Homeless in Miami – community farm project in south Florida that grows produce for an upscale restaurant
As part of an innovative effort to tackle Miami’s problem with homelessness, Xavier Wright has traded the streets of downtown for a live-in community farm project
By Zachary Fagenson
Sep 9, 2012
Verde Gardens, a $17.2 million, 145-unit complex built for Miami’s formerly homeless, boasts a 22-acre (9-hectare) organic farm planted with a variety of fruits and vegetables from potatoes to bananas and pigeon peas.
Wright, who previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq, had resided in a homeless shelter with his 6-year-old autistic son before moving to Verde Gardens.
The farm is tapping into a rising trend in the restaurant industry to use locally grown seasonal products.
Norman Van Aken, a nationally acclaimed chef, has been buying produce from the farm for about six months for his newest eco-friendly restaurant, Tuyo, which sits atop the newly created Miami Culinary Institute in downtown Miami.
With breathtaking views of the city and Biscayne Bay, Tuyo serves a well-heeled crowd, including classical music aficionados who come by after attending performances at the city’s opera house and concert hall a few blocks away.