Food News

Occupy Miami: Guerrilla Gardening and Extreme Healthy Cooking

It's not anything close to a five-star restaurant, but Occupy Miami feeds its campers (mostly) healthy, hearty and free, vegetarian meals. After all, occupiers gotta eat too!

Food mostly comes by way of donations. There's also a vegetable garden with tomatoes, peppers, beans, onions, sunflowers, papaya trees, lettuce, sweet squash along with other fruits and vegetables. An abandoned lot a few blocks away is being transformed into an urban garden. It's unclear whether the cops will kick 'em out before crops are harvested.

Food Not Bombs regularly contributes. Fred Marando of Marando Farms in Fort Lauderdale makes contributions every Tuesday of fruits like tangerines and oranges.

"I don't know where it comes from, I just shows up and I say 'Thank you'", says 28-year-old Allen Greenler, who assist with preparing meals.

There's an (almost) fully stocked kitchen complete with utensils (no knives), spices, condiments, pots, pans, a generator that powers a blender and two hot plates. Then there's  a big green tent full of food.

Don't expect filet with shallots. Nearly everything eaten at Occupy Miami is healthy and made from vegetables like avocados, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, plantains, cucumbers. Soups and stews are a mainstay. So are peanut butter sandwiches, lots and lots of peanut butter sandwiches.

"Can't keep fruits around, we eat them too fast -- we need more fruits," says Greenler. "We'd like to see some more nuts, pecans, almost and stuff like that. Our vegans need more protein."

Snacks consisting of chips, crackers, cookies and whatever else shows up tends to disappear immediately, but donations stopped after awhile. Anything that people don't have to work for generally lasts the longest, says Greenler. Want some dessert? Greenler prepared candied coconut the other day.

"We're not down to pintos and rice, but we're doing pretty good," says

Greenler. " If we eat better then we probably act better. If I can show

people in the city how great I can cook, then maybe I can get a job."

Even though pretty much every meal has been vegetarian, a Thanksgiving dinner is planned. Professional chefs including chef Kjeld Rasmussen are coming down from Hallandale Beach to prepare it. The holiday dinner just might be the last meal. They face eviction the day after Thanksgiving, says spokesman Jeff Weinberger.

Want a bite? Everybody is invited. There's always enough food to go around. Farmers turn leftovers into compost.

"It's definitely food under extreme circumstances, but we get it done," says Weinberger.

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David Minsky is a U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He has also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky

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