Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Guadamuz’

Got the following message from Antonio Guadamuz and thought I’d pass it along to all who want to put their money where their mouth is. Below is a checklist of many ways that you can help support Urban Oasis Project with their various efforts to get fresh, local and organic food to under-served neighborhoods. This organization is behind the emergence of two new grower supported markets (in Liberty City and Upper Eastside), and has created dozens of edible gardens for families in need. Now they’re growing in many new directions. Don’t have time to volunteer? UOP is a 501 (c) 3 charity and your donations are tax deductible.

It’s never been a better time to get involved!

Urban Oasis Project has been driven over the past two years mainly by the volunteer efforts of Melissa Contreras, Art Friedrich and Antonio Guadamuz — and they couldn’t even begin to count the number of hours they’ve planted gardens, organized events, networked with people, written grants, coordinated farmers markets, driven vegetables from farm to market, and so much more.

We’re moving into a new phase of the project! Melissa, Antonio and Art will have nearly full-time positions working in our partnership with Earth Learning to create a new sustainable farm and market in East Homestead at Verde Gardens — and it’s going to be impossible to keep up all the other aspects of UOP without a broader group of of members actively taking on responsibilities.

[Urban Oasis Project is no longer affiliated with Verde Gardens!]

Here’s a list of some things that we’re doing that you can help with:

Farmers Markets
Market Assistance —  Helping set-up the market, making the displays pretty, selling veggies, and breaking down. Thursdays and Saturdays.
Market Expansion — Making educational displays, cooking demos, recruiting new vendors, recruiting musicians, etc. Be creative!
Market Outreach —  Promoting the market through flyers, directly to passerby at markets as well as at neighborhood events, homes, stores etc.

Garden Building
GIVE Garden management — Contacting interested recipients, setting up dates to plant, organizing volunteers and materials, follow-up contacts and visits.  Creating handouts for distribution.

Potlucks and Workshops
Organize Workshops — Recruit folks who want to teach, promote the workshops. We’d love to be able to expand this program to reach more low-income people as well! Host a potluck and/ or workshop yourself.

Other Initiatives
Food Truck Project — If we have committed project leaders, we’d like to have our own Food Truck with a permanent garden in the bed, to travel around and give educational presentations.

Homestead-Verde Gardens Farm and Market — Looking for volunteers and workers for the new Verde Gardens project in Homestead! A 22 acre organic, permaculture designed farm we’re building from scratch! Daily work being done so you can come almost anytime!

[Please contact Art Friedrich at 786-548-3733 if you wish to volunteer for Urban Oasis Project activities and events.]

These are a few of the things we do. Do you see a way to tap in? Every little bit counts! The most important thing to us at this point is consistency. You must be able to do what you commit to, otherwise it doesn’t help anybody!

Please call us or email with any questions and to get started! We can do lots to help out, you will be supported!

Antonio Guadamuz
Vice Treasurer
Urban Oasis Project

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text by Art Friedrich, urban farmer, member of Urban Oasis Project
photos by Antonio Guadamuz, member of Urban Oasis Project

Saturday, Nov 28, 2009

Art Friedrich and partner Luigi (in flannel) touring ECHO

Getting out beyond SE FL to see what other things are happening in organic and sustainable agriculture in Florida, 16 folks headed out to ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) Global Farm and Worden’s Organic Farm in N. Ft. Myers and Punta Gorda, respectively. The group consisted of a number of the workers and WWOOF’ers from Bee Heaven Farm, as well as the big brain behind it all, Farmer Margie. Joining them were a number of local food enthusiasts from Urban Oasis Project and some of the new batch of Master Gardener Interns. [Note: Margie organizes a trip to ECHO and Worden every year during the Thanksgiving weekend, for the purpose of enlightening her farm interns and volunteers, and others who want to make the trip.]

Our first stop was the ECHO Global Farm, a christian based project started over 25 years ago to combat the problem of world hunger, primarily in the tropical zone, using the most concrete and long-lasting ways. Tours are available daily, and are well worth the $8. The tour consists of two hours of seeing and hearing about numerous fascinating plants, and methods of growing highly nutritious foods using unconventional and conventional methods that require little monetary outlay. There are six different recreated environments, such as a rainforest, an arid area, a monsoon climate (like we have, with 6 months dry and 6 months really wet), and the fascinating urban garden section.

Container gardening taken to a new level.

The urban garden section showed some great examples of reusing trash, such as old tires, to create containers. Also fascinating was the wicking gardens that are mostly made up of a carpet with a little bit of soil in top and some gravel or even cans wrapped in socks for the plants to have structure to grow on. You fill a closed bucket with a hole in the bottom with water, stick it on an edge of the carpet, and let the garden suck the moisture out as it needs it! This is a great way to use a minimum of water and soil. While some of us had questions about the safety of carpet material, other types of substrate could be developed. Probably any old canvas or woven mat material would do. They try laying the carpet out in the natural UV rays of the sun to break down harmful chemicals.

I also enjoyed the mention of their research using human urine as fertilizer — it is packed full of good nutrients and is sterile! In some countries, this has been government sanctioned for a while, such as in Sweden, where some housing developments have been built with urine diverting toilets that drain to some big tanks. When the farmers need fertilizer, they just pull up, pump some of the liquid gold out, and spray it right on their fields! The savings in water and fertilizer are stellar, and it is only cultural taboo that makes the subject so difficult.

Urban homesteading at its finest!

The Moringa tree is a favorite plant there. They call it the Miracle Tree. One can eat almost any part of it, and it is incredibly dense with nutritive value, and the tree grows in almost any condition. I’ve started my own little plantation at my house in S. Miami.

Rustic raised bed

ECHO is also a seed bank, and they send seeds all over the world to see what works, with attention to both the physical and the cultural aspects. This aspect impresses me. It is applied science that recognizes humanity’s needs as a driving force in experimentation. And the needs of the global poor are great, but with sensitivity and ingenuity, the poor can be given the tools they need to improve their own lives in a sustainable and self-empowering way. ECHO taps into their own knowledge and traditions and offers a broader knowledge base for them to work with.

Endless fields at Worden Farm

The second half of our day was visiting Worden Farm in Punta Gorda. The farm is a brilliant example of hard work and smart planning to generate massive amounts of organic vegetables, sold all along the Gulf Coast. The farm is 55 acres, with about 35 in production, and is only six years old. The soil is almost pure sand, so lots of chicken manure is used as their fertilizer, as well as cover crops to slowly improve the quality. Long rows of raised beds made with plastic sheeting make upkeep relatively easy, and the veggies all looked absolutely flawless.

Drip irrigation system at Worden Farm

The plastic sheeting with drip tape irrigation underneath also helps limit water use, as well as the extra work of short watering cycles very frequently. Extra work to reduce the negative environmental impacts of the farm is a tradeoff they are happy to make. Those plastic sheets at the end of the season don’t hit a trash pile. They go to an agricultural plastics recycler.

Touring Worden Farm by electric cart. L-R: Wwoofer, Eva Worden, Cesar Contreras, Margie Pikarsky (back turned), Melissa Contreras

Farm Ferrari

Cow at Worden Farm

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