the new settlement.

1763
British Colonists expand Florida agriculture, utilizing plantations to grow cotton, rice and indigo.

1797
The first cast iron plow is patented. Before the plow, nearly all field work was done by human power.

1845
Florida is admitted to the Union as the 27th state.

Florida

1859
The Morrill Act creates land-grant colleges in each state for the study of agriculture.

1868
Florida creates the Cabinet post of Commissioner of Immigration, which would later become the Commissioner of Agriculture who now heads up the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

1902
“Tomato King,” Tom Peters, builds a tram drawn by a mule team to haul tomatoes to Cutler. Tomatoes become Dade County’s first multimillion dollar industry.

1935
Florida’s first farmers’ market opens in Sanford.

Florida tomatoes

1990
The Florida Legislature authorizes the creation of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC) to assist Florida producers in marketing their agricultural products. The hallmark of the program is the “Fresh From Florida” logo, which producers can display on product packaging and signage and in advertisements.

See Also:  "Fresh From Florida" Campaign Gives Food For Thought

2012
School nutrition programs move to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for Florida’s school children.

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