Whenever I have a quiet Saturday, I like to stop by the Coral Gables Farmers Market on the corner of Miracle Mile and LeJeune. It’s always home to some of my favorite vendors – Per’La Specialty Roasters, Babe Froman Sausages, and Cao Chocolates just to name a few.
But there’s something wonderful about knowing you’ll stumble upon new local businesses to fall in love with.
Last month, that is exactly what happened when I discovered Miami Is Kind and their macaroons.
Silvia Planas-Prats has created a business to employ young adults with autism that is inspired by her own autistic son. She left a decade-long career in Spain to come to Miami after hearing there were great schooling opportunities for her son in America. Marc is now an adorable 13-year-old boy that just happens to be autistic. He loves riding his bike, dancing to Michael Jackson and baking. He’s come a long way with the help of the Miami-Dade County Public School system, and Silvia is so grateful for the programs being offered to him.
However, Silvia realized there is an employment issue for autistic young adults. 1 in 68 kids in the US have autism, and as adults, the unemployment rates are 80-90%. Those are scary odds, so Silvia decided to take this employment challenge head on. She knew how much baking had helped her son and how well he excelled in the kitchen so she started Miami Is Kind, a non-profit industrial bakery determined to be the first food production facility for professionals with autism/disabilities in South Florida.
Miami Is Kind employs bakers, packers, warehouse operators, maintenance crew, customer service reps and dispatchers that have autism or other disabilities. Silvia feels that with adequate instruction, a properly structured workplace, and an enjoyable learning atmosphere, autistic and disabled young adults can excel at a workplace and can contribute to making the companies they work for profitable.
They began by making gluten-free deliciously and healthy gourmet artisan macaroons. They started in October 2015 hiring two bakers educated in Bakery & Pastry Arts, and then hired 2 additional bakers in December 2015 and a fifth baker in February 2016.
Today, they make the macaroons in 9 flavors: Original, Chocolate Dipped, Raspberry Heart, Strawberry Lovers, Rum, Orange, Stevia (for those who can’t have regular sugar), Chocolate Mousse, and Lemon. They are sold in packages of 12 for $15 or 30 for $38. You can find that at Farmers Markets throughout Miami and at Joann’s Marketplace in Pinecrest.
They also offer monthly subscription boxes of 30 original and 30 assorted or a smaller box of one dozen assorted that guarantees these delicious treats will arrive at your home or office each month, while also supporting the Miami is Kind mission.
The macaroons are delicious and packaged with a personal note from the baker. The very talented bakers even help out at the Farmers Markets and other events where they are sold so that they are able to see the full process of the business and the happy faces of the customers. It’s a social revolution that gives job opportunities and hope to many adults with autism/disABILITIES in Miami. Through their success, they hope to inspire other companies to follow similar paths. The bakers at Miami Is Kind are the pioneers of the “I am like you” revolution.
This is exactly the kind of Saturday Sweets I like to know exists!
Be sure to follow Miami Is Kind on Instagram @miami_is_kind to see where they will be next!