Commissioner's Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award
Edward "Jack" Campbell
Edward "Jack" Campbell, a third-generation farmer from Homestead, has been an agricultural-environmental spokesman, writer and activist for more than 40 years.
One of his early environmental successes was the restoration of the Loveland Slough, an eight-mile natural channel that had become a stagnant dumping ground for trash, turning onceprime farmland into a risky flood-prone area. Bringing local resources to bear on the problem, he and local farmers restructured the Loveland Slough, clearing it of tons of debris. As a result of the cleanup, a wetlands for wildlife and an emergency drainage basin were created, and thousands of acres of farmland were utilized more efficiently.
For 16 years, Campbell served as an executive with the DiMare Corporation, a large South Florida based agricultural operation. As secretary and treasurer of the South Florida Tomato and Vegetable Growers Association, he helped develop a cull-disposal procedure for growers. Campbell has also been deeply involved in community efforts which promote agriculture and the environment. He was appointed vice chairman of the Governor's Everglades Resource and Management Advisory Board, which develops policies for the "Save the Everglades" project. He also helped found and serves as chairman of the South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District. To maintain zoning integrity to minimize urban sprawl, he founded the Redlands Citizens Association.
Campbell also helped found the Redlands Conservancy, a group concerned with the quality of life in their community. The group is promoting agri-tourism as a viable agricultural enterprise, and is helping develop nearly 200 miles of greenways throughout South Dade County -- trails linking two national parks that can be used for such activities as horseback riding, cycling, fishing and hiking.
Campbell played a major role in helping South Florida's agriculture community rebuild following its near total destruction by Hurricane Andrew. Under Campbell's leadership, the South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District directed a $50 million agricultural recovery effort.
One of Campbell's most significant accomplishments for the benefit of South Florida agriculture was the development of a practical soil amendment program. At the request of the Metro-Dade Water and Sewer Authority, Campbell began an innovative recycling program for the tons of sludge produced in Dade County each year. The material is now turned into organic compost for use on agricultural crops, especially citrus. Building on the success of this project, Campbell, in conjunction with the University of Florida, is currently developing another method to produce high-organic composted soil using clean garbage and yard waste. The goal of the COW (Clean Organic Waste) Project is to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills by 35 percent.
To promote water conservation, Campbell and the Soil and Water Conservation District established the Mobile Irrigation Lab. Since its inception, this voluntary project has evaluated over 300 irrigation systems. By detecting waste and implementing more efficient techniques, the lab's efforts have resulted in actual water savings of more than 1.3 million gallons per year.
In his constant search for ways to adapt new technologies to improve farming efficiency, Campbell is promoting agriculture's use of low-level infra-red photography. Using colorenhanced aerial photos, farmers can inspect fields for irrigation efficiency, insect infestation, even the effects of pollution months before they become apparent at ground level.
Campbell's success in protecting agriculture over the past 40 years has been recognized through his induction into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. Campbell remains active in community service, working with other individuals who volunteer their time and knowledge to maintain Florida's agricultural heritage. -- 1996
- 1996 Agricultural Environmental Leadership Awards Booklet (PDF)
- Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award Nomination (PDF)