HOPE Provides Grant to Create Wynwood Community Garden

In the Fall of 2015, HOPE partnered with FoodScape Designs to build the Edible Forest Garden that will be located at the Jose de Diego Middle School in Wynwood. FoodScape Designs is a Miami, Florida-based firm that has designed and created “highly productive ecological landscapes since 2010.” Two volunteer teachers and fifty students are bringing FoodScape’s vision to life in the plaza at the center of the middle school inside two large planters and two smaller, rectangular clearings.

The students will grow bananas, spinach, boniato, papaya, pigeon pea, garlic, cassava, blackberries, blueberries and such exotics as acerola, jujube, chaya, pitomba, grumichama, and cacao in their garden. The students have begun working by shoveling rich brown mulch into the planters.

The project will teach students much more than basic gardening in soil. Students will also learn how to use solar-powered hydroponic systems to grow organic gardens, and use math skills to sketch a garden layout. They will also use their organizational and math abilities to record plant information. Now that workers have removed the trees that were in the planters, the students have weeded the planters and lined them with landscape fabric. An irrigation system will also be implemented for a water source. The students will also build a pond stocked with koi fish to be placed in one of the planters.

A landscaper will help the students who will receive grow boxes that they will be assigned to take care of during the school year. A solar powered water pump will supply water to each student’s grow box. Students will learn about the chemical and photosynthetic processes of plant growth and will produce plants, fruits and vegetables that they will make available to their community.

This is an exciting project that benefits the intellectual and emotional growth of the students while expanding the opportunities for area residents to have access to more nutritious food choices.