Vizcaya Museum and Gardens partnered with edible South Florida once again to host the third annual Dinner for Farmers program, an invitation-only evening dedicated to celebrating the growers in our community.
Inspired by the Vizcaya’s own agricultural origins, the Jan. 16, program was of particular importance this year following Hurricane Irma as it gave local farmers an opportunity to come together, discuss strategies for recovery and future planning, and celebrate their own resilience.
Designed as a progressive dinner, stations were set up throughout Vizcaya Village, allowing guests to migrate and explore the different areas of the space with each course. Décor by Unearthed Vintage highlighted the Village aesthetic as centerpieces by Anthology Floristry showcased produced in surprising and beautiful ways.
The menu was crafted one week prior to the event, a challenge happily accepted by volunteer chefs who came together to give back to the farms that serve them all-year-long. Partner chefs and businesses included: Mixto, Chef Melanie Stewart of GourmetPhile, Dusk, Lan Pan Asian, Eat Real Food Company, Jimmy’Z Kitchen, Babe’s Meat & Counter, and Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts. Seasons Farm Fresh and Sun Fresh Farms contributed produce as well, excited for the opportunity to see chefs get creative with their crops. The Dinner for Farmers logo was generously provided by Jesse Peterson.
Mixologist Gabe Uruttia complemented the selection with Deering-era cocktails while Earth and Sugar Bakery as well as Tea N Sanity delighted with sweet creations. Hungry Harvest, a company dedicated to fighting food waste and the newest partner to join this effort, provided produce for the dinner. Health in the Hood, a 2017 Dinner for Farmers award winner, also showcased its new garden project in Overtown as the evening’s education spotlight.
The evening also featured awards recognizing South Florida farms for their leadership in innovation and education. The innovation category celebrates new techniques in growing, packing and getting goods to market; using farm and nursery space and materials efficiently; dealing with food waste; creating new markets for products. Similarly, the area of education involves all things from outreach programs and training to creating school or community gardens to be used as teaching tools for numerous audiences.
Excellence in Education Honorees
Moon and Stars Farm: This South Dade farm instructed students — kindergarten through eighth grade — in growing, seeding, composting, harvesting, selling at a mini farmers market, cooking and even making ferments.
Robert Is Here: This long-running family business has made educating its customers about tropical fruits part of its brand but has also extended this practice to school groups and tour groups.
Little River Cooperative: Knowing the lack of land accessibility and hands-on learning opportunities, this organization set up a farmer incubator program providing small beginner plots for subleasing and trained participants in everything from basic farming skills to marketing in order to help them grow their businesses.
The Education Fund: Excelling at both innovation and education, this group’s school food forest program has taken a unique approach to impact the lives of 34,000 Miami-Dade school children. In addition to teaching students, the program also trains cafeteria staff and provides harvest bags that allow students to take produce home to their families. As a result, students gained better eating habits, improved knowledge of nutrition and even better science scores.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a National Historic Landmark that preserves the Miami estate of agricultural industrialist James Deering to engage the community and its visitors in learning through the arts, history and the environment. Built between 1914 and 1922, Vizcaya is one of the most intact remaining examples from this era in United States history, when the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs built estates inspired by the stately homes of Europe. Vizcaya features a Main House filled with a decorative art collection, 10 acres of formal gardens, a Rockland hammock (native forest), mangrove shore, and a historic village that is being restored to tell Vizcaya’s full story and provide additional spaces for programs and community outreach, including those on agriculture. Vizcaya has been a community hub since it opened to the public in 1953; it currently welcomes about 300,000 visitors annually.
Located on Biscayne Bay at 3251 S. Miami Ave., Vizcaya is open Wednesday through Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; closed Tuesdays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. For more information, visit www.vizcaya.org or call 305-250-9133.