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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

Robert Seidler


Panacea Oyster Co-op

Robert Seidler, born in 1952, was raised along the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs, Florida. He grew up with a deep fascination with plants, animals, and the environment. Seidler attended Florida State University in the 1970s, and he was interested in biological processes. While a student at FSU, Seidler got a job as a photographer and cinematographer for WFSU-TV, the local PBS affiliate in Tallahassee. Seidler graduated with a degree in communications and continued to work as a filmmaker at WFSU-TV. He subsequently formed his own company and made films about the natural environment of Florida and bicycle safety throughout the United States.

Seidler moved to Sopchoppy, Florida in the 1980s. In 1999, he invested in an Individual Quick Freezing, or IQF, oyster company. The company froze wild harvest oysters on the half shell in Panacea, Florida. That company shuttered in 2001. In 2014, when water-column oyster aquaculture began in the state of Florida, Seidler became involved in oysters again. He obtained a lease and grew oysters. He was a co-founder of the Panacea Oyster Cooperative in Spring Creek, Florida. The co-op was designed to buy oysters from the community of oyster growers in Wakulla County, Florida. The co-op shuttered in 2020, and Seidler retired from oyster farming. He remains a part of the newly formed oyster aquaculture community in Wakulla County.

Date of interview:
2021-12-13

Interviewer:
Annemarie Anderson

Photographer:

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