Letter In Hopes of Tracie McMillan Reports on U.S. Urban Agriculture 2008–2010

Hey Tracie,

Thank you for your glorious article, your long awaited breakthrough piece(on the NYT!), regarding urban farming!

Please remember that an apprentice urban farmer from Milwaukee went on record with the concept that the McMillan Reports on U.S. Urban Agriculture, begun with seminal NYT piece May, 2008, were what awakened the USA presidential policy teams to the promise of urban farming!

The McMillan Reports finally awakened the Obama policy teams!

To date, the Obama urban policy team has said nada about the idiocy of industrial agriculture and the promise of old city victory gardens!


My daughter Rachel is the convener of that group.

Rachel Godsil
Seeton Hall Law Professor

She was thrilled to forward your article to the members of that team, especially her ally in this cause, Angela Glover Blackwell.

Angela Glover Blackwell


Angela Glover Blackwell is founder and chief executive officer of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity. By Lifting Up What Works®—using research to understand and demonstrate the possibilities for positive change—PolicyLink presents new and innovative solutions to old problems.

Rachel was also able to advance the vision of an urban farming/edible schoolyard/food policy council piece on the presidential platforms, with the help of this report from 4 prominent London “Agrarians” who wrote a report you will find very helpful.

London Farmers Come to Town


Edible Cities and Milwaukee’s First International Urban Agriculture Conference Sparks International Network of Urban Agrarians


Growing Power Fish Farming and Bio-Diversity Link

I am a Board Member of Will Allen’s Growing Power. Howard Hinterthuer, Growng Power’s Development Director, has been developing visions of connecting Growing Power fish farming with bonobo survival and bio-diversity projects in Africa, especially the Congo.

Please help connect us with people naturally inclined to partner in the marriage of urban fish farming and protein availability in Africa, where, when fish are scarce, charismatic animals like bonobos, elephants, lions, and the like, are more aggressively hunted. More fish farmed in Africa, more bio-diversity for the planet!


Top: A few of the 10,000 yellow perch raised at the WATER Institute and released at Growing Power.

Bottom: Two levels of plants and gravel sit atop a fish-filled trench in Growing Power’s fish-farming system. Fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish.

WATER Institute researchers arrived earlier this month at Growing Power, an urban farm on Milwaukee’s north side, with a special delivery: 10,000 young yellow perch.

Born and raised at the WATER Institute’s Great Lakes Aquaculture Center, the three-month old fish will help test the waters, so to speak, of a new indoor fish-farming system that aims to prove itself functional as well as environmentally friendly and affordable.
Developed by Growing Power, the system features an 8,000-gallon trench built into the floor of a greenhouse and topped with two levels of edible plants, including watercress and dandelion greens. Pumps circulate water from the trench to the system’s upper levels, where gravel filters out solids from fish waste and the plants

Images grown in Milwaukee’s urban agriculture movement…

Sweet Red Cherry Tomatoes From Your Harambe Garden

Have you ever wished to venture forth beyond
Your primal ancestral circles
And see what’s up in the village
Across the river from your own?

Have you ever longed for sweet red cherry tomatoes
So fresh and juicy the old world
Protestant or Catholic in you worries that
Eating them might be some kind of carnal sin?

Have you ever felt the joy of sacred fatigue
At the end of a workout in rich soil
Hands in the dirt, good sweat, and
Joyous work laughter moments with friends?

Have you ever imagined that…

Your nation gave rise to a movement
With other nations you are learning to love,

With an eye, strong body, and heart
Fixed on the prize of
Ten thousand backyard city farms.

With 4 chickens (no rooster) each
(Roosters visit from the early rising towns)

Eyes on the prize of…

Ten Thousand community farms and gardens,
In old industrial city neighborhoods,

Transforming themselves into

Planetary villages of grace, beauty, and health?

And the nation chose a leader
Who could understand all this!

Too Much Snow and Rain to Roof 2008

Would you be up for a phone call with myself or Rachel?

Viva, urban agrarians!

Worthy Citizens’ Act of the Day

Send an e-mail to Bill Moyers exhorting him to devote a program to
the idiocy of industrial agriculture and the promise of local, urban, and
schoolyard farms and gardens.

Featuring: Grace Lee Boggs, Will Allen, Amy Goodman, Michael Pollan, Barbara Kinsolver

“Bill Moyers” <moyersonpbs@thirteen.org>

and cc Moyersalert@milwaukeerenaissance.com, por favor
Victory Garden Manifesto

Scroll down a few stories to this vision from the roots of Milwaukee!


Vanity Section

Godsil at 40th Anniversary of Milwaukee Open Housing Marches, Groppi Unity Bridge, Sept. 30, 2007


Godsil with Jimmy & Roselyn After Habitat Roof
Milwaukee 1980s

photo by Keith Knox

photo by Keith Knox

The Earth Poets on the wild side of Riverside Park in early April 2008: (l-r) Jeff Poniewaz, Louisa Loveridge-Gallas, Harvey Taylor, Suzanne Rosenblatt and 2008 guest poet James Godsil.
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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on May 18, 2009

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