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FAMU Grape Festival Showcases a Juicy Revenue Source for University

Tom Flanigan

Florida A&M University hosted its 19th Annual Grape Harvest Festival on Saturday, August 24. The event highlighted one of the school's most profitable areas of research.

FAMU President Dr. Larry Robinson said some of the biggest names in the commercial wine business depend on his school's Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research to help develop their products.

"There's well over 20 to 30 wineries that benefit from the research that takes place here at Florida A&M University," he pointed out, while greeting event participants.

Also at the Festival was advice for those who might want to start a backyard vineyard, get some help with their home gardens or almost anything else. Vonda Richardson, is director of FAMU's Cooperative Extension Service.

"(We have) youth programs, gardening, entrepreneurship, citizenship, family programs, nutrition, and working with seniors. Programs that run the gamut and it keeps us fully engaged," she remarked.

The Festival also featured live entertainment, grape throwing and grape stomping competitions and plenty of grape and wine sampling.