Every day is Earth Day at Aguacate Sanctuary of Love (includes video story)

With Earth Day around the corner on April 22, there is no better place to celebrate than at Aguacate Sanctuary of Love, located at 12100 SW 43rd St. Miami, FL 33175. 

Nestled among plant nurseries in Kendall, this farm is a green-thumb paradise. 

The sanctuary has meditation classes – from prenatal yoga to breathwork exercises, and sells sustainably sourced vegan food and juices adjacent to an animal farm filled with chickens, geese, ducks, pigs and even a bull. 

The sanctuary shows that practicing environmental sustainability, healing the soul surrounded by nature and promoting animal welfare are activities anyone can partake in.

The creation of Aguacate would not have been possible without its founder, Daney Cabrera.

“Aguacate Sanctuary of Love was a big project idea with no funding, so it was very challenging,” said Cabrera, 47. “But I had a huge support from my husband and my family. We simply put forward all of our savings. And from there, the community support was amazing, so we were able to create enough profit to continue expanding and building more of an experience of nature connection with the community.”

The idea for the sanctuary came after Cabrera experienced a spiritual awakening after a yoga session in 2020. She decided to create a place that would combine her passions of spirituality with advocacy against animal cruelty. That same year, Cabrera built Aguacate with the help of her husband Antoine. They started from scratch with only 8,000 square feet of land, initially building the yard and area to sell food. 

Since then, it has grown to around two acres of land with areas to practice yoga, the animal farm and more green space to grow food. Cabrera has been maintaining the sanctuary while continuing her job selling houses as a real estate agent. On average, the farm and sanctuary average around 160 people per day on weekdays and 200 visitors on weekends.

Mica Uribe, a yoga instructor who has worked at Aguacate for three years, says the farm gives her a sense of home. Her classes have 10 to 20 people per class and cost around $15 to $35. She appreciates how sustainability is found everywhere in the sanctuary – even playing a part in her yoga classes’ breathwork. 

“I use ‘palo santo’ incense,” Uribe explained. “It comes from Northern Peru and it is a sustainable ‘palo santo’ worked on by artisans. An [expert] guides them to which tree has already fallen, which makes collecting it sustainable.”

This incense is from the brand The Cauldron Spirit.

The sanctuary also makes vegan food from organic fruits and vegetables. In the juice bar, visitors can purchase dishes that replicate Latin dishes commonly made with meat and dairy. Some include fala-tones (falafel “tostones”) made with chickpeas, oats and maduros, and a cafe con leche made with 1 shot of espresso, oat milk and organic cane sugar.

However, these food items are not cheap, as highlighted in some Yelp reviews of the sanctuary. Their “Philly Cheese Steak” sandwiches, made with lentils and wheat gluten, for example, cost $13.50. This, explains Cabrera, is because some of the ingredients are grown sustainably and organically on-site.

Aguacate is funded primarily by profits from the juice bar and donations to the animal sanctuary – which is a separate, non-profit organization. Monetary donations are accepted and visitors can buy a bag of pellets to feed the animals for $1. 

Cabrera also mentioned she runs a Patreon for the sanctuary, a site where people can become monthly donors called patrons to help keep the farm running. Currently, there are 6 patrons supporting the farm.

Animal care costs about $4,500 a month. This includes cleaning the animal enclosures daily, building or repairing structures, providing medicine, bathing the pigs and feeding all the animals every day. However, this figure does not account for spaying and neutering surgeries, which cost between $150 and $1,200 based on the size of the animal.

The farm is planning Earth Love Festival 2024 to celebrate our planet on April 20, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Duvasana Bisoondial worked on the written story. Nathaly Dominguez worked on the video story. Alexandra Howard worked on both.

Nathaly Dominguez is a junior majoring in journalism with a passion for the performing arts. After her studies, she wishes to pursue a career in entertainment media, allowing her to dissect pop-culture at the professional level.

Duvasana Bisoondial is a sophomore majoring in Digital Journalism and getting a certificate in Women's and Gender Studies at Florida International University. Her goal as a future journalist is to highlight the social and cultural contributions made by Caribbean immigrants in America and other parts of the world.
Currently, she enjoys adding on to her list of books to be read and watching Indian movies, both old and new.

Alexandra Howard is a senior pursuing a dual degree in digital journalism and political science. She intends to later graduate from law school and become an immigration lawyer and political journalist.