Research shows food available to homeless individuals through shelter feeding facilities lack the required daily nutrients. But here at the Lotus House in Overtown, providing good nutrition is one of the key factors to help end homelessness.
Teniqua is a volunteer at the Lotus House container farm.
“It’s really convenient to grow some of our food here because it’s very compact and you just take it to the kitchen and the kitchen preps it,” said Teniqua.
Growing vegetables for the nonprofit’s kitchen and salad bar. To Teniqua, it’s therapeutic.
“It’s extremely therapeutic and very grounding because you can actually lose track of time in there,” she added.
She is one of 500 women and children benefiting from the farm. Inside the container, you’ll find a variety of lettuces, specialty greens, root vegetables and edible flowers.
“The farm came out of the necessity to teach children about nutrition and where their food comes from. A lot of the families who come have a history with food insecurity, lots of skipping meals, not being able to afford food throughout the month of the month, only being able to afford what’s available in the corner store so processed foods and candy,” said Jackie Roth, project coordinator at The Lotus House.
The farming program aims to encourage residents to eat more fruits and vegetables by connecting them to their food source.
“Not only are typical shelters another layer of trauma in the lives of women and children but they also miss the opportunity of giving people nutritious food especially for the women we serve, children who are developing [and] pregnant women. So we wanted to break the paradigm of shelter food,” said Jackie.
“Their approach to ending the cycle of homelessness and poverty is really routed in wellness and healing and with that focus it is paramount to have access to nutritious produce,” said Caroline Katsiroubas, director of marketing at Freight Farms.
The latest report by Feeding America shows overall food insecurity ranges from 9.5% of the population in Miami-Dade County and up to 13.6% in Broward.
Freight Farm’s goal is to making fresh food accessible to anyone around the world.
“Having the opportunity to learn how food grows and participate in that process, creates so much pride and excitement. When you participate in the process of growing food, you are much more likely to eat the food that you are growing,” said Caroline.
“My favorite part is planting the seeds because I like knowing where our food comes from,” said Teniqua.
Jackie Roth with The Lotus House says women who are interested in helping with the farm have an opportunity to get paid. To support the nonprofits mission, click here.