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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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ORAL HISTORY

Bob Bruggner


Palmetto Island Oyster Company

Bob Bruggner, born in 1950, was raised in Bradenton, Florida. Bruggner and his brother grew up on Anna Maria Island. After graduating from Manatee High School, Bruggner attended Florida State University. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in 1972 and with a master’s degree in 1974. Bruggner and his family settled in Havana, Florida, and he taught mathematics in Leon County’s gifted program. Eventually, he went to work for the Florida Department of Education.

Bruggner also advised and reviewed grants with a team of entrepreneurs at Florida State University. After advising a clam aquaculture grant there in 2014, he reached out to Bob Ballard, the executive director of the Wakulla Environmental Institute at Tallahassee Community College. Bruggner could see the potential in their oyster aquaculture program. Bruggner’s son Phil became interested in oyster farming. He began farming oysters in 2015. Bob would often help his son, and his short-term support morphed into a long-term commitment. Their oysters are named after Palmetto Island, a small island in Oyster Bay where the Bruggners farm their oysters.

Date of interview:
2021-12-15

Interviewer:
Annemarie Anderson

Photographer:
Annemarie Anderson

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