Jennifer Taylor, an associate professor in Florida A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, can thank her grandmother’s fortitude for instilling in her the riches of the soil.
In the 1940s, Lola Hampton, a sharecropper, was able to purchase a 32 ½-acre farm in Glenwood, Georgia. She shared the abundance of fruits and vegetables with family and neighbors.
In 2010, Taylor and her husband, Ronald Gilmore, resurrected the farm, where they now are popular organic farmers, growing their own fruits and vegetables and teaching others of the benefits of organic farming.
At the same time, Taylor has earned a reputation as one of the state’s most prolific promoters of agriculture, organic farming, education and sustainability.
On Feb. 10, Taylor will be honored as the “2019 Woman of the Year in Agriculture” during the Florida State Fair by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in conjunction with the Florida State Fair Authority and the Florida Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Program.
For the past 35 years, the department has bestowed the honor on women who have made exceptional contributions to Florida agriculture. Previous honorees have made their mark in areas such as cattle, horticulture, timber, citrus, agriculture education, and more.
“It’s my honor to announce Dr. Jennifer Taylor as Florida’s Woman of the Year in Agriculture for her many contributions and outstanding leadership within our state’s agriculture community,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in her announcement this week.
“Forward thinkers and advocates like her are working to break barriers while leading the charge towards sustainable practices,” Fried added. “Dr. Taylor’s dedication to underserved farming communities and focus on organic farming systems is a source of inspiration.”
In addition to her role as associate professor, Taylor also is coordinator of the FAMU Statewide Small Farm Program.
She is well known for involvement in promoting organic farming in Tallahassee and was one of the driving forces in establishing the weekly farmer’s market at Lake Ella.
Taylor earned her undergraduate degree in agronomy at FAMU, following up with a master’s degree in agronomy at Iowa State and a doctorate in vocational and technical education from Virginia Tech.
Last fall, she was recognized by Rodale Institute as an Organic Pioneer. The honor is presented annually to a a farmer, a scientist, and a business person—for their innovations and commitment to the organic industry.
Source – Tallahassee