A thief went bananas, literally, at the Green Urban Living Center at North Campus, stealing two stalks of green plantains from an 8-foot tree, according to a Miami Dade College public safety report.
The bananas, which can be fried or sautéed, were valued at $40. They were to be used at the campuses monthly farmer’s market.
On Feb. 22, Lorna Bravo, the GULC program director and naturalist at North Campus, discovered that two bunches of the plantains had been removed from a tree located next to the 300 building, steps away from the campuses north-side parking lot, across from the aquatic center.
The trees are located on the left side entrance of the garden.
“It has happened before,” said Barbara Alfonso, the Department Chairperson for the School of Continuing Education and Professional Development Development, which overees the GULC.
In recent years, thieves have made off with mangoes from the garden.
The garden, which sits on two-thirds of an acre, is protected by a chain link fence that surrounds the perimeter of the center. The area is not monitored by cameras.
“We are working to secure the area by patrolling,” said Victor Moreno, the public safety chief at North Campus. “We secure it mostly during the night time.”
The GULC, which has been around almost 10 years, features hundreds of plants, including carrots, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, beets, broccoli, plantains, star fruits, and milkweed plants that attract different types of monarch butterflies. In addition, the lush garden has purple basil, oregano, thyme, and cilantro.
The center provides residents an opportunity to learn about the environment. It has more than 60 volunteers that teach the community about raising edible crops, pollination and the advocation of STEM.
Services are provided through the Youth Service America grant. The funds allow 500 youth, mainly from elementary and middle school, to visit and learn about the importance of water conservation, the process of decomposition and various ways of participating in the preservation of natural spaces in the community.
The Green Urban Living Center, which is located next to the 300 building at North Campus, 11380 N.W. 27 Ave., is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.