Michael Madfis, an architect for 30 years and now an urban farmer and food policy agent, is slowing losing his eyesight to a retinal degenerative disease. But his work to help the community continues. Mr. Madfis helps establish organic community gardens that cultivate fresh, local food sources, create jobs and educate others about the benefits of urban farming.
Mr. Madfis started his first community garden in the city of Miramar in May 2009. The 5,200-square -foot garden is maintained by the city and local businesses and community volunteers. Mr. Madfis with the help of many volunteers recently completed a 23,000-square-foot garden opened with financial assistance from the Broward Regional Health Planning Council’s TOUCH grant and the city of Dania Beach CRA, along with many others including Broward Master gardeners and Master Naturalists, the Market Garden will produces $1,500 worth of produce a week, which pays for a farmer, assistants and maintenance. The city runs a website featuring weekly recipes based on the garden’s plantings.
Currently Mr. Madfis and his associate and mentor John Cerreta have built and operate two micro farms in Broward County one in downtown Fort Lauderdale nestled between a frame shop and supermarket on a street with a traffic count of 20,000 cars a day. “One of the most important things we can all do is cultivate the soil where we all stand,” says Michael.