Season 1, Episode 09

Deadline — Florida Citrus, Part 2

Producer and Host Chip Carter Headshot

Over the last 20 years, half of all Florida citrus groveland has disappeared. Some of that’s due to growing cities that are encroaching on agricultural land. But more of it is due to a lethal disease called Citrus Greening; the subject of Season 1, Episode 8 of Where The Food Comes From. Once a tree is infected, the rest of the grove is not far behind. The decline is slow, but the result is always the same — another lost grove.

We take a deep dive to show you how farmers are coping with Citrus Greening — and some of the ingenious pivots they’ve found in their fight against it. In this episode, we’ll also take a trip to Port Everglades to look at the safety net in place to keep foreign pests and diseases out of our food supply.

Interesting note: This was the pilot for the series — we actually finished it in January 2020 and then got put on-hold for Covid, like the rest of the world. Which means, in part two of this episode you’ll see next week, when Dr. Fred Gmitter talks about viruses and mutations and human efforts to keep those under wraps in the citrus crop… it’s all the more chilling when you think about what happened two months after he spoke those words.

But what’s great about the Florida citrus industry is that despite all the doom and gloom, these growers are excited about the future. Worried, sure. But they’re farmers: They adapt. They survive. They thrive.

Chip and crew high atop a gantry crane at Port Everglades.

High atop a gantry crane at Port Everglades.