7 Agriculturalist Responsibilities in $1B Agrihood near UCF

I’ve given you enough time to Google “agrihood,” so it’s time to research a new phrase: agriculturalist.

Orlando developer Dwight Saathoff’s plans for a $1 billion mixed-use development in east Orlando include a 9-acre, revenue-generating farm, 17 acres of community gardens, a 2-mile edible landscape trail, and a gathering area in and around a barn that will feature a farmer’s market and farm-to-table restaurant.

Maintenance of the farm and related activities will be run by full-time professional agriculturalists. An agriculturalist is defined as someone involved in “the science or culture of farming,” or more simply, a farmer. Supervisors of farming, fishing and forestry workers in metro Orlando can earn a mean annual wage of $50,660, while agricultural inspectors can earn $33,120 and agricultural equipment operators’ mean annual wage in the region is $23,090, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But Saathoff, president of Project Finance & Development LLC, said agriculturalists in the project loosely being called Lake Pickett South will have much more to do because this is much more of an “urban farm” setting that involves the community. Here’s a look at those responsibilities:

  • Manage the community farm/community-supported agriculture
  • Manage the edible landscape trail
  • Manage community gardens
  • Manage sales and distribution of produce to community-supported agriculture members and restaurant partners
  • Coordinate between the school’s and YMCA’s educational programming and the community agricultural assets
  • Assist builders and residents with gardens
  • Manage agricultural events, such as farmer’s market, home gardening, workshops and farm mentor outreach programs like internships and apprenticeships

Project Finance & Development has yet to secure the approvals needed from Orange County in order to move forward with the project, which is near the University of Central Florida off Lake Pickett Road. The project has drawn opposition from neighboring property owners, who have said the area already suffers from extreme traffic congestion and new development would have a negative impact on the sensitive environment.

However, if issues are resolved and project approvals are secured, construction would start in 2016.

April 17, 2015
Anjali Fluker
Senior Staff Writer
Orlando Business Journal