Picture this green-living dream: A marketplace where Miamians can buy locally grown produce and bulk goods, then carry them home in reusable containers; a kitchen where locals can learn to cook healthy, vegan meals for themselves and their families; a lush community garden where people can donate time in exchange for a share of fresh produce.
Believe it or not, all of the above is coming to Wynwood.
Known as Colony1, the living building and its lot will serve as a bulk food store, organic garden, and vegan kitchen, among a community classroom and other things. It's the vision of Nando and Blair Jaramillo, the couple behind local nonprofit the Art of Cultural Evolution (ACE).
By introducing these environmentally friendly edible options, the Jaramillos hope to help reduce the community's waste. Throughout their nationwide tour of the U.S. (on a sustainable school bus), they were struck by the obscene quantity of pointless food packaging thrown away by Americans.
While the final build out is likely still a couple years away (collecting funds takes awhile), the Art of Cultural Evolution is already working on getting the garden going, starting with soil remediation. They're hosting a kick-off event this Saturday to introduce themselves to the neighborhood.
In the past, the Jaramillos have worked with vegan chef Sebastian Schwam, and hope he'll continue with them throughout the new endeavor. The idea is that people will train to cook healthy, vegan food in an on-site kitchen, says Blair Jaramillo.
"Say you just found out you're diabetic and you have to learn to cook all over again, you can volunteer in our kitchen, be an assistant to our chef and learn to cook for yourself," she said.
A daily vegan plate for customers is proposed as part of the on-site offerings, and as an element to aid in their long-term financial sustainability.
"We'll have one wholesome, locally produced plate a day and in addition we'll have dry goods, so maybe we have raw dessert or locally produced, ready to eat stuff. If somebody makes raw desserts we would serve that. Also fresh juices, veggie juices -- just keep it really simple. Not complicated but fresh and wholesome," Jaramillo said.
Another aspect of the new endeavor will include a bulk food store.
"People can bring their own containers and they can get their dry goods. They can pick up produce from our garden... everything will be sourced locally from local farmers," she said. "The garden will be operated like a CSA model, but instead of people buying shares, what they'll be doing is volunteering hours. When they volunteer they learn to grow the food themselves, they learn all about sustainable energy, water, composting, irrigation -- they learn all these things in one growing season."
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The couple also hopes to partner with a local grower or organization (along the lines of the Urban Oasis Project, says Blair) so they can offer fresh produce and products seven days a week.
In the end, they're hoping to build a new sense of community in the area, and encourage the creation of a sustainable city.
"Miami has sun all year long, we have 45 inches of rainfall -- if any community could exist sustainably, it's Miami," Jaramillo said. "We have all the resources."