Friday, January 13, 2012

Edible-Yards Tour In Miami-Dade County with Earth Learning

Bumping down the road in a worn out school bus with twenty or so other people, I thought about the edible yards in Miami-Dade County we were about to visit.

It was a hot October morning. The windows were open. The breeze was like a blast furnace but when it hit my sweat drenched body it turned into a cool sensation.

The event had been organized by the Earth Learning Organization of Miami, an educational facilitator, inspiring people to come together on local sustainable ecological issues and solve them.

Corinna Moebius, with Earth Learning, standing in school bus

Our tour guide, Corinna Moebius, entertained us with Miami-Dade history and stories. Our first edible yard stop was at Frank Macaluso's house.

Frank Macaluso's front yard, Miami-Dade County, FL

While the bus driver figured out a way to park on the narrow street, the beauty of the property struck me. It was crowded with many tropical fruit plants including a large amount of bananas. Frank greeted us with a smile and quickly started the tour.

Frank Mucaluso touching a mango tree in Miami, FL

In the front yard, he had some unexpected South Florida plants like blackberries and Mysore raspberries. The backyard held more surprises. Where you would expect to find lawn, Frank had planted rows of edamame pods, peppers, and herbs.

Frank Mucaluso's backyard, Miami, FL

He even had asparagus growing in one corner. I didn't think they could grow so far south but Frank said he had been growing it for years.

Asparagus in Frank Mucaluso's garden, Miami, FL

We quickly left his property, we were running behind schedule according to Corinna. Next we visited Yvrose Valdez's property. She is a Haitian born certified master gardener on a mission. She wants to take her permaculture and food forest techniques of growing fruit and vegetables on a world tour to end hunger.

Yvrose Valdez's Edible Garden tour, Miami-Dade County, FL

Her yard was bursting with plants that overflowed onto the sidewalk and beyond.

Yvrose Valdez front garden spilling onto street, Miami, FL

 The backyard had pathways leading under bridges of vegetation.

Yvrose Valdez back garden with tree bridges, Miami, FL

There was so much to see and so little time to do it. So, she walked and talked quickly but it often made it hard to hear what she was saying.

By the end of the day I was a few pounds lighter from all the sweat I'd lost. But I was also a few ideas heavier with thoughts of all the things I could grow in my backyard. I look forward to the Earth Learning tours of 2012.

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