Growing Power on Milwaukee Renaissance

Experts Say Gardening Can Fight Childhood Obesity and Other Health Issues

CONTACT: Professor Neil Hamilton, 515–271–2065,;
Lisa Lacher, 515–271–3119,

Working under the notion that a garden in every school can combat some of the serious health problems facing children, the nation’s most influential garden policy experts will descend on Des Moines next month for the first-ever summit to discuss the social, environmental and health benefits of gardening.

Chief on the experts’ agenda is the establishment of a set of Principles for Garden Policy, which they hope will help people and public officials see gardening as a means to create a better lifestyle for themselves and their communities.

“Gardening is such a powerful tool, because it offers people so many benefits,” says summit organizer Neil D. Hamilton, director of Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center and a member of the board of the National Gardening Association. “Everyone is equal when gardening. It provides people with common way of communication and can be an entry point to many different civic discussions.”

Other topics of interest during the Sept. 7–8 conference include a presentation from the Center for Disease Control on “Gardening’s Contribution to America’s Wellness,” and discussions on “Gardens, Prisons and Healing People,” “Urban Gardens: Beautifying Communities, Feeding People and Educating the Public” and “The Future of Gardening in American Society.” There will also be a session on “School Gardens and Educating Children.”

“Increasing plant base-education in America’s schools could have a profound effect on the health of the nation. By learning about plants and food production, students will achieve a greater understanding of the nutritional value of fresh produce. School gardens may also boost students’ consumption of vegetables and promote healthier eating. By taking care of a garden, they will learn to enjoy eating the fruits of their labor,” says Hamilton.

According to Hamilton, plant-based education, offers students more than just a healthy lifestyle. Teachers can easily incorporate the gardens into math, science and social studies lessons. “Gardening offers active and engaging connections to academics. You can easily see a teacher planning a social studies lesson on the history of food and where it originally came from. Gardening also gives kids a sense of pride in their accomplishments and provides them with a way to improve and give back to the community,” he says.

more at Plant-based Education

The Big Growth Potential of Urban Agriculture
By Amanda McCuaig
Published: September 12, 2006

The city — our beautiful construct of industry, services and the arts — must be reconceptualized. Where it was previously a place where citizens could live entire lives without realizing that food comes from somewhere other than a grocery store, it must become a place where we integrate agricultural knowledge and urban life. More at…

Tour information

These are magical tours that inspire new visions of city living. See responses below.

Here are stories about the trailblazers of the organic community food movement, USA, who have visited Growing Power and taken a Will Allen tour.

Growing Power Projects in Chicago: Grant Park; Kendall College?; Cabrini Green? And More!?

This is a place to grow the Growing Power Haiti Project

Pictures from May 2006 Growing Power Board Retreat

Donors to the Growing Power Worm Condo

Learn about the Growing Power Market Basket Program

About 40 items, including fruits, vegetables, and potatoes, for $13.

Great Lakes Kitchen Gardens

New York Time article about Greenmarkets in the Big Apple

“Mr. Van Ooyen said that this summerís Greenmarket explosion is in part a response to two trends: an increasing demand for locally grown food and an appreciation for what a farmersí market does for a neighborhood. The civic minded believe a market will improve the quality of life. Public health officials think it will promote healthier eating. Developers hope having a Greenmarket nearby will draw investors to a new project.”

But opening a Greenmarket and getting enough traffic to support it are not easy, Ms. Langholtz said.\\?ex=1153972800&en=959dee0613d67df2&ei=5070&emc=eta1

Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture Case Studies, Chicago and Toronto

Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center CSA Event

Grace Lee Boggs Report on Growing Power
Letter Inviting Mayor Barrett to Tour
Letter to Fast Company Business Magazine
Milwaukee Urban Farming On Line
City Farming and Nonviolent Peace Force

Read the “Diary of a worm’s life in a home ‘Growing Power’ box”

Growing Power and the Pabst Hill/City/Village/Complex


In back of my house
thereís a vegetable garden,
recycled from a parking lot;
my sister, whoís also
my next-door neighbor,
has a fantastic array of flowers.

Since Iím surrounded by
blooms and greenery,
itís natural for me to see
my life as, among other things,
a garden:
thereís a compost heap
near the honeysuckle,
digesting my experiences,
turning even the rotten ones
into food for the ground;
there are poems germinating
from little seeds of inspiration,
young plants just sprouting,
and others that are mature,
ripe for harvest.

This being my garden,
of course it has some wild plants,
otherwise known as weeds,
which especially interest me;
and even on a winter night,
when the gardenís hibernating,
barely raising the thick white blanket
with its slow, rhythmic breathing,
thereís always something going on:


Harvey Taylor
January 2006

2005 In Review

Multiple Models

Milwaukee’s Finest Talk About Growing Power
Attend a Will Allen Growing Power Tour at the Growing Power City Farm
55th & Silver Spring

Bill Sell on January 17, 2006, Will Allen Growing Power Tour:
“This tour is an eye opener. You will see lettuce and spinach and basil growing out of doors this winter. And many other wonders.” — Bill

To: <>
From: William Sell <>
Subject: Re: [bay_view_matters] worms

Dear neighbors

When I think of Will Allen, this quote from Proverbs comes to mind:

“Go to the ant, you sluggard. Consider her ways, and be wise; “

Will Allen is the ant, farming his herds of thousands, those “larger”
beasts we call worms. Will is smart, productive, obsessed and kind, and a
more addicted workaholic I have not met.

One day someone will win a Nobel or a MacArthur grant for agricultural
research on the lowly worm. Will has created technologies that have
escaped fish farmers and organic farmers both. He has dedicated his life
to problems of hunger. The DNR is going to run an experiment on his urban
farm to extract methane from waste. His technology is being considered for
Africa (yes, native worms, of course!!!!) This winter he has greens
growing heated only by the compost in the beds they sit in.

One of his classes demonstrates how you take fresh waste and stack it for a
time; the organic matter will generate heat which kills all bacteria and
larvae. When he turned a forkful of Alterra and Miller (beer) “waste” it
exuded steam. Then it is cooled and fed to worms with no danger of flies.

He is our neighbor and deserves our moral, financial, and just plain common
sense support. Grow, Will, Grow!!!!!

Take a tour, take a class with Will. You will learn more than you can fit
into a newspaper.

Bill Sell

Thank you for making me aware of Will Allen’s Growing Power tour. I’ve seldom been so impressed in such a short period of time!

What Will is accomplishing through Growing Power is simply miraculous. Few individuals have such a thorough knowledge of complex ecological systems. Yet, he has the ability to impart this knowledge in the most basic and fundamental forms. He is returning to the tried and true agricultural methods of our ancestors, which sadly have gone by the wayside in our technological society.

It’s hard to put into words what I witnessed yesterday…the sights, smells, tastes and touches of the highly productive ecosystem system in place at Growing Power. One truly needs to experience what Will has to offer to appreciate what can be done to produce bountiful crops, inexpensively in a minimal amount of space. He has demonstrated how this can be accomplished without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. To witness how the earthworms turn compost and refuse into nutrient rich compounds and compost teas was to see nature in balance and harmony…no waste, no harmful byproducts, only nature’s bounty. How much better off we could be if these simply concepts were more

Will Allen and Growing Power are proof that abundant food supplies can be grown naturally and inexpensively just about anywhere.

I am looking forward to learning more from Will and exploring ways to educate and involve our students in “Growing Power” projects of our own.

In reflecting on what I experienced at Growing Power I’ve come to realize that Will Allen is growing more than flowers and produce…he’s growing hope for the future.

—David Neveranta, 8th St School

Growing Power

Will Allen is a down-home visionary,
working with soil, sunshine, water, and seeds
to grow quality food for the community:
remember, we are what we eat!

Growing Power, growing by the hour…
uh-huh, growing vegetables and flowers…
I say, Hooray! for Growing Power:
www growingpower dot org

Will used to play pro basketball…
now he keeps busy feeding us all,
organic vegetables free from pesticides,
food you can serve your family with pride!

Growing Power, growing by the hour…
uh-huh, growing vegetables and flowers…
I say, Hooray! for Growing Power:
www growingpower dot org

Area restaurants donate kitchen waste,
and likewise, so do some breweries…
it’s all fed to worms in compost bins,
who turn it into the best soil you’ve ever seen!

You can spread that compost on vacant lots,
‘til it’s a foot and a half deep, then stop,
and put the plants directly in:
presto! instant Garden of Eden!

There’s much more to say about various things,
for example, aquaculture is amazing,
so come on out to 55th and Silver Spring,
on the Northwest side of beautiful Milwaukee.

Growing Power, growing by the hour…
uh-huh, growing vegetables and flowers…
I say, Hooray! for Growing Power:
www growingpower dot org

Copyright © Harvey Taylor 2005. All rights reserved.

Letters to Advance the Cause

Community Healing Gardens

Here’s a link Tom Chaudoir sent in:

Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on November 21, 2006

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