Earth Ethics Institute
Miami Dade College
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Supportive Sustainable Community Agriculture

 

6 hours of Professional Development
3  hours Face to Face, 3 hours post-workshop assignment

Facilitated by Chuck Lyons, Farm Director, Verde Community Farm and Market      

This workshop focuses on the operations of a non-profit organic farm and market in the South Florida region that also serves as a job skills training facility.  Participants will tour Verde Gardens with its 145 LEED-certified “green” town homes for formerly homeless families with disabilities and a 22-acre organic farm which includes a produce nursery, market and rentable commercial kitchen. Participants will learn about farm procedures as well as USDA requirements for organic certification. In addition, participants will learn about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and how this agricultural model enhances community engagement as well as shares the risks and benefits of food production. Finally, participants will explore this non-profit model , which not only  hires and trains at-risk community members who work at the farm and market, but builds the infrastructure to support this program, with special consideration for the residents of Carrfour Supportive Housing's Verde Gardens community.

Objectives

As a result of this workshop participants will be able to:

-Describe requirements of a South Florida farm to achieve USDA organic certification.

-Compare the Community Supported Agriculture model to a conventional agriculture business model.

-Assess how integrating an organic farm and sustainable food system in a supportive housing community contributes to health and well-being of residents.

-Identify how an organic farm operated as a non-profit can create a sustainable business model.

-Summarize how Verde Farm and Market is a vehicle for job skills training and potential employment opportunities.

Evaluation:

Evaluation will include completion of workshop and participant must develop a discipline specific lesson plan or course module or –if staff - department action  that incorporates key concepts of sustainability.  Assignment  is due to the director of Earth Ethics Institute within three weeks of the workshop, and lesson plan or course modules will be posted on the Earth Ethics webpage.

Facilitated by Chuck Lyons
BIO – Chuck Lyons is the Farm Director of Verde Community Farm and Market. Since taking the position in fall of 2013 he has transformed Verde Farm into a fully operational USDA Organic certified fruit and vegetable production farm.  Verde Farm has established a strong customer base in the local Miami food scene as well as two successful CSA programs. Chuck has been able to train and employ Verde Gardens – a Carrfour Supportive Housing Community - residents, who have no prior agricultural experience, to be the foundation of the Verde Farm staff. Prior to becoming Verde Community Farm and Market’s Farm Director, Chuck had been working on successful organic farms in his home state of Wisconsin, Virginia, and Southwest Florida after obtaining his B.A in Humanity and Nature Studies from Northland College in Wisconsin. He currently lives in Homestead with his wife, Sarah, and his son, David.

 
 
 

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Earth Ethics Institute • An Earth Literacy Resource Center Serving MDC Administrators, Faculty, Staff,  and Students, as well as the South Florida Community
Miami Dade College • 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Room 3506-11, Miami, FL 33132-2204 • t: 305-237-3796 • f: 305-237-7724