The inaugural Taste 360 event, hosted by the Texas A&M Department of Horticultural Sciences, brought together attendees interested in gardening and farm-to-table food to hear from experts and spark passions.

A group of eight individuals sitting around a table while another presents in front of them during a wine tasting
Taste 360 provided attendees with foundational knowledge on many horticulture topics, including Texas wines. (Andreea Botezatu/Texas A&M AgriLife)

While the event was designed to reach new audiences in the Bryan-College Station community, it attracted attendees from across Texas and provided them with foundational knowledge on horticulture, farm-to-table food and Texas wines, said Jayla Fry, assistant professor in the department and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist and event co-organizer.

“Taste 360 showed the community that if you have any level of interest in horticulture, there is something for you here,” Fry said. 

Meeting a demand for interest in gardening 

The idea behind Taste 360 stemmed from a group of Texas A&M horticulture experts who were getting questions about the basics of starting a garden. 

“Some of the women in the horticulture department would go to lunch together, and we all found that we were getting asked questions about starting a garden or a business related to gardening,” Fry said. 

The group knew they had expertise to share, so they organized a farm-to-table event that highlights the intersection between food and horticulture. For the event, experts and volunteers from the department came together to share their passions for food, wine and gardening.

Finding community in horticulture

Up close image of appetizers on a table.
Taste 360 kicked off with a food and wine pairing event at The Gardens. (Andreea Botezatu/Texas A&M AgriLife)

While there was an array of valuable information exchanged at Taste 360, Fry said one of the most valuable takeaways from the event was watching the formation of a community embracing and surrounding the horticulture industry. 

The first day attendees enjoyed an appetizer and wine pairing at The Gardens at Texas A&M University, giving guests an opportunity to connect. The kickoff session set the tone of fellowship and building a community through shared passions, while focusing on how fresh food can be nourishing to the body and soul, she said. 

“The best way to get to know one another is by breaking bread together,” Fry said, “Attendees were making connections right off the bat based on their interest and connection to horticulture.” 

The future of Taste 360 

Fry and the experts in the department are eager to plan for the future of Taste 360 and are already brainstorming how to expand upon the knowledge shared. Attendees shared their feedback that showed seminars effectively covered the base-level knowledge of farm-to-table gardening.

Now Fry is interested in adding business seminars to educate participants who are interested in taking the next step to make their passion for gardening into a business. 

“We fully intend to make this an annual event and have received a large number of requests to host Taste 360 again next year,” Fry said. 

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