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By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — If you’d like a say in what your community’s public spaces look like, why not come up with an idea yourself?

It sounds like a huge, complicated undertaking, but a contest in Miami-Dade County makes it possible for residents to see their dreams become a reality.

The team from Earth Learning is converting a vacant Miami lot into “Overtown Foodworks,”  hub for locally grown food in the heart of the city.

“We have three different projects,” said founder Mario Yanez. “The culture garden, surrounded by shipping containers, and open space in the center with all sorts of local food related businesses in there… It’s a place for us to engage with the community.”

It’s still a work-in-progress and that progress is made possible thanks to The Miami Foundation’s “Public Space Challenge” contest.

“With the Public Space Challenge, we’re looking for ideas that enhance any neighborhood, any street, any block in Miami-Dade County with things that are authentic to that place,” explained Stuart Kennedy with The Miami Foundation.

“Overtown Foodworks” won last year.

This year, up to $305,000 will be divvied up to bring the most innovative ideas to fruition.

Danielle Bender hopes the money leads to honey.

Bender’s “Miami City Beekeeping” project is already generating plenty of buzz on the challenge website.

“I live in the area and during the point when Zika was around and they were spraying for Zika, I was noticing a lot of bees were dying. Bees are an essential part of our eco system. They’re responsible for pollinating about 80 percent of our fruits and vegetables,” she said.

Her urban beekeeping idea would place hives in locations around the county.

“I think there’s also potential to work with different local artists to have them further change the boxes to communicate the sense of the communities they’re being placed in,” Bender explained.

She’s not a beekeeper by trade, but Bender says you don’t have to be one to appreciate the benefits bees bring to the area.

“They are mostly a harmless species. I would propose, that through the community workshops, we would allow the public to see that this is a species that invigorates our area,” she said.

Bender will have to wait until September to find out if her idea made the cut.

The deadline to submit ideas is this Thursday at 11:59 p.m.To submit a proposal, click here.


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