Agritourism Conference

In addition to running JEJ and Associates, Lena is the executive director of the Florida Agritourism Association (FATA). The Association has grown from a fledgling group of agritourism operators and supporters to over 350 members today. 

The Association held its very first conference and farm tour in Gainesville on July 11-13th. A sold-out crowd of more than 250 participants from all over the state had a chance to network, attend educational workshops and visit two local farms to see their agritourism operations. On Sunday, everyone gathered at Valley View at Santa Fe River Ranch for the opening evening’s dinner hosted by FATA’s former board chair Alan Hitchcock. Representatives Chuck Clemmons and Chuck Brannon joined Senator Keith Perry in welcoming everyone to the ranch. On Monday, Alachua County Commission Chairwoman Anna Prizzia welcomed the group to Gainesville and kicked off a full day of educational sessions ranging from the agritourism law, marketing and social media tips, insurance needs, and how to start an agritourism operation, among other topics. Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Wilton Simpson addressed the group that afternoon. The final day included a tour of two local farms, Island Grove Winery and Amber Brooke Farm.

“This first conference and farm tour far exceeded our expectations,” said FATA executive director Lena Juarez. “We are very excited that so many farmers, ranchers and others interested in agritourism joined us in Gainesville. This is a growing industry in Florida that will open many opportunities for our farmers. We also thank our board and the sponsors and exhibitors for their support to make this happen.”