Thursday, December 8, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The garden was installed by Natural Greenscapes. Natural Greenscapes is a newly formed partnership between Gabriele and Diane Sugimoto, which plans, installs, and transforms commercial urban spaces into luscious edible greeneries. Both are excited to have been a part of what they and the Miami Culinary Institute are calling a new Soil to Soil initiative. This cutting edge initiative effects change in how future chefs come to know their ingredients – fresh, local, seasonal, and sustainable. In a world that is full of scientific food manipulation such as GMO and monoculture farming, this living classroom affords the students an intimate relationship with good healthy food. Food scraps from the Institute’s kitchen will also be composted and used in the garden for a true ‘soil to soil’ sustainable process.
(notice how much happier the Royal Poinciana tree at the bottom right is after some TLC!)
Since its inception, Gabriele has been honored to be a part of this amazing initiative. This is the first edible garden associated with a public culinary school in the US and we are hoping it is the first of many. She would like to give a most appreciative thank you to the MCI culinary team, under the direction of Chef Rich Achaia; John Richards and Victoria Nodarse of Miami Dade College; Diane Sugimoto, partner of Natural Greenscapes; and the local community; for their tremendous efforts and awesome support. Thank you, thank you.
For those interested, Gabriele will also be teaching a class as part of the Institute’s Enthusiasts Program, as the garden becomes the platform for growing culinary gardeners.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here are some more from the opening:
Just imagine: we cannot wait for the chain link fence to be covered with trellising plants! In another year, this garden will look even more transformed and plush with plants!
The Natural Greenscapes team!
The deep blue clitoria flowers are from our farm as they had not yet flowered in the garden. All food was prepared by MCI students!
Notice in the background how everything has taken amazingly - all the plants are just thriving in their new home! Paradise Farms and Natural Greenscapes feel like proud parents!
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Everyone had a blast. We inspired many to begin a backyard organic garden and we felt ‘mission accomplished’! The tour was this past Saturday and despite the warming summer months and subtropical rainy season, beautiful weather prevailed! Not one rain drop fell from the time that the first guest arrived to the time that the very last guest left. As soon as we exchanged goodbyes with the last guest, the sky broke and heavy rain drops began to fall.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Throughout the year, there are moments on the farm that our entire staff collaborates on a project. By working closely together to achieve a specific goal, it allows us to channel our positive energy and reconnect with each other. Getting our hands dirty is what we do best and so we decided that we would all plant flowers on Friday June 24th.
June 24 marks Saint John the Baptist Day as well as the Summer Solstice. The Summer Solstice is the day that the sun is at its zenith and the earth is at its most fertile, promising a bountiful harvest. We certainly love working in tandem with the earth to yield a bountiful harvest, as this is the pinnacle of our spiritual philosophy. In anticipation of this harvest, we have eagerly awaited this day to plant!
In Latin culture, it is good luck to plant on this day. A few of our staff members also informed us that St. John the Baptist Day is a good day to cut your hair! It is said that it encourages strong growth for your hair.
Wow, we planted over 7,200 seeds! It was a wonderful group effort and we are excited to see just how bountiful our harvest will be!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Our mushroom man, Shawn, has arrived and here is the proof!
Monday, May 23, 2011
Phew. As we near summer, we near the end of our busy season. We have been busy with Dinners in Paradise at night, harvesting during the day, Brunches in Paradise on the weekends, not to mention our bungalow guests and private events! We will have more posts soon to capture all of our activities!
But first, to touch on one of our continuing endeavors: Biodynamic Farming! And we have our expert, Janelle, to instruct and assist us on our Biodynamic path! You may be asking what is biodynamic farming? It is a method of organic farming that works to balance the relationship between the soil, plants, and animals. Instead of using pesticides and fertilizers, it emphasizes the use of manure, compost, and herbal and mineral preparations to enrich soil structure, soil life, humus, and thereby pest control. Everything is done according to an astronomical sowing and planting calendar. It takes organic farming even further.
The Biodynamic journey begins with a nine-step preparation, numbered 500 thru 508. The preparation helps stimulate the physical world to enable the etheric world (those subtle energies that science cannot explain) to complete the role of providing the appropriate balance between man and nature. We have already finished step 500, which you can see in the picture from “The New Team” blog post. You can see Janelle placing fresh manure into a cow horn. While this may sound (er, smell!) unappealing, the result is an incredibly nutrient rich soil!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
It was 8:00 in the morning on Mother’s Day and the day of our Mother’s Day Brunch. As with every brunch, we create fragrant, beautiful, and edible flower arrangements. So I began to collect bigger plant leaves that would serve as a base for the arrangements. I thought that our large leafed oregano, with its vibrant kelly green color, would make for an excellent base. As I roamed the patch, looking for the most pristine of leaves, this one leaflet stole my attention.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Mother’s Day Brunch was the last event for the season at Paradise Farm Organics and its series of dinners and more recently, brunches on the farm. It seems somehow fitting that it was Mother’s Day. The end of a season, a project, an event can be bittersweet. If we look at the cycle of nature, we can see that endings are a natural part of change and growth and that endings do no signify failure, but growth.
And it is mothers who know more than anyone, that change and growth has its own rhythm of activity and quietness, of movement forward and movement backwards as challenge and integration mark the journey to change. Just before spurts of growth, many children exhibit regression to the safety of familiar younger behaviors. This retreat is a preparation for what will soon look like a leap.
At the Mother’s Day Brunch the talk at my table of ten turned to gardening, or perhaps more accurately, home farming. The mother of a young family of four was growing an edible garden to supplement the fresh, and very local, food available to her family. Her girls helped in the growing process. The grown family of three was also discovering the joys of home farming. Retired from the work-a-day world, this mature mother has been discovering not only her passion for agriculture but also a growing talent in building something which is essentially a system. Self taught, this mother has been benefitting from the other side effect of growing one’s own food, and that is growing one’s abilities and range through daily problem solving. The more you do it, the better you become, learning through meeting all kinds of new challenges, both big and small. Although there are accepted protocols and practices, farming is always specific to the piece of land on which one is farming. There is always the tweaking that comes from noticing, from giving attention to details, and it is here that the dialog between nature and humans is visible. This dialog brings us into the moment and helps us to be aware of and alive to the present moment.
Farming, like mothering, is about the daily rhythm of nurturing and care and a daily investment onto the future.