PLANT CITY AND THE AGRICULTURE, FOOD PROCESSING, AND SUPERMARKET REVOLUTION
In 1939 the Plant City State Farmers Market was built and was the largest in Florida. It promoted agriculture marketing and distribution, assisting the farmers deep in the depression years. Florida constructed a series of large state farm markets under the supervision of Commissioner of Agriculture Nathan Mayo. This was one segment of the onset of the revolution in the farm to table system.
D. Herman Kennedy, an engineer from Alabama, was assigned to build a plant in Plant City in 1943. Southland Frozen Foods became one of the ten largest frozen food companies in the United States. This development in food processing was the second segment of the agriculture, food processing, supermarket revolution that changed the way of American life forever.
In 1940, George Jenkins built his dream store in Winter Haven, opening the first Publix Supermarket in Florida. Publix led the following revolution, changing the shopping environment for consumers, and has continued to lead the industry in innovation and shopper value.
Local growers, working with the food processors and extension service agents, improved the quality, assortment, and per acre yield. Together, they developed the means to forecast what crops to grow and how much to produce, lessening the risk of growers, while improving selection for consumers.
These three industries in cooperation, along with improvements in distribution and transportation, reduced the cost of food to consumers by 30% between 1941 and 1975, (measured by percent of disposable income spent on food).
The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center will research and lay out the history of the dramatic changes in the farm-to-table chain that took place in and around Plant City beginning in 1939 and by 1975 had basically changed the way of life throughout America.
The exhibit will honor the three major industries forming the nucleus of this revolution and those who today continue to deliver superior food to America’s consumers. It will showcase these growers, food processors, and supermarkets, along with associated activities.
For participants in this exhibit, it’s an opportunity to tell their story from the early years to today.
The exhibition will be constructed and displayed in the Photo Archives Gallery and will open on Monday, October 15th, following a wine and cheese reception and private preview on Sunday, October 14th, and will run to Sunday, November 4th. A representative of the Florida Department of Agriculture will cut the ribbon and we plan a series of public relations activities to tell the story of the role of agribusiness, from farm to table, in our daily lives.
We will promote the exhibit through news releases, news stories, and advertising, and promote complete coverage of the opening. As a participant, you will be invited to attend the preview reception and will receive appropriate mention and listing in all news releases and media products. Publix, the exhibition’s signature sponsor, will lead the promotions and publicity, as well as provide guidance as to the exhibit format.
Be a participant and enter your exhibit or be a sponsor at the $100, $500, or $1,000 level and put your name in the publicity and brochures.