Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Day at a Community Farm in Little Haiti

On January 28 2012 the Dreamers took a very interesting field trip to an urban/community farm in the Little Haiti community of Miami, Florida. As the school bus drove to the location, Dreamers were surprised and skeptical to believe that a farm actually existed somewhere in between the houses and apartment buildings off 76th street. But they were pleasantly surprised...

This urban farm sits on approximately 2 acres of land and is located behind a house, all owned by Ray Chasser. Dreamers walked through the house, entered the backyard, and suddenly found themselves on an farm! Unlike a farm in Texas, Mr. Chasser's farm was less traditional, but was eccentric and eclectic: potted-turtle-shaped plants; music playing in the background; road signs and other postings that normally would seem out of place, but fit right in; and other little artifacts (shells and empty coconuts hanging from trees). All of these details made the farm so much more unique and inviting.

Mr. Chasser first began the field trip by sharing with the Dreamers how and why he started the farm. Mr. Chasser purchased the home at a time when drugs and crime was at an all time high in the Little Haiti area. He wanted to create a haven for the youths in the area as well as provide a healthier food source for the members of community. Today, community members are able to purchase goat milk, eggs, papayas, ackee, mangoes, collard greens, peppers, and honey from Mr. Chasser!

Dreamers began the tour by feeding the animals (mostly goats, an Emu, turkey, and a pig). The Dreamers also learned about the compost techniques that Mr. Chasser uses...the most interesting was human waste!! As Dreamers ventured further onto the 2 acre farm, tree houses, and an outdoor bathroom and kitchen appeared. People actually live in the tree houses!!

Few interesting facts Mr. Chasser shared:
1. Chickens can lay approximately 300 eggs per year
2. A rooster is NOT needed for a chicken to lay an egg
3. Chicken-Rooster=eggs found in the store
4. Chicken+Rooster=eggs, that if kept at a certain temperature for 21 days, hatch into baby chickens
5. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the nation's bird because it has traces of red, white, and blue

Hope you all enjoy the pictures!!

Thank you Ray Chasser for opening up your home and the farm to I Have A Dream-Overtown Inc.

Owner, Ray Chasser

Alejandro feeding an Emu



Collard Greens (left) and Green Peppers (right)

Papaya Tree

Warm eggs laid by chickens!

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