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Miami Dade College’s Earth Ethics Institute and Center for Community Involvement Sprout CROPS

The Wolfson Campus goes organic!
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Miami, May 11, 2010 - Students, faculty and staff who crave introducing organic fruits and vegetables into their diet, but have been constrained by costly price tags, can now pick up their produce at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Wolfson Campus CROPS.

Community Rooted Organic Produce Services, CROPS, is an organic produce purchasing club offering organic fruits and vegetables --- with the cost of membership calculated on a sliding fee--- to students, faculty, administration and staff at MDC. The project is a collaborative effort between the Earth Ethics Institute (EEI) and the Center for Community Involvement at Miami Dade College. 

The goal of CROPS is two-fold. 1) To offer quality, healthy, chemical free (certified organic) food (locally or regionally grown when possible) to the MDC community.  2) To also serve as a service-learning project by working with faculty and students to create a hands-on learning opportunity about organic agriculture, quality food availability, nutrition and other discipline specific topics.

 “Wolfson Campus is basically located in a food desert and we wanted to serve our Wolfson Campus Community,” stated Colleen Ahern-Hettich, director of the Earth Ethics Institute.  “ We hope that we will grow a huge community of organic fruit and vegetable eaters while supporting organic farmers as well.  Once we work out the kinks and interest more faculty and staff in identifying service-learning participants, we plan to expand it to all our MDC campuses.”

Applicants can sign up for full shares or half shares.  Full shares are meant to feed a family of three or four who consumes a lot of fruits and vegetables.  Smaller families or families who don’t consume many fruits and vegetables may purchase half shares.  All shares are priced on a sliding scale with full shares priced between $40 and $48 and half shares priced between $20 and $25.  A cost comparison of conventional and organic produce purchased from a local supermarket determined that a comparable share of conventional (non-organic) produce costs $38 while organic produce costs $70.  A CROPS member paying $48 for a full share can save $22. 

Shares are available at the Wolfson Campus for pick-up by members every two weeks.

Organic food is grown without the use of chemicals, additives, or treatments, such as conventional pesticides, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. Farmers focus on using renewable resources and conserving soil and water in order to sustain the environment. Organic farmers use natural fertilizers such as manure and compost. There are many health and environmental benefits to eating organic.

CROPS student interns oversee the CROPS newsletter and work every delivery day with EEI and CCI staff. Students who would like to participate in a service-learning internship with CROPS or anyone wanting to be a member and purchase produce, may contact Colleen Ahern-Hettich at 305-237-3796, cahernhe@mdc.edu or Madelyn Moyer at 305-237-7119 or mmoyer@mdc.edu.

 For more information visit www.earthethicsinstitute.org/crops.asp

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949, testorin@mdc.edu, MDC media relations director
Cindy J. Irizarry, 305-237-3920, cirizarr@mdc.edu
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482, arios1@mdc.edu
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359, tcarroll@mdc.edu, media specialist




Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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