Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Growing Power

Tomorrow I leave for my west coast adventure of the American Society for Environmental History conference in Portland, archival work in Sacramento and Palo Alto, visiting friends in Oakland, and visiting family in Santa Rosa, CA. But before then, I wanted to write a post about an inspiring day we spent at Growing Power in Milwaukee a week ago.

I wrote about Growing Power and the amazing work Will Allen is doing there way back in September but we finally got to see the transformative urban farm for ourselves last week.  And, let me tell you, it was incredible.

Throughout our day of goat-muck raking (the literal kind, not just the Upton Sinclair kind), compost shoveling, soil sifting, removing algal blooms from watercress, and more, we got to see first hand how this group has turned a piece of land smaller than the size of a city block, right smack dab in the middle of a Milwaukee neighborhood, into a food-producing haven.

They grow lots of greens and sprouts throughout the winter, raise tilapia and trout in their self-designed aquaponics system (in which the water flows through watercress, whose roots filter the fish poop out and use it to fertilize their own growth, seen above), raise chickens for eggs, have goats for manure, grow turkeys, and so much more. They also provide a space for education and empowerment, providing jobs to local underserved teenagers and helping to create a culture of healthy eating in Milwaukee schools and neighborhoods.

We feel so lucky to have gotten to visit this site, which has so much potential to revolutionize the way we grow food. In fact, when Michael Pollan was here last September and someone from the 8,000 member audience at his public talk asked a question about how we're supposed to grow our own, local food in northern regions in the middle of winter, Pollan pointed straight to Will Allen's Growing Power. So much power in learning to grow...

1 comment:

  1. This post gives me an inexplicable craving for lasagna...