Miami Living: It's Not All You Think
June 24, 2016

by Kamla-Kay McKenzie

Photography by Presscott McDonald

With collages of bikini bodies sprawled on sparkling beaches, nightclubs hyped by the presence of a jet-setting celebrity, and notable fashion parties and events that showcase talent resembling New York Fashion Week, Miami’s rich eclectic culture and vacationing lifestyle often accentuates the city and surrounding area.

To one who has never descended into the true heart of Miami living, the community can be defined by glimpses of reality show tapings, boats entering the harbor, and five-star restaurants that line Deco Drive.

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Love, Happiness, and Success Forever!

As we turn down the loud music and hover over the shoulders of local chefs, the greater heartbeat of Miami revolving around organic foods, sustainable fashion, low emission transportation and natural habitation can be felt and experienced. With that, we say, leave any one-dimensional perspectives behind and experience this hidden gem; a socially responsible Miami awaits exploration.

An area well known for its fashion parties, no longer does the fashion industry have to take on the negative aura as in segments of the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”Combating the tons of non-biodegradable waste that enters Miami-Dade landfills each year, local fashion designers take a more artful approach to their creations by finding the perfect marriage between style and sustainability.

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Miami resident enjoying a coconut

Miami designer Luis Valenzuela, founder of EcoArtFashion, is an internationally acclaimed ethical fashion creative. Having his “art to wear” eco-inspired designs featured in fashion publications such as Vogue Italy and Elle Magazine, this Venezuelan-born artist coupled his artistic talents with his interest in maintaining a green community.Talented enough to have paintings, sculptures and wearable art within his collection, thought-provoking Valenzuela showcases have been featured around the Miami area.

Other local fashion designers too have made their mark on green living. In recent years, the first-ever sustainable swimwear show during Miami Swim Week presented the “Walk on Water” runway scene that boasted swimsuits made from organic hemp, wood pulp, bamboo and scraps of repurposed cotton.

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Miami Bee Farmer
Artist Lucinda Linderman embraces this artistic-like approach to material use. After realizing her personal waste impact, she began turning her trash into wild artistic sculptures. Converting waste into other products for better quality or environmental value, a term known as upcycling, has allowed Lucinda to create sculptures ranging from small wall décor to life-size pieces displayed in art galleries. Whether its outdated newspapers, empty water bottles, torn plastic bags or faded fabrics no longer seen as relevant, Lucinda Linderman is reclaiming the trash in Miami one artistic sculpture at a time.If the subject of fashion doesn’t spark your interest, you may find yourself in sync with nature at one of Miami’s organic farms. Many Miami residents now make their way to small farms to personally select seasonal fruits and vegetables for a home cooked delectable. Store bought produce, already packaged meals and restaurant combos rarely come free of pesticides, preservatives and/or fattening ingredients. Therefore, if the terms organic, permaculture and CSA send you to the dictionary, step into two urban Miami farms that are changing what we place in our mouths.

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Earth ‘n’ Us Farm

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Local Farm

Nested in Little Haiti, Earth ‘n’ Us Farm is an oasis of organic fertile plants, fruit trees and vegetables all cohabitating with pigs, goats, and chickens; don’t forget the small housing area surrounding this jungle-like atmosphere. Considered a permaculture business, one that inspires individuals to be self-reliant on sustainable organic farms, Earth ‘n’ Us Farm allows the neighboring community to purchase freshly picked seasonal vegetation. This 30-year-old operating farm is a veteran for sustainable eating.

A baby in age compared to Earth ‘n’ Us Farm, but mature in environmental living, Little River Market Garden is another at the forefront of green eating in Miami. Built on an empty city lot, Muriel Olivares began her garden just over two years ago and supplies about 40 types of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers to local patrons. Her CSA farm, or “Community Supported Agriculture” land, allows locals to buy shares of crop as an investment into her operation.

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Muriel Olivares

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Luis Valenzuela

As organic vegetables mature with the rising sun, take home crisp carrots, broccoli and ripe avocados from these farms. Or, test your gardening skills at home with the help of Jennifer Garcia, owner of Yogardener, who teaches how to plant as well as how to safely work through proper body-form yoga techniques. And if you’re just not up for cooking on your own or growing on your own, try out a hot fish sandwich, caught fresh daily at a local favorite, Garcia’s Seafood Grille and Fish Market on the Miami River.

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Luis Valenzuela

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Lucinda Linderman

When you are ready to unwind from the busy Miami life and work off the food you just ate, green transportation in Miami couldn’t be more important. What turns out to be the simplest and quickest way to maneuver the summer traffic on the tiny side streets in Miami is the newest highlight in green convenience. DecoBike is the new “two-wheel” transportation buzz phrase. Having 100 solar-powered rentals and sharing stations conveniently located throughout Miami Beach, DecoBike encourages a reduction in gas emissions while promoting a healthier active lifestyle. Reflective of the bicycle transportation system in many bustling cities such as Paris and Barcelona, DecoBike offers hourly rentals or membership “sharing” options. John F. Kennedy once said, “nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride” and DecoBike has taken that philosophy to create a fun and sustainable means of Miami transportation. While DecoBike promotes small scale, individual bike outings, Miami Critical Mass encourages large groups of bicyclists to get together. On the last Friday of each month, hundreds of bicyclists take to the streets en masse. Their mission: to enjoy the sport of riding, live out their right to share the road respectfully with other motorists and all with the goal of doing their part to promote green living. Miami Critical Mass has attracted thousands of riders and spectators — and surprisingly all occurring peacefully without the need for organized city or police involvement. Almost like an Easter parade, Miami Critical Mass is a show in itself but without the pollutants of a fueled vehicle.

Photo by Presscott McDonald

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Group biking around Miami

So as repurposed cotton takes the place of man-made fabrics, locals dine on organic meals harvested from neighboring farms, and transportation becomes sustainable, “The Magic City” continuously flips the wand to become greener each year.

After all, it’s only befitting for a city built on fast nightlife and hidden sustainable lifestyles to showcase that luxury too can co-exist in creativity and responsibility within the universe.

Photo by Presscott McDonald
Miami bike scene

fashion landfill trash farming

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About The Author: Jacqueline Romano

Jacqueline Romano is the Creative Director & Editor of Blindfold Magazine. She feels it is her personal vocation to use her creative skills to raise awareness for people and organizations who are making positive change, both globally and locally.

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