Homeless Trust Partnership Seeks Support From Restaurants, Patrons
"You have to give people a sense of self-worth that could only be obtained through gainful employment," said Trust chairman Ron Book. "The way we chose to do that has never been done before."
Book and the Trust traveled to California, where folks built a farm and microenterprise with effective results. In Colorado, homeless advocates combined a housing program with a job placement program, with one dependent and beneficial to the other. The Trust decided that a plot in Homestead would be the perfect place to conjoin the efforts in Colorado and California.
The result was a 22-acre farm in Homestead called Verde Gardens where 550 formerly homeless residents of a nearby housing development have the opportunity to work on the farm. The 145 residential units are the result of a joint venture between the Homeless Trust and Carrfour Supportive Housing and are only offered to the formerly homeless or households where at least one person has a disability.The farm is operated by Earth Learning, a nonprofit entity that is dedicated to inspiring life-sustaining culture in South Florida. Earth Learning trains the workers and maintains working conditions on the farm.
Miami-Dade Culinary Institute's Tuyo Restaurant and executive chef Norman Van Aken recently made headlines by becoming the first fine dining establishment ever to partner with such a program.