College Forum College Forum September 2011 : Page 1

MIAMI DADE COLLEGE D COLLEGE GREEN OASIS RISES IN MIAMI MDC’s Devotion to Sustainability Blooms in Organic Garden owntown Miami’s concrete jun-gle just got greener, thanks to Mi-ami Culinary Institute’s tasty new addition to the urban landscape: a state-of-the-art edible organic garden. Firmly planting itself as the greenest food producer in the region, MDC’s Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) is implementing a “seed to table to soil” approach that relies on local food sources, eco-friendly growing and re-sponsible disposal methods. The garden yields fresh produce in accordance with certified organic growing methods. Fruits, vegetables and herbs from the garden will be used in the classroom by MCI students and also will grace the plates of diners at the Institute’s new world-class restaurant, opening this fall. Viable kitchen remains will then return to the garden as nutrient-rich compost, rendering it truly self-sustaining. The garden is living proof of MDC’s commitment to its mission of molding students into responsible global citizens while also pro-moting environmental sustainability. The College recently celebrated the garden’s grand opening to great fanfare and raves of attendees. “This is a wonderful, inclusive endeavor,” said Miami Herald writ-er Nancy Ancrum. “All sorts of people from the surrounding com-munity were made to feel that this is their garden.” Designed by Natural Greenscapes, a South Florida eco-friendly organization rooted in organic farming and edible landscapes, the garden stands out for both its design and function. “It’s outfitted with a subirrigation system that uses minimal amounts of water to keep it vibrant,” said Diane Sugimoto, who is a co-founder of Natural Greenscapes. Even more significant is the long-term benefit of the garden’s temporal design. Its four areas correspond to different seasons, educating students about what’s fresh when. This consciousness about local food sources will then translate into restaurants produc-ing smaller carbon footprints by taking advantage of the resources available right here at home. “The more we educate students to have that sensitiv-ity for the planet, the better off we’ll be,” said Natural Greenscapes co-founder Gabriele Marewski. – MR f orum September 2011 • Volume 15 • Number 4 Chef Norman Van Aken will lead MCI’s new restaurant. See Page 16. MDC: BEST For the third year in a row, Miami Dade College has been named one of the nation’s best colleges to work for, according to the 2011 survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education . In addition, for a second time, MDC made The Chronicle ’s distinguished Honor Roll, awarded to institutions that excel in a wide variety of categories. Other colleges earning that distinction included the University of Notre Dame, Duke University and Baylor University. Making the honor roll is a particular point of pride for the College, said Iliana Castillo-Frick, MDC’s vice provost for human resources. “Our people – students, faculty and staff – that’s what makes us a special institution,” Castillo-Frick said. MDC won honors in all four major categories this year: lead-ership, careers, compensation and the workplace. MDC also earned accolades in six vital areas : collaborative governance; profession-PLACE TO WORK, AGAIN! al and career development; job satisfaction; supervision/department chair relationships; diversity; and respect and appreciation. Analyzing demographic data and work-place policies, The Chronicle surveyed more than 42,000 college employees nationwide before awarding these honors. Since the survey began including all nonprofit institu-tions of higher learning in 2009, MDC has made the list each year. MDC’s focus on student success is key to the College’s outstand-ing achievements, Castillo-Frick said. “We’re here for the students,” she said. “We’re able to provide the best possible service for them because our mission is so clear.” – WV

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