Here we give you the facts.
The Full Story
We felt it was time to take the microphone and allow the people of the Glades to help those who my not understand rural life, learn who we are, what we stand for and why our stories matter.
Our small town community consists of hard working people, young families and elderly residents whose families have lived here for generations. Farming and tourism are key economic engines in the region, and the Glades remains a vibrant region that is open for business and new ideas.
The Glades is one of the nation's ten largest agricultural producing areas. It is the largest one east of the Mississippi River.
The quality of life is also good in the Glades. High school football is a significant activity, rivaling any Friday Night Lights football in Texas. But, the area offers more than sports. Belle Glade is home to both the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center and the Lawrence E. Will Museum. Clewiston offers easy access to the lake and opportunities for some of the best black bass and pan fishing. For landlubbers, the city offers a variety of walking, hiking and driving tours. Not to mention the many arts and music festivals
Our community is fortunate to have a strong economy that is rooted in the rich muck soil. Duda & Sons, Florida Crystals, Sugar Cane Growers Co-op and U.S. Sugar are just some of the farming businesses that put food for America's tables and provide employment for Glades' residents. In all, there are 1,700 businesses here, most of them smaller businesses with one to five employees.
The famed "Florida's Inland Sea" provides South Florida's fresh water supply and is the main component of the area's vast flood control systems.
Millions of people, businesses, tribal interests and the environment depend on the lake to help protect them from floods and ensure they have enough water.
The lake is not only our source of water, the nourishment the muck needs to fuel our biggest economic engine -- agriculture. It is also home to another vibrant part of our region: recreation and tourism.
Tourism & Recreation
The lake is a teeming habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife. Alligators, birds, large-mouth bass and an assortment of flora and fauna create the perfect outdoor environment for airboat rides, bass fishing, boating, camping, canoeing, hiking, kayaking, jet and water skiing.
The Glades -- Lake O's our backyard.
We Grow Athletes
Thirty miles west of downtown West Palm Beach, surrounded by sugarcane fields, lies the Glades: an area known for its fertile black soil a.k.a. The Muck. Aside from producing vegetables that feed the nation, this area has also produced 75+ NFL and 400+ collegiate football players, NBA and WNBA basketball players, semi-pro distance runners and baseball players.
Here, athletics are not only life, but often times a way out of poverty.
Every year, Glades Central Community High School and their cross-town rival the Blue Devils of Pahokee Middle-Senior High face off in The Muck Bowl, a big-ticket football classic that has drawn up to 25,000 spectators and set reputations for the two programs and their star players. Given the fierce rivalry between the two schools, winning The Muck Bowl Trophy can set loc
The names of star players coming out of the muck reads like an elite list of Who's Who in professional sports: Richard Ash, Anquan Bodin, Jarvis Brown, Santonio Holmes, Rickey Jackson, Ray McDonald, Louis Oliver, Fred Taylor and Andre Waters, to name just a few. With all due respect to Texas and the popular television series, Friday Night Lights, we'll take credit for being the nation's true mecca of high school football.
Overlooked & Often Misunderstood
Like many rural areas, The Glades struggles with finding its voice. It is America’s most populated areas that have easy access to business growth, government resources, housing opportunities and news coverage. Numbers matter, and the numbers are in the big cities.
However, the heart of the Glades is big, even if our community voice may be smaller. We understand why so many who live outside of our lakefront communities don’t understand the significance of our region’s rural life, its agricultural economy and its farming practices.
The Voices of the Glades is our digital initiative to expand our voice. It is the forum in which the world can see what our residents think of the Glades — in their own words. Over time, we'll add more videos to turn those voices into a rich chorus that reflect a vibrant and enduring community.
We have something to say. We love the Glades, the rich farming region along Lake Okeechobee and the lifestyle and traditions that come with it. We are a close-knit community that takes great pride in a part of Florida that may be misunderstood but is a wonderful place to live, work and play.