16. Muriel Olivares of Little River Market Garden
The eating world is paying more attention to food's origin than ever. Yet the locavores' work is far from done.
There's been plenty of debate on whether locally grown and raised food is the answer to crises like hunger and obesity, but that's not what's important. What matters is that Muriel Olivares, an art student who attended Miami New World School of the Arts, took over a quarter-acre patch of land in Little Haiti in 2011 to create the Little River Market Garden. With the help of friends and volunteers, she today grows about 40 different kinds of vegetables on the small space.
Olivares is fighting an uphill battle. The City of Miami in 2011 shut down the Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown for "illegal sale of fruits and merchandise from open stands and vacant lots."
The most influential person in my career has been...
A woman named Robyn Van En. She wrote a book that talked about CSA farming which is what I do. I've always gone back to it. It was really inspiring.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort, (an no one is there to watch or judge) the one food or drink I turn to is...
Popcorn. [The kind of popcorn] changes all the time but right now it's Shawnee's Green Thumb Popcorn. She makes it with spirulina and it's really salty, it's good. The popcorn is green [from the spirulina]. It makes your hands green when you eat it, and when I'm all alone and no one's watching me I scarf it down.
What does Miami need more of?
Farmers. More people growing food, more organic farmers.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
I would love to do a farm that does dinner but in the city. I would probably do it under the name of Little River Market Garden. I would serve farm fresh dinners, lunches, would be all vegetables grown on that farm, prepared as different dishes every week.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I'll be in Miami still doing what I do now just bigger and better.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
Six of my best friends and family, that would be a dream party for sure.
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.
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