Community Voices

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to explore growing food in space

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden received a $250,000 grant to explore ways to grow food in space. Combined with a $750,000 grant from NASA, Fairchild will develop the Growing Beyond Earth Innovation Studio, a first-of-its-kind community “makerspace” center for learning.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden received a $250,000 grant to explore ways to grow food in space. Combined with a $750,000 grant from NASA, Fairchild will develop the Growing Beyond Earth Innovation Studio, a first-of-its-kind community “makerspace” center for learning. Rendering of classroom provided to the Miami Herald

We will have to do it one day — grow our food in space.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is at the forefront of exploring the latest technology to accomplish this with its new grant of nearly $250,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

And combined with a $750,000 grant the Garden received from NASA in June, the nearly $1 million will support a first-of-its-kind community workspace that will allow users — area students and adults — to turn their ideas into reality.

“With the funding from IMLS and NASA, Fairchild will be equipped for anyone to help develop new food growing technologies,” said Dr. Carl Lewis, Fairchild’s director.

“Together, Fairchild and our community will join forces to create the world’s first makerspace in a botanic garden,” Lewis said.

To create Fairchild’s Growing Beyond Earth Innovation Studio, the Garden is renovating two existing centrally located buildings where there will be fabrication equipment including 3D printers and laser cutters.

The focus will be on “the specific challenges related to NASA’s food production initiatives, including growing plants in small containers with the limited resources available on spacecraft, and using automation to plant, harvest, and maintain crops with little or no intervention from astronauts.”

The Growing Beyond Earth Innovation Studio is being developed in collaboration with Moonlighter Miami and the Nation of Makers. It will serve students in elementary, middle, and high schools; local community members of all ages; and makers throughout the United States.

“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities,” said IMLS Director Kathryn K. Matthew.

“They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other. IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

The Growing Beyond Earth program, based on work supported by NASA, is now underway in 120 Miami-Dade County middle and high schools. Learn more under the Science and Conservation tab at

Creative art contest

All students in grades K-12 are invited to enter their artwork in the 10th annual Orange Bowl Creative Art Contest. This year’s theme is “Playing Healthy Always Wins.” The deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16.

Students are encouraged to submit art that includes visual representations of South Florida, college football, healthy lifestyles and OBIE, the Orange Bowl’s official mascot.

“The Orange Bowl Creative Art Contest is a special program that offers all students in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach schools the opportunity to showcase their best artwork for a chance to win some amazing prizes,” said Orange Bowl Committee President and Chairman Sean Pittman.

“In addition, through the school tour, students will learn more about the contest and will get a chance to meet and play games with Obie as well as gain valuable education on living a healthy lifestyle,” Pittman said.

Winners will be announced and contacted Nov. 30. The grand prize for this year’s contest is a $500 Nike gift card and a custom Orange Bowl bicycle.

The grand prize winner also will be part of a special on-field presentation at the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl Dec. 29 and will have their artwork featured on a full page in the official game program.

Grade level winners will receive four tickets to the 2018 Metro by T-Mobile Orange Bowl Basketball Classic and will be recognized at an on-court presentation during the game. Teachers, too, will be awarded for most entries submitted.

Learn more at

Doral Food and Wine Festival

Back for its third year, this festival celebrates world flavors at a tasting pavilion that will feature more than 30 community restaurants. You can also sample wines and spirits from around the world.

The event is 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Doral Central Park, 3000 NW 87th Ave.

DFWF 2018 will include performances, music, artists, celebrities, chefs and special guests, and live cooking shows and tastings. The festival will introduce the Veza Sur Brewing Doral Beer Garden offering 10 styles of craft beers.

The Kid’s Zone is expanding and will include an interactive teen area with video games, sports and more. Guests can enjoy unlimited sample-size bites from some of South Florida’s best restaurants.

The Grand Gala Night from this event assists in funding research and educational programming for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Tickets at

Three holiday bazaars

Miami Country Day School will host its 23rd annual Holiday Bazaar on Monday and Tuesday.

Shop from vendors including Active Fit, Art Spot, Barbara Silberman, Bling it 4 Me, Flying Lizard Boutique, Gem Sisters, Give Wink, Heyday Printing, Jessie, Lakeview Home, Learning Express, Susan’s Jewelry, TKS, and Tupelo Honey. Hours are 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday in the school’s gym, 601 NE 107th St., Miami.

Palm Springs United Methodist Church will present its holiday shopping event including collectibles, arts & crafts, Christmas decorations, gift items, silver, dishes, paintings, crystal ware, fall items, and linens and clothing. Stop by 8 a.m. to noon Friday, Nov. 16, or 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at 5700 W. 12th Ave., Hialeah. Saturday’s rummage sale will include clothing, electronics, kitchenware, linens, toys, CDs, dishes and more.

The Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove will host its holiday bazaar with vendors selling gift items and food trucks for refreshments. A professional photographer will be set up to take your holiday card photo. Club members will be selling baked goods, donated recycled gift items, artwork, and the club’s signature drink. A silent auction will feature cooking classes, a vacation, computer class, a day of fishing, and sunset sailing. Check it out 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at 2985 S. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at