Five Ways to Score South Florida-Grown Produce
One option is the soil-based, self-watering Earthbox ($59.95), a terra cotta box that uses a capillary system to keep plants hydrated and the roots bathed in nutrients. The Urban Farmer also sells Verti-Gro, a vertical hydroponic system composed of white styrene pots. A single tower recirculating system can support up to 20 plants in a single square yard of space ($229.95). Both work great for patios and backyards.
"It's kind of a no-brainer; follow the instructions and you'll do pretty well with these things. You don't have to worry about if your soil's any good," Hill says. Both systems can be purchased at the Urban Farmer's Powerline Road location.
Volunteer at a community garden. Community gardens tend to vary when it comes to output and effectiveness, but the Gray Mockingbird in Lake Worth is a model of innovation and efficiency, growing a little bit of a lot of things. From beehive cultivation and canning seminars to 40 types of herbs and hydroponic techniques, the green space is being put to wise use by community groups and individuals. It's even planning an edible living wall to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Lake Worth.
Gardeners can score their own four-by-ten-foot raised bed plot for $80 a year, or they can come out and volunteer in the community sections for free. And volunteers don't go away empty-handed -- they can expect to head home with some fresh goodies.
"Anybody that does gardening, whether they have their own garden at home or want to work with people, we give them the opportunity to come over to our place to meet different people," says Brian Kirsch, garden organizer. "They can garden there or at home or whatever. The whole thing is to get people to start growing their own food, basically so they can taste what a tomato really tastes like again."
Gray Mockingbird is located adjacent to the Scottish Rite Masonic Center at 2000 N. D St. in Lake Worth. The garden's land is donated by the Scottish Rite, and 10 to 15 percent of its output goes to feed the hungry locally. It also offers community service hours for students or those on a court order. Visit facebook.com/GrayMockingbird, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask where your food comes from. Be it at the supermarket, the corner store, or the local diner -- eaters have every right to know where their edibles originated. So ask!
"Is this food local? Where can I get local food? Ask that question. Is this food from Florida? Is the grouper from the area?" says Michael Madfis, owner of Fort Lauderdale Vegetables Farm and an advocate for locally sourced food and decentralized farming. "The more people ask that question and think about it, it will encourage restaurants and markets to move in that direction, which is really a big part of it."
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