Monday, November 1, 2010

Urban Food Forests in South Florida

Community FoodWorks is a program focused on training and supporting beginning farmers in South Florida to establish a network of viable, small, urban food forests, obtaining affordable access to land and establishing their own small farm businesses. Funded by a three-year grant from the US Department of Agriculture, Community FoodWorks will develop individual business enterprises to advance the goal of establishing a just and sustainable local food system benefitting communities throughout this region of 5.4 million people. Community FoodWorks projects and businesses produce, process, market, and distribute a rich diversity of fresh, naturally-grown subtropical fruits, winter vegetables, and other farm products.

The amazing network of local food enthusiasts and activists, business owners, farms, and community gardens, and educators in the Miami area provide the Social Capital needed to leverage the financial capital of the grant. Community FoodWorks partners including Florida International University's AgroEcology program, the Farmworkers' Association of Florida, and the Miami Workers' Center are co-creating programs, opportunities, and entrepreneurial experiences for a large number of apprentices from diverse backgrounds.

Community FoodWorks is designed to carry out three main Action Steps:

  • Recruit a broad network of students, unemployed and underemployed residents, and Latino farmers to gain job skills and experience as paid Apprentices, and to gain support in accessing land and establishing their own farms or local foods businesses.

  • Train Apprentices through the establishment of a network of subtropical food forests, and processing, marketing, and distributing authentic, fresh, healthy, local farm products through a variety of outlets, including the South Miami Farmers' Market.

  • Increase farmland access and ownership, focusing specifically on "infill agriculture" on underutilized land, using strategies such as long-term equitable leases and non-profit land trusts.

The Community FoodWorks mission is to develop the people and infrastructure needed to establish a just, sustainable, local food system for South Florida, and provide a model for urban food producation throughout the US and the Global South.

For more information, see the Earth Learning website (, and contact Mario Yanez at, or David Harper at