FoodSpark Miami: Creative Gatherings Connecting Miamians via Food & Conversation!
By way of food and great conversation, FoodSpark Miami (FSM) will provide fun, interactive gathering spaces for diverse groups of greater Miami residents to connect with one another, discuss key social issues with fellow citizens, and figure out how we can collaborate to improve the quality of life in our local neighborhoods. Project partners include: Civic Creatives, Radical Partners, The New Tropic, Whereby.Us, Melissa Blundell Osorio, James Echols, JLPR, City of Hialeah, PARK Project, Ana Mantica, and many more. FSM is supported in part by the 8-80 Cities Emerging City Champions 2015 Fellowship (which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation), The Miami Foundation’s Public Space Challenge program, as well as Baptist Health South Florida.
For FoodSpark Miami in the City of Hialeah
- October 2015 – February 2016: Planning meetings with key partners
- Fall 2015: Civic engagement design and volunteer recruitment
- January 2016: Marketing promotions, media outreach, invitations to the public, purchasing materials/supplies, order rental equipment
- February 2016: Set-up for main event, on-going photography/videography, potluck, group dialogue activities, break-down event
- March 2016: Shout-outs of appreciation to attendees/partners/sponsors, post day-of event coverage e.g. photos and video, evaluate group dialogue results
- April 2016: Produce a report on findings from the event that can be shared with interested parties, publish articles on-line that recap what happened and the impact on our community
why we’re doing it
FoodSpark Miami (FSM) seeks to address activating public spaces in our greater Miami neighborhoods with more opportunities for meaningful civic engagement between diverse groups of residents. Communities across Miami-Dade County often hold outdoor events that celebrate the cultural diversity around us where there are many options of great food and styles of music, but FSM is different in that it’s focused on creating stronger interpersonal connections between unfamiliar individuals, and inspiring them to think about how they can be powerful agents of change even as everyday citizens. Our county is incredibly diverse culturally and ethnically, but also socioeconomically, which means depending upon where someone lives their quality of life will vary greatly. There is a visibly clear difference between many areas that are deemed lower-income, and those where our more affluent fellow Miamians reside. But does that have to be the way greater Miami continues to exist? Why can’t everyone have equal access to quality education, healthy and affordable food options, living wage job opportunities, safe housing conditions, well-maintained street infrastructure and recreational spaces, etc. no matter where they live? By implementing a project such as FSM, it gives us a chance to get to know each other better while we enjoy food and have conversations on topics about social issues that we are all connected to somehow, even if they don’t impact us directly.