Lloyd Singleton works for University of Florida/IFAS Extension in Sumter County teaching Florida-Friendly Landscaping and Urban Horticulture. He is currently studying for a MS in Agronomy with a concentration in Agroecology. The focus of Singleton’s MS project is to improve soil quality through the incorporation of compost. Many of Florida’s new residential developments occur on compacted, sandy fill material and the lawns require irrigation to maintain. This applied research will study how organic amendments can potentially reduce irrigation needs while improving turfgrass and horticultural plant establishment and growth in new urban developments.
Of the Masters Concentration in Agroecology, Singleton says: “Understanding the principles of crop physiology, soils, and the triple bottom line make me a more effective Extension Agent for Urban Horticulture. Just as agroecology serves to balance social, environmental and economic factors, so too do we need to do that in our urban landscapes.”
Singleton’s work with the University of Florida IFAS Extension in Sumter County has conducted a robust horticulture vocational training program for inmates of the low security facility at the Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, FL. His program includes classroom and hands-on instruction with an indoor hydroponic system, outdoor raised bed vegetable gardens and ornamental plant beds. In its 6th year, this successful program has trained 457 inmates, of which 239 have been released and only 11 returned to prison.
Like Singleton, many students in the Agroecology concentration choose to pursue a Master’s degree while remaining a full time employee in their current profession. Classes can be taken either 100% Distance Education (DE) or on-campus at the University of Florida.
Agroecology students conduct original research thorough training in investigative techniques by use of modern facilities with guidance by experienced faculty. Singleton’s major professor is Dr. Joao Vendramini, an associate professor in the UF Agronomy Department. Dr. Vendramini is a Forage Specialist at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, Florida.