Urban Farming in Miami (Summer 2015)

Led by Marjetica Potrč, inspiration for the workshop “Urban Farming in Miami” comes from comparisons between Miami and the Brazilian state of Acre, in Amazonia, looking specifically at the different approaches to deforestation. Acre is known for developing groundbreaking polices and practices that have reversed the process of deforestation over the last decade. One of the state’s most notable efforts in this regard is the distribution of half its territory to local communities that practice collective ownership and the sustainable management of natural resources. Can the residents of Miami be as adventurous as the people of the forest (for example, in confronting the deforestation of the Everglades)? Can they forge a new future for and with the environment they live in? In the workshop “Urban Farming in Miami” we will consider together what urban farming means in the Anthropocene age, when humans see themselves as part of nature and not its adversary. 

Before the workshop starts, the students are asked to locate examples of already-existing urban farms and urban gardening in Miami. They will present their research in visual and narrative form, using interviews and other kinds of documentation. We will map these locations and note the conditions in which they operate. We will visit three of the locations and talk with the people who run them. We will formulate the main questions, issues, and challenges of urban farming in Miami. Using the current conditions as our starting point, we will then construct a future scenario. To do this we will use the form of a World Cafe discussion, looking at what the existing locations will be like 50 years from now. What will urban farming in Miami be like in 50 years? Who will practice it and whom will it serve? What will be the future of local initiatives such as cooperatives? Will the current locations still be on land or will they be under water? What are the prospects of urban farming in Miami – more fish farms? We will discuss our findings with a lawyer and a writer, local experts who are familiar with the current situation and can think outside the box about economics, politics, and culture. Finally, the students will translate our findings into a Manual that presents both the current situation and future scenario in ways that are understandable and accessible to the people of Miami. This part of the project can develop into a post-workshop activity.

The workshop “Urban Farming in Miami” is organized in conjunction with the exhibition The School of the Forest: Miami Campus at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, June 11–October 18, 2015.

Course Schedule:

Tuesday, June 30
Wednesday, July 1
Thursday, July 2
Friday, July 3

All sessions: 2-6 PM