2020 changed the world for many reasons, but mine was turned around as a new life began growing within me. The process of pregnancy, so ordinary yet surreal, asked me to stop and appreciate the life we had created in Miami: one anchored in community and creativity. It also led me to question what "supporting local" really means.
Raul and I had already been running Mima for two and a half years by November when we found out about the baby. Our inventory of food, drink, and artisan goods made in + around Miami was growing despite the global crisis-- in fact, many new producers popped up in that strange time. We had paused our menu and workshop programs, central to the first two years as a community space, but we were proud to have offered organic produce all year. By the spring of 2021, we brought back tastings, multi-vendor pop ups, and started a Saturday morning market with farmers Diana and Sam and their bounty.
Then came summer, mangos dripping in fruit, heat and rain at their max, and Carmelo was born. We moved from our bayside apartment to a duplex with my sister and her family, a place to plant our own seeds, to dream up all we could grow and make. We called it Casa Cuatro Cocos after the coconut palms and happily made a banana circle for compost and a small vegetable garden. Carmelo brought a stillness with him, an invitation for me to pause and be present over those tender, early months. While Raul held down the shop, I contemplated the environment we were creating for our son, not just the house and the garden, but the culture of we were fomenting with Mima, one that shares the pleasure of consuming things people make with passion and with care for our wellbeing.
But by that November, the farmers we'd worked with had taken a deserved pause. And our efforts at sourcing elsewhere didn't flow (I was mostly concerned with my own milk flow, to be honest). Owning a business trains you to ride the waves each challenge brings, but this one felt especially awkward-- how can you go back to a partial offering when we used to have it all? It was the start of the harvest and we didn't serve the fresh and organic, locally-grown produce that had become a cornerstone of Mima Market, and a vital part of our own lives that we wanted to share with Carmelo.
We continued to go to The Farm to pick up eggs, and one February day the owner told us he missed having farmers on his land. He signaled nostalgically over empty plots while I turned to look at Raul. Raul had loved growing fruit and vegetables in his own yard as a kid in Cuba. Something clicked. This is how we can reconnect with the land and its natural rhythms. That was just over one year ago.
That's enough for now. This is a blog, not a novel, after all.