Evelyn's Stories, Florida, Visits

Ready-to-Grow Gardens (Miami, FL)

If one has a passion for plants and a hankering to be in an urban environment, creativity is a necessity. Miami, Florida can be especially tricky having a mass population that seems exceptionally uninterested in growing their own food. However, instead of seeing the lack of interest and withdrawing, Dylan Terry saw opportunity.000074320004_0004A Miami native, Terry graduated from the New College of Florida in 2008 as an art major with a focus on painting post-apocalyptic themed works.  While in school, his dedication to gardening developed as he became a driving force in the colleges garden program. After taking a graphic design position and creating the SunPass packaging, the SunPass is Florida’s pre paid toll program and a very familiar image to Floridians, he decided to step away from the arts and into creating through another medium.

After college, having worked with Worden Farm in South Florida and feeling inspired by intensive traditional Cuban agricultural models establishing a system of food sovereignty, Dylan Terry began Ready-to-Grown Gardens.  Ready-to-Grow is a business that is bringing gardening to the greater Miami community by doing both large and small-scale installations and maintenance all around town. With the encouragement of his parents, Terry started building the business from their backyard, which eventually expanded to two more sites.

Terry marks 2009 as a critical year in Miami’s food movement. More young people were coming together to create positive change in our community, small shops were beginning to push local produce and more producers themselves were beginning to root in the city, there seemed to be a surge of individuals wanting things to shift.  This transformation also allowed for the growth and expansion of Ready-to-Grow’s employee base. An already established volunteer and urban farmer, Chris French joined the team, bringing with him a background in engineering and sustainable edible landscape design. Following the addition of French, Giovan Barthole joined in, and the crew continues to grow.

000074320003_0003It was early morning and Terry and his girlfriend, Natalia Gomez, greeted me at their newly assembled nursery. Here they start all of their seedlings that will eventually find their way into gardens and landscapes all over Miami. In addition to providing the plants for their installations, they are also making the raised bed garden frames from repurposed wood pilings, which are both durable and non-toxic, on site. This is a critical a step towards creating a more closed-looped system. As for the rest of their materials, they are sourcing things like soil and mulch as close to their nursery as possible and supporting other local artisans whenever they can.

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With one of their larger spaces, they are also growing their plant selection for food forest installations. South Florida offers farmers and gardeners the opportunity of setting up perennial landscapes that can be harvested from when their annual crops are not growing (which is our Summer season, too hot to cultivate). While Ready-to-Grow’s goal is to set their customers up with a full raised bed, irrigation, and trellising system, they are also serving as an education platform, offering classes and serving as an invaluable source of information on growing edible foodstuffs in this sub-tropic climate. They are creating more informed “plant people” in the Miami area, and trying to bring attention to South Florida’s growing seasons in order to create a more informed consumer, as well as producer.

Anyone can call or email with questions or seeking guidance and knowledge.  Terry made clear that they are there to help in whatever way they can, in their direct community and beyond.

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About Evelyn A Block

Evelyn is a Florida native who ventured out west to attend The Evergreen State College, studying Agriculture and Community Development. She has always been passionate about creating, whether it be drawing, painting, photography, or growing food. Leading her to farming, an art that acts on a conscious desire to care for ones self and loved ones. Wanting to farm, and explore the melding of agriculture and community, stemmed from her childhood in Miami. As she grew up and watched urban sprawl swallow farmland, it was hard for her to conceptualize where food was coming from and why no one seemed to be talking about it. Evelyn’s purpose for joining the Driving Food Home Collective has been to deepen the conversation around agriculture and food movements, while learning all she can from established farms and communities across the United States. In hopes of buying land and eventually starting her own farm, she is elated to meet with farmers and community members who are making sustainable agriculture models a reality.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Ready-to-Grow Gardens (Miami, FL)

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