Community Services is another example of the family spirit within the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. As many as 166 scholarships have been awarded through the Association totaling $92,000. Although each year varies depending on the number of applicants, FSGA rarely gives less than ten $500 scholarships as well as three special $1,000 scholarships, including the Brenda St. Martin Memorial Scholarship, the Steve Dukes Memorial Scholarship and the Bridges Equipment Scholarship. FSGA also works in with the University of South Florida's Department of education to award Migrant Scholarships.
Most of the scholarship money is raised at the Best Flat Contest each year. Growers pick their best flat of strawberries to be judged. After the selection is made based on a criteria of color, shape, size, uniformity and of course taste, the top three flats are auctioned off. Thanks to many wonderful community supporters the Best Flat competition has raised over $9,000 each of the past two years. If you would like more information on how to participate in the Best Flat Contest, please contact the FSGA office at 813-752-6822.
The RCMA Straight from the Heart Program collects the profits of 10 flats of berries donated by each strawberry grower near Valentine's Day for the Redland's Christian Migrant Association.
The Florida Strawberry Growers Association has recently created a Women's Committee that has been active in various policy issues as well as collecting recipes for the new cookbook and the Ag Venture program. Ag Venture in Hillsborough County is a two-week hands-on learning camp that sees over 4,800 students during the two weeks. Twenty agricultural stations are on hand including a strawberry production station where students can watch a production video, take home a strawberry coloring book, as well as plant and take home their own strawberry plant that can later be entered and judged at the Florida State Fair. The Women's Committee is also working hard on taking the strawberry station program state-wide and creating a traveling display to send to other counties. The Women's Committee is open to anyone who is interested.
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