2013 – 2011

The Culture of Agriculture

[ecosocial design, learning]

A college-level curriculum developed and delivered at the University of Miami. The Culture of Agriculture was an immersion into South Florida’s local food movement.

Description: Explore South Florida’s local food scene with Mario Yanez, ecologist, organic farmer, and local food activist. Connect with South Florida’s bounty of amazing fruits, vegetables, herbs and other food products year round.

Objectives:

  • Learn to eat local like a native;
  • Participate hands on various local food projects;
  • Discover Permaculture other cutting edge techniques for growing lots of food in small spaces with little effort
  • Find ways to get involved in the nascent Local Food movement; and,
  • Learn to distinguish foods that are healthy for you and for the planet…

Big Small Farm

This group design took place in North Florida, on site at at Big Small Farm during a Whole Farm Design course led by Jono Neiger. The design that emerged was for a large-scale farm incubator ecosystem with a dozen regenerative enterprises to be operated interdependantly.

Guara Ki Eco Farm

This redesign was for a 2.5 acre tropical fruit grove in Homestead, Fl. It incorporated several market gardens, a farm house built from shipping containers and partially buried, and many perennial growing systems.

Farm @ Verde Gardens

The Farm at Verde Gardens was a unique and complex design-build project locate in Homestead, FL on a former Air force base. The project was loosely integrated into a 145-unit housing development for formerly-homeless families. The farm’s ecosystem was made up of various interdependent enterprises (food forest, market gardens, alley cropping, dairy production, nursery, retail market, production kitchen, cafe and event space). It hosted Community Foodworks, an innovative and dynamic learning community for beginning farmers.

Edible Forest Garden Design

[ecosocial design, learning]

Edible Forest Gardening was a course led by Eric Toensmeier and taught twice onsite at The Farm at Verde Gardens, which proved a wonderful living lab for designing permaculture ecosystems. It was based on his original curriculum and infused the mimicking of Everglades ecosystem applied to designing perennial polycultures.

Financial Permaculture

[ecosocial design, learning]

This Financial Permaculture Convergence was an Advanced Permaculture course delivered over 5 days and led by Jennifer English and Mario Yanez. Over 50 participants worked in four working groups design one of four key enterprises of the Farm at Verde Gardens. Seasoned facilitated the working groups. Scholar-practitioners gave workshops in finance, alternative economics and permaculture. This is where the first iteration of the LIFE (Local Integrated Food Enterprise) model emerged.

Brooks Bend Farm

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Designing a Local Foodshed

[ecosocial design, learning]

Designing the Local Foodshed was a college-level course curriculum developed and delivered at the University of Miami.

Course Description: Designing a Local Foodshed is a cross‐disciplinary course where students will explore the issues human societies face around food and agriculture. The course will explore theory and practice of local food systems, while creating an understanding of the unique conditions of the Greater Everglades bioregion (southern Florida). This course takes an interactive design‐based approach, where students will generate creative ecological solutions to the challenges of community food security in the Greater Everglades.

Objectives:

1. To create shared learning experiences, both context and content, in the subject of Designing a Local Foodshed

2. To engage in the process of being proficient in one’s home bioregion, in this case The Greater Everglades

3. To further develop the skills needed not just for academic or professional success, but those of a citizen‐designer

4. To draw out of each student the best traits of what it means to be human at a critical time in our history