Posts Tagged ‘Liberty City Farmers Market’

The Liberty City farmers’ market has a new home from now though April 2011!

Still every Thursday from noon to 6pm, about 10 blocks west of original location, new address is:

African Heritage Cultural Arts Center
6161 NW 22nd Ave
Miami, Florida 33142

Additional info at www.urbanoasisproject.org

Please come visit this local grower-supported market, which still has some of the best local, mostly organic, affordable produce in town for everyone!

It serves the under-served, and doubles EBT (food stamp) money up to $10 per visit. Credit and debit accepted!

This location is in a beautiful park, highly visible at the intersection of two main roads, is fenced in, has ample parking and bathrooms, and has children’s programs and after-school care. It is owned by the county, and has been a hub of African heritage culture and arts events for years.

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Liberty City Farmers Market

Due to to City of Miami permitting issues, this Thursday, Feb. 2nd, the market will take place at:

Jessie Trice Center for
Community Health
5361 NW 22nd Ave
Miami, Florida 33142

Map to Jesse Trice Community Health Center here.

Nestled in a park in North Miami-Dade County is a new grower-supported farmers market. You could say that it’s the best kept secret in town. On Thursday afternoons from noon to 6 pm, a steady trickle of neighbors and foodies have been finding their way to the Liberty City Farmers Market located at the Belafonte TACOLCY Center park on NW 62 St and 8th Ave. The shoppers come for the wide assortment of locally grown organic, sustainable (and some conventional) produce from five different farms and other local growers, set out under a big tent in the middle of the park.

Melissa Contreras, market manager

Fruits and vegetables are just as good and fresh as what you’d find at other grower supported markets in town. On a recent visit, I found Melissa Contreras, market manager and founder of Urban Oasis Project, under the big tent spraying fluffy heads of green leaf lettuce with water to keep them fresh. The lettuce, zucchini, pattypan squash, dill, spring onions, and collard greens (to name a few items) were trucked in from Worden Farm. Art Friedrich, Urban Oasis co-founder, was excited to be at market and proudly pointed out papayas he had grown in his yard. He said that backyard gardeners were welcome to come sell their extra crops at the market.

A handful of other local food vendors and artisans are also at the small market. Among them, you will find Lake Meadow Naturals fresh eggs and honey sold by Seriously Organic (the same vendor also at the South Miami Farmers Market on Saturdays and Pinecrest Gardens Green Market on Sundays). You can get Pan De Vida, a delicious whole wheat bread with raisins baked by Juliana, and Georgia collards from Thomas’ Produce, and Higher Heights natural body care products crafted by OmeJah. Fans of Nature Boyz juices will be glad to find Clive and his juicer making fresh squeezed drinks while you wait. The last time I was there, local chef Aria Kagan gave a cooking demo using ingredients from various vendors. After school teacher Erin Healy of Youth L.E.A.D. guided a group of kids around the big produce tent, showing them the different fruits and vegetables.

Erin Healy gives the lowdown on roselle.

It’s been a long road and a lot of work and hope to make this little gem of a market become a reality. Last year, Roger Horne and James Jiler of Urban GreenWorks made a community needs survey, where they mapped out every food store in the area complete with GPS coordinates. They discovered that most stores had very limited fresh produce on their shelves, mostly apples and bananas. Chantal Herron got a small grant from Dade Community Foundation for several green festivals held at the Jesse Trice Community Health Center last year. But that wasn’t enough to conquer the food desert. A farmers market was desperately needed to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the community. “This market is a very important addition to the neighborhood,” said Chantal. “It can have an impact on the health of the community by changing the way they eat. Most markets in the area don’t have healthy food.”

Urban Oasis Project: Melissa Contreras, Art Friedrich, Nick Reese and Antonio Guadamuz

So a number of non-profits big and small banded together to support the new Liberty City Farmers Market with the “Breaking Ground” initiative.* The organizers were inspired by last season’s successful Roots in the City Farmers Market five miles to the south. To make this particular market actually happen, Urban Oasis Project was tapped for their leadership and collective food raising skills. Melissa Contreras was hired as market manager, based on her market experience while working for Redland Organics last season. She takes local food very seriously. Almost half the food for sale was fresh picked that morning from several backyard microfarms tended by members.

Three weeks after the market opened, Melissa took the “leap of faith” and quit her full time job in Special Events at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. (She was principal organizer of Edible Garden Festival and Food & Garden Festival, as well as childrens’ educational activities.) She had been torn with one foot in each world and had to make a decision. She chose the market, and wants to concentrate her energy on making it a success. Melissa told me, “Failure is not an option. We’ve got to make this happen. People believe in us.”

Linda McGlathery found out about this market through the Food Policy Council.

Part of that belief comes as support from the Health Foundation of South Florida, which contributed $1500 to match funds for SNAP/EBT purchases. (If you buy $10 worth of food with SNAP, you get an additional $10 credit good for purchases at the market.) Private donations to maintain the matching funds program are very welcome. Gifts of $500 and over are channeled through the Health Foundation, a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor. It passes 100 per cent of the gift to the market, and allows donors to get a tax donation. If your donation is less than $500, you may give directly to Urban Oasis, which has its own 501(c)3 application in the works.

So far, about 60 shoppers come to the market every Thursday afternoon, including a growing number of regulars. Chef Michy Bernstein has come to shop, and so has Ali, the forager from Michael’s Genuine. Some people were getting Market in a Box, an assortment of produce available that day. Limited delivery is also available. Melissa is hoping the number of shoppers will grow, and is getting the word out to nearby Midtown, Miami Shores and Upper East Side. “It’s safe here,” Melissa said, when I suggested that some shoppers might be afraid of venturing into da hood. “We’re in a fenced park next to a butterfly garden and a day care.” The market is located two blocks west of the 62 St. exit off I-95, and there’s plenty of free parking inside the park and on the street.

Liberty City Farmers Market
at the Belafonte TACOLCY Center
6161 NW 9th Ave., Miami FL

* Non-profits in the “Breaking Ground” initiative: Urban GreenWorks, Youth L.E.A.D., Belafonte TACOLCY Center, Urban Oasis Project, Jessie Trice Community Health Center, The Miami Foundation, Health Foundation of South Florida, Urban Paradise Guild, Curley’s House Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity Miami, Hands on Miami, and the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center.

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Do as Michelle does and shop at farmers' markets!

Hey there Redland Ramblers!

Guest blogger Melissa Contreras here, back again for some more exciting blog-worthy news! All the news that’s fit to blog about Redland farms right here folks!

You know me as founder of Urban Oasis Project, and we have been helping Liberty City residents create food gardens for more access to fresh VERY LOCAL food for quite a while now. As a formerly closeted farmer, now aspiring urban micro-farmer, I must say that I love plants, especially food plants, and I feel really great when I am surrounded by fresh-picked local produce! So, last year, I began helping Bee Heaven Farm sell their lovely produce at 2 local markets, Pinecrest and Overtown.

The Overtown market was the first all local, producer-run market in Miami in recent history, and seeing its success, many of us started to think that this would be great to have in Liberty City, an urban food desert. It’s easy to find processed foods or fast food there. It’s not so easy to find a mouthwatering, voluptuous heirloom tomato, or any tomato for that matter. This is due to inequalities in our food system, in which not all people have access to real food, produced by farmers and not by factories.

We are so pleased to take one more step toward transforming an urban food oasis from an urban food desert! Our new community farmers’ market will debut in Liberty City this Thursday, featuring lots of Redland produce, and a  dollar-for-dollar match for food stamps (SNAP) users, up to $10 per user,  per market. That’s found money in their pockets for local food!

Some Redland growers represented are Bee Heaven Farm, Three Sisters Farm, Teena’s Pride, and the Homestead Pole Bean Co-op, the only farmers’ co-op left in south Dade.  Hani’s Mediterranean Organics will have goat cheese and his exotic specialties. Redland Organics member Worden Farm from Punta Gorda will be represented as well, with produce grown by those award-winning farmers, Chris and Eva Worden.

We have decided to make one exception to the local rule, although it could still be considered local, depending on your definition, but it definitely regional. Thomas Produce of historically black Liberty City has a relationship with small African American farmers from southern Georgia, who will sell peanuts, pecans, sweet potatoes, and greens.  We are proud to support them, for they too have suffered their own  inequities in the food system. (USDA discrimination suit finally settled today!)

The market will also feature seedlings for your garden and native plants, healthy food, kids activities, music, and monthly health screenings, as well as local organizations. C’mon out!

When: Thursdays from Dec through April from 12 noon – 6pm or dusk (whichever comes first)

Where: Tacolcy Park at Belafonte Tacolcy Center, 6161 NW 9th Ave., Miami, FL 33127

Everyone is welcome!!!


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