Permaverde is my experience as a farmer apprentice with the permaculture program called Community Foodworks by Earth Learning. Here you will find my tasks, duties, activities, work, and design I do with the 22 acre permaculture farm at “Verde Gardens” in Homestead, FL.
What is Community Food Works:
Community Foodworks is a project of Earth Learning funded by a three year USDA grant and supported by community partners. Their focus is on producing and training beginning farmers in permaculture design and sustainable agriculture by establishing a network of viable urban forest, by connecting them with resources to access farmland, and establish viable, prosperous farms. Community Foodworks is growing the local food system in the Greater Everglades (Southern Florida).
For more details of this program and how you can get involved goto the Community Foodworks website.
What is Verde Gardens:
Miami Dade County’s Homeless Trust provided a grant to turn a former US Air Base into a 50 acre community that addresses both food and shelter, two of humans most basic needs. The project combines a 22 acre permaculture farm, a farmers market, and 145 LEED-certified “green” homes for formerly homeless residents. The land is currently owned by the Miami Dade County and Earth Learning has a 25 year lease for farming.
The farm at Verde Gardens will provide fresh, local, sustainably grown food for the residents and the broader community. It will eventually intergrate job training, micro-enterprise opportunities, employment, life skills required for employment, and a therapeutic environment with innovative, progressive farming techniques for formerly homeless families & individuals.
Carrfour Supportive Housing is developing the housing component with the Homeless Trust of Miami-Dade County. Earth Learning, in collaboration with Urban Oasis Project, is establishing a model, economically & ecologically sustainable and productive organic farm and nursery-based on Permaculture Design principles.
The Farm will include the following features:
• A Market Garden at the center of the Farm with intensively planted gardens with herbs, vegetables, medicinal plants, and some fruit, along with chickens, rabbits, and aquaponics/fish, vermiculture, and rainwater harvesting.
• An Orchard with a thick canopy of fruit and nut trees are planted along with fodder shrub and ground covers for grazing animals.
• An Edible/Useful Plant Nursery will provide a constant source of plant material for the farm and for sale to the broader community.
• A Prairie/Pasture with grazing animals (water buffalo, goats, chickens, ducks & geese) cycling through daily, allowing different plants, and insects to grow and be eaten in the pastures at different times mimicking natural grasslands visited by migrating fauna. The Prairie area will have a pond/wetland system providing a home to aquatic plants and animals and collection and storage for rainwater.
• A Food Forest that mimics native forest ecosystems, with plants are selected and managed for their useful properties such as a canopy of fruit and nut trees, and edible and useful bushes, shrubs, herbs, vegetables, and climbing vines planted beneath and in between these trees.
• A Farmers’ Market serving as a hub and locus for collecting, selling, and distributing the region’s best selection of local, sustainably-grown food for residents, the surrounding community, and South Floridians. The year-round Market is scheduled to open Friday, July 15th. It will be open from 4 – 8p.