Florida Heritage Foods

food and culture Educator Resources

The educator resources below were designed and developed by K12 teachers and college faculty integrating local food and culture instructional content into a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary courses and activities.  The resources below are available for non-commercial distribution and adaptation by educators, teachers and faculty in Florida and beyond.

Food and Culture Instructional Tools

The Florida heritage food and culture instructional tools presented here include aligned measurable learning objectives, instruction and assessments designed to assist students to create a digital poster that explains how globalization processes have connected Florida to the worldwide arena.

HUM2420: African Humanities byDr. Sarah Cervone, Assistant Professor Humanities, Department of Humanities and Foreign Languages, Santa Fe College:  Lesson for SME Review

HUM2461: Latin American Humanities (Dr. Marcela Murillo, Assistant Professor Spanish, Department of Humanities and Foreign Languages, Santa Fe College)Lesson for SME Review

CHI 1121: Chinese by Eva Casanas, Adjunct Professor Chinese, Department of Humanities and Foreign Languages, Santa Fe College: Lesson for SME Review

FRE 1121: French (Elizabeth Ziffer and Maria McGrey, Adjunct Professors French, Department of Humanities and Foreign Languages, Santa Fe College) Lesson for SME Review

REL2300: Contemporary World Religions by Dr. Joshua Braley, Adjunct Professor Religion, Department of Humanities and Foreign Languages, Santa Fe College: Lesson for SME Review

ART1500: Painting (Dan Stepp, Assistant Professor Fine Arts, Department of fine Arts and Entertainment Technology, Santa Fe College)

Gallery of Student Artifacts
Click Here

Food and Educational Games

The food and culture games below are designed to promote fun and engaging learning experiences to help young learners identify and recognize tasty Florida heritage foods that are easy to grow in the home and school garden. 

Go Garden! Matching Card Game:

Got okra? No, go garden! Modelled after the ‘Go Fish’ matching card game, Go Garden! showcases a collection of heritage crops that are both tasty and easy to grow in a school garden. Rendered in colorful images with playful characters by renown seed-saver and botanical artist, Melissa DeSa, Go Garden! offers children a fun way to learn about Florida Heritage Foods. Card sets available through Alachua County Farm-to School while supplies last.

Crops included: 

Roselle, Ginger, Garlic, Daikon, Chayote, Turmeric, Okra, Sweet Potato, Celosia, Malabar Spinach, Kiwano, Nopal, Thyme, and four diverse child gardeners as ‘Wild Cards.’

Bibliographies (coming Soon)

The collection of Florida food and culture bibliographic resources below was curated by students, faculty and librarians at Santa Fe College to assist in Florida heritage food education and research.

Plant Collection Research Guides for Class Use

Florida Heritage Gardening Resources

The Florida Heritage Gardening Resources below are designed to assist educators and gardeners in the design and development of gardens that highlight easy to grow crops that are significant to Florida’s multicultural history. 
Africa Trifold

Africa in Your Garden and On your Table: connecting local food and culture for healthier choices (trifold pamphlet PDF) provides a brief introduction to the nutritional benefits of six African heritage foods commonly consumed in Florida. Created by students in HUM2420: African Humanities at Santa Fe College, the statewide popularity of this brochure by health educators and school gardens inspired the creation of the Florida Heritage Foods Initiative. 

African food crops have influenced Florida agriculture for several centuries, and a wide variety of African plants continue to grow in home gardens throughout the Sunshine State…A beginning gardener can plant the path to better nutrition with African food crops …

Crops included: Roselle, Watermelon, Sweet Yams, Okra, Pigeon Peas, and Aloe

Garden chart

Planning a Florida Heritage Garden (PDF) provides planting and harvesting information for 37 heritage crops that are easy to grow in Florida. In addition to genus and species, the chart includes a variety of multi-cultural common names for each plant. The three-page full-color layout is an ideal starter for first-time gardeners, school gardens and other food and culture enthusiasts. The chart is available in both Spanish and English.

Crops included: Aloe, Bay Leaf, Bitter Melon, Black-eyed Peas, Bok choy, Cassava, Celosia, Chaya, Chayote, Collards, Colorful Potatoes, Daikon Radish, Fig, Garlic Chives, Ginger, Kiwano, Lavender, Malabar, Mint, Mizuna, Molokhiya, Mustard, Nopal, Okra, Olive, Oregano, Parsley, Pigeon Peas, Pomegranates, Roselle, Rosemary, Shiitake mushroom, Sweet Potato, Tarragon, thyme, Tomatillo, and Turmeric. 

Download the Charts:

Food and Culture Cooking Resources

Florida Heritage Foods Recipe Cards not only provide historical, cultural and nutritional information about heritage foods featured in our collections, they also offer quick and easy recipes to help integrate delicious and nutritious heritage food in the curriculum and school menus. The full color 4×6 cards can be used to celebrate Florida’s multicultural history and heritage through food.

To browse the collection and download PDF and JPG versions, click here.

Multicultural Recipe Gallery on this website includes a broad spectrum of global recipes ranging from historical concoctions to contemporary adaptations. Recipes can be found on their respective plant pages in the Heritage Foods Plant Gallery or compiled on the Heritage Food Recipes page. 

Food and Culture Presentation Videos

A wide range of community subject matter experts (SMEs) including farmers, chefs, cultural resource centers, and faculty provided presentations on a broad spectrum of topics related to Florida heritage foods to faculty and students at Santa Fe College. Watch the videos below to learn more from community experts. 

Evan Komyati, chef and owner of KOR Farm in Ocala discusses different techniques to grow and cook a wide variety of Florida heritage foods that include celosia, roselle, okra, and more.

Amy Van Scoik of Frog Song Organic Farm in Hawthorne talks about growing heritage foods  introduced to her by her grandmother such as daikon, roselle, sweet potato and bok choy. 

Manisha Ranade and Dr. Swati from the Indian Cultural and Educational Center in Gainesville present significant Indian cultural foods in Florida such as turmeric and ginger.

Aisse Kane and Awa Kaba Diaby, co-owners of Flavorful African cuisine and catering business in Gainesville, present a variety of West African cooking techniques and recipes for African heritage foods and cassava. 

Joseph Pierce of the Mosswood Farmstore and Permaculture Education Center in Micanopy, Florida discusses the role of Florida heritage foods in permaculture garden such as cassava, ginger and chayote.

Aviva Asher and Daniel Rebleto of Nicoya Farm in Gainesville talk about growing heritage crops in Florida and pay particular attention to their personal cultural knowledge and experiences with crops in Central and Couth America.

Dan Stepp, Associate Professor in Fine Arts and Painting, presents on the history of still life painting and the ways that Still Life can be used to teach about Florida Heritage Foods

Dan Stepp, Associate Professor in Fine Arts and Painting, presents on the ways that painting Florida Heritage Foods contributes to the development of unique knowledge about the crop.

Dan Stepp, Associate Professor in Fine Arts and Painting, presents on the ways that aestheticizing images about Florida Heritage Foods fosters community engagement and learning.

Melissa DeSa, ‘Seed EO’ of Working Food and the Southern Heritage Seed Collective, presents on the history, significance, and strategies for seed-saving heritage foods in Florida. 

 Dr. Dina Liebowitz, Plant Science Program Director in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Florida discusses the global origins of agriculture and food diversity. 

Organizations with Resources

The organizations and associations below provide a broad spectrum of food and culture based educational resources designed to increase knowledge and access to fresh and healthy local foods. Check back as the list grows. 

Florida Farm to School Nutrition Programs: ‘Florida’s Farm to School initiative enhances the connection that communities have with local growers to increase Florida products served in schools, offer healthier options for Florida’s children and get students involved in nutrition and agriculture education through school garden activities’

Alachua County Farm to School: Vegetables and fruit from local farms are now served every day in school meals! Food and Nutrition Services’ Farm to School program allows students to learn about the connection between farming, food, and good health in a fun, educational, and interactive environment.