Our Creation Story

The Urban Farming Institute is more than just an urban farm, market warehouse, resource center, and community garden. It’s a registered 501C (3) tax exempt, non-profit organization.

It’s a place where Jon, volunteers, students, gardeners, farmers, and a flock of other incredible people banding together to germinate, swap ideas and trade dirt (tips and tricks), harvest, and most of all, build. And has been for more than 10 years.

They are building a culture in South Florida. A culture of learning. Teaching others to grow healthy, delicious foods. Food you’re not going to find in big brand stores. We call it the ‘Soul Garden’.

The Institute serves as a regional education, demonstration, and resource center for educators, health practitioners, gardeners, farmers, and producers interested in growing food in an urban setting.

Yet, under the sun-kissed coconut palms of South Florida, the Urban Farming Institute, UFI, as we call it, lovingly nurtures and provides their community and schools, 7 days a week, with seeds from organically-fed veggies, fruits, and herbs, garden and farm supplies for both traditional and hydroponic techniques and everything else needed to dress a garden or indoor horticultural habitat.

The UFI is also a place to come to get away from your cell phone, your computer, your desk and experience the simplicity of rural living in an urban setting–even if it is just for an afternoon.

UFI’s instruction and guidance for both the urban farmer and Gardens for Schools embody their commitment – long before it was commonplace – to sustainability and harmony of nature and urban health. Even now, Jon, and their local neo-agriculturists get their hands ‘dirty’ sowing a wealth of delicate leafy greens, veggies of all varieties, and also rare and sought after heirlooms.

UFI Volunteers sorting through the luscious leafy greens on the Discovery and Community Gardens. Yup, grocery stores, eat your heart out!

For decades, as young people have been leaving farms behind, giving rise to the average age of the American farmer. The last time the government surveyed the our national farm lands back in 2002, the average age of the american farmer 55-years-old.

But now, there’s a modern surge of youthful vigor into American agriculture and urban farming — at least in the corner of it devoted to organic, local foods. Thousands of young people who’ve never farmed before are diving into the craft wherever they can. On condo balconies, urban backyards, and right inside the home itself.

Some of these young farmers already have their own farms. Some are elementary and higher -education student and teachers, parents and grandparents or apprentices; working on more established farms patio gardens. And others are still just thinking about it. And all want to cultivate without toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides used on our food around the world.

Locals come to the UFI master skills — from seminars on soil fertility, local planting schedules, and how to successfully grow from seed to table — and just as importantly, to meet others with the same beliefs and goals. It’s not uncommon to pull up a chair and have a jabber anytime of the day with those on the farm.

The Urban Farming Institute and its society represent a new breed of farmer-urban farmer, child educators, and chefs. Very few of them grew up on farms. And now, they want to grow vegetables, or substantially feed their families with fresh, organic cuisine with fresh ingredients handpicked from the farm.

On a given day, UFI talks about what they promise to accomplish.

“It was born out of a concern for the environment, the education of students, and for the future of our children and their education,” says Jon Albee, Founder of the Urban Farming Institute. “I spent what seems like countless years in my professional career with one goal in mind – basically, how can I have the greatest impact in my life for others in this world. And the thing that I kept coming back to, that everyone connected to, was healthy foods and how to learn to grow my own food and the food for others.” He goes on to say, “have you ever sampled real, fresh honey straight from an urban apiary [honey bee hive]? This is what I’m talking about. This is just one of the things about urban farming our children need to experience and continue well into their future.”

Others say that they simply enjoy the work, the style of agrarian life, and the direct and personal connection to food.

“I feel lost when I’m not farming and when I’m not out in the garden. It’s where I find the most peace and harmony in my life,” says Jack Macaluso, who is the president and graphic designer of the Swagger Group, steps away from the endless coastline of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“When I look around, and I’m amongst the nature and sunshine and I’m around like-mind individuals – this is my ‘second’ office, this is where I want to be when I’m not working. It’s a neighborly place I can bring my family and enjoy the time I spend with them tending to our plants,” said Jack, who grows food in the UFI Community Garden and in his family’s backyard garden.

Educational Classes

Educational Classes by the professional at the Urban Farming Institute on everything from seed starting to harvesting your own healthy foods.”.

The Urban Farming Institute’s Site Plan. Please help us make it a reality by donating.

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Did you know that the Urban Farming Institute is open to the public 7 days a week. Come in and see us today!

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Our Creed

Grow Fresh. Eat Fresh. Learn Fresh.

To teach by presenting how to choose, grow, and prepare nutrient dense food for a more abundant life while building stronger communities through home gardening and urban farming. At UFI, we strive to demonstrate the principles and practices of food production through the UFI “Living Classroom” and to serve as a regional resource in growing food, discover effective information, advice, insights, and other materials for growing the healthiest food possible.

Warehouse Market at the Urban Farming Institute

Wide assortment of fresh from local farmers and others in Florida every week.

Micro Apiary inspection

Micro Apiary inspection with students and professionals at the Urban Farming Institute.

A Little Bit More About the Urban Farming Institute

Want to share your enthusiasm for a community garden and growing techniques with others?
Do you enjoy the bustle of a farmers’ market environment?
Are you interested in urban and hydroponic gardening?

Maybe you have an organization or school club that would love the opportunity to learn more. The Urban Farmer of Oakland Park is establishing a growing and marketing center with many opportunities for volunteers.

We educate the public on how to grow their own food successfully.

Farm-to-Table Chef Demo

Farm-to-Table Chef Demo recipe creation and tasting.

The Urban Farming Institute also oversee the Oakland Park Discovery Farm, Gardens and Community Garden, as well as the city of Oakland Parks’ weekly Farmers Market every Wednesday 4-8 pm from November thru May. We take pride in developing educational gardens in over 60 schools in Broward County and educate the students and teachers on how to properly grow their own food.

The Urban Farming Institute offers weekly educational classes focusing on a myriad of garden topics – from soil, to integrated pest management to hydroponics and aquaponics. All of which is open to the public!

As if education and community outreach isn’t enough, we also operate a retail resource center where the public can purchase all their urban gardening supplies, including

  • organic fertilizers
  • plant nutrition
  • organic pesticides
  • pots
  • and IggyGrow Brand Soils

 

We also have a wide selection of basic garden supplies-basically a one stop shop for all your conventional and hydroponic gardening needs.

The professionals at the Urban Farming Institute are not only lifetime farmers, we are consultants, sustainability stewards, and advocates who advise the public on sustainable lifestyle practices that look to enhance the planet and the daily lives of our clients, through health conscious practices.

We Love Facebook!

Come join us and be social

The UFI is firmly planted in social media and we would love to have you join us. See updates on the Farm, want’s new in the Warehouse, the freshness of the Farm Share CSA and much more.

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Hungry to know more?

Contact Us Today or Call 954-696-9577!

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