Florida forests, farms, pastures are disappearing

Not long ago I left Pine Island in Lee County. I spent over 20 years there, most of them working and living on a small farm near St. James City.

These are not the hurricanes I had in mind when I sold the farm and moved to Suwannee County to begin the laborious process of cultivating new land, planting new trees and building new structures. I’ve been through a few, including the infamous Charlie in 2004, which took its toll. I made peace with hurricanes and accepted the possibility of damage.

No, it was the disappearance of a way of life that pushed me out—a way of life that is still going strong here in north central Florida but has all but died out in the southwest of the state. It is a slower pace of life in harmony with nature and its cycles, a strong presence of agriculture and much of the landscape is not replaced by endless subdivisions, shopping malls and parking lots.

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