2017-08-10 / Outdoors

Cambier Park selected for 2017 Farm City BBQ


Student volunteers from the Farm City BBQ beneficiary organizations help out with a number of tasks, like these 4-H members preparing the traditional Immokalee Salad at the 2016 event. 
COURTESY PHOTO Student volunteers from the Farm City BBQ beneficiary organizations help out with a number of tasks, like these 4-H members preparing the traditional Immokalee Salad at the 2016 event. COURTESY PHOTO The Farm City BBQ of Collier County moves to Cambier Park in downtown Naples for 2017. Hosted by the Marine Industries Association of Collier County and with deep roots in the local business and agricultural communities, the 62nd annual feast is set for 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22.

“Cambier Park is a wonderful venue for this historic event, bringing the culture and history of agriculture in Collier County into the city of Naples,” says Bill Barker, this year’s chairman and president/ publisher of the Naples Daily News. Over the years the pre-Thanksgiving tradition has raised more than $300,000 for nonprofit organizations that benefit local youth leadership development programs.

The National Farm City Council was formed 62 years ago in an effort to help bring together business and agricultural communities. Their goal was to demonstrate the interdependence of a vibrant network of farmers and business owners that help support the economy and provide the basic essentials that every citizen needs. From the truck driver to the rancher, the fisherman, the futures broker and the biotechnology scientist, they all play an important role in making sure that Americans have access to a healthy and abundant supply of food.

In Collier County, the Farm City BBQ was formed in a similar way. Event volunteers remember when area farmers had a bad year of crops. The business leaders reached out to the farmers, inviting them for a barbecue and sharing in the little produce that was available so that their families wouldn’t go hungry on Thanksgiving Day. A year later, the Immokalee farming community wanted to reciprocate the hospitality, so they invited the business leaders for a BBQ in the “country.” Since then, the event has rotated from “city” to “country” locations; last year’s site was Seminole Immokalee Casino, and the year before was Naples Municipal Airport.

Beneficiaries of the 2017 barbecue are the Collier County 4-H Association, Youth Leadership Collier, the Collier County Junior Deputies League and Key Club International.

About the beneficiaries

The Collier County 4-H Association (formerly Collier County 4-H Foundation) funds and supports the activities of Collier County 4-H, reaching more than 7,600 local students every year. In addition to traditional 4-H agricultural programs, Collier County 4-H offers many innovative educational opportunities. Students learn how to build and program robots, create maps using drones, write and deliver effective speeches and become leaders through numerous other hands-on experiences. Programs take place in Collier County Public Schools during the school day, in after school settings and in many traditional 4-H clubs throughout the community.

Youth Leadership Collier is a program of the Leadership Collier Foundation, an affiliate of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce. YLC empowers students to become effective and ethical leaders, showcases Collier County through field work with key organizations and encourages students to come back to (or stay in) Collier County to begin their begin careers and community leadership. For years the Farm City BBQ has assisted YLC in its efforts to have the tuition for this program remain accessible to all qualified candidates regardless of socioeconomic background.

In cooperation with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the Collier County Junior Deputies League helps prepare local youth to become responsible, law-abiding citizens. The league’s 34-acre site in eastern Collier County is used for youth activities throughout the year, and plans are underway to add an openair pavilion, camp centers with restrooms, six campsites with fire rings and a fishing dock to expand programs for Collier youth.

Key Club International is the high school-based service organization sponsored by Kiwanis International. Twelve Collier County high school Key Clubs provide more than 600 members with opportunities to perform community service and be mentored in leadership, communication and other vital development skills. Funds from Farm City BBQ are used to send student leaders to the annual District Leadership & Education Conference in Orlando.

In recent years, more than $300,000 has been donated back into our community to support the progress of these organizations in providing hands-on education from elementary through high school students.

About this year’s host

Since its inception in 1981, the Marine Industries Association of Collier County has been dedicated to boater safety, boater education and access to Florida’s waterways. The association represents its members, the local marine business and recreational boaters to the local government. Through an alliance with the Marine Industries Association of Florida, membership in the MIACC offers direct access to advance information on Florida’s marine industry and access to the legislative forces that are shaping its destiny. For more information about MIACC, visit www.MIACC.org. ¦

The 2017 Farm City BBQ

>> What: Steaks from Shula’s Naples, the traditional Immokalee Salad and corn provided by Lipman’s, baked beans from Russell’s Clambakes, complimentary beer, wine and soda

>> When: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22

>> Where: Cambier Park, downtown Naples

>> Cost: $20

>> Tickets and more info: www.FarmCityBBQ.com

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