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The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have affected individuals and industries across Sarasota County. Families and individuals face financial struggles related to housing, utility costs, or childcare, and businesses and non-profit agencies confront work interruptions and operational challenges. UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County programs support businesses in the agriculture, horticulture, green business sectors, and more. We also educate residents, including low-income families. We encourage our stakeholders to take full advantage of all opportunities for assistance.

Financial assistance is available to individuals, businesses and non-profits to help lessen the pandemic's impacts. Visit the Sarasota County CARES Act page or call 941-861-CARE (2273) for more information and to apply. Act quickly, as funds are limited.


Our programs focus on building stronger communities by building stronger families. We promote economic security and individual, family and community well-being in myriad areas. Click on a topic below to learn more (show all items).

Sustainable home environments

Most people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, either at home or in other buildings. Here are things you can do to make your home healthy and safe.

If you are planning to be away from your home for a month or more, there are steps you should take to protect your home while you are gone. The most common problems facing the returning homeowner are mold and mildew, rust and burglary. Find out what you can do to prevent these problems in Closing Up Your Home.

Nutrition, health, and food safety

Good nutrition isn’t about counting calories or eating only “healthy” foods or never again eating your favorite food. Good nutrition is about making food choices that allow you to stay healthy and well and have the energy you need to do the things you want to do. It’s about making informed choices based on your knowledge of food nutrients, food systems, food safety and food storage and finding your balance between food and physical activity. Good nutrition can contribute enormously to your quality of life and to extended good health even into very old age.

Most of us can benefit from learning more about nutrition and foods. Just a few minutes a day will help you learn which food practices will give you the health and energy you want. Then you can make the choices that work for you. Get started by clicking on the links below.

Family economic security

Money is not magic. Money is neither good nor evil. Money simply is a tool to help you live a better life, to get what you need and want in life.  But needs and wants are not the same thing. The smart consumer understands the difference and makes spending decisions that help achieve financial goals. Most millionaires do not inherit money; they earn it over many years and make the kind of spending decisions that allow them to keep more of what they earn. Their secret is learning and practicing certain money skills: planning, budgeting, using credit and debt wisely, saving, investing and making their money work for them. You, too, can learn these skills. Here’s help:

Parenting skills

The decision to become a parent and start a family is perhaps the most profound decision most of us will ever make. Yet few of us are prepared to understand that truth or undertake the level of change and commitment required for success. A little sound knowledge, put into practice daily, can help you make your family and parenting experiences successful. Start here by clicking the links below.

Caring for aging family members

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Cancer prevention

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Closing up your Florida home

Getting ready to leave Florida and head back north? Well, before you lock the door to head out, it's a good idea to pay attention to some important details. First, know that you are leaving your home behind just as we begin the hurricane...

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