“The emerging urban aquaponics effort in Milwaukee…creating an innovation zone linking science, start-ups, and the community. It connects water researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences (the nation’s first) with entrepreneurial urban farms occupying abandoned factories. Aquaponics combines hydroponics, in which plants are grown in water instead of soil, with fish farming, and uses 80% to 90% less water than other food-growing methods. The fish waste makes fertilizer for the plants, whose roots help filter the water for the fish. Milwaukee’s Sweet Water Organics, for example, produces thousands of fish and over 70 kilos of lettuce and other greens every week in large tanks in a former crane factory. The company was launched with angel capital in 2008 and used federal stimulus money to convert the building. Cofounder James Godsil was part of a network that wanted to build a new industry—and also get healthful food to poor neighborhoods.
By mid-2011 proposals were in place for an Aquaponics Innovation Center, backed by Milwaukee’s mayor with analytic support from IBM, to link universities and K–12 schools for technology transfer, skills development, and market building. The vision is to increase the locally grown food supply, demonstrate more efficient water systems, create jobs for urban residents, and generate enterprises with export potential.
Knowledge centers, centers of excellence, incubators, test sites, and innovation zones together can enhance competitiveness by creating seamless platforms connecting innovation and entrepreneurship. Linkages can also be reinforced by larger tax credits for corporate R&D that’s conducted at universities and by reorienting universities to promote entrepreneurship, especially in emerging industries.”
“The Economist” Says Harvard Sees Sweet Water as “What’s Right With America”
For all this gloom, the Review’s gurus argue that, as Bill Clinton said in his first inaugural address, there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. The country has huge strengths, from its world-beating universities to its tolerance of risk-taking. It has a highly diverse market: firms that seek cheap labour can move to Mississippi, where wages are a third lower than those in Massachusetts. Rosabeth Moss Kanter of HBS points to the extraordinary amount of innovation that is going on not just in Silicon Valley but across the country. For example, water researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have linked up with urban farmers who occupy abandoned factories. The fruit of this alliance is firms such as Sweet Water Organics, which produces fish and greens in a former crane factory.
IBM Wants to Help Us Co-Create Aquaponics Innovation Centers, Large and Small
Charlie Price and Sylvia Bernstein’s Sweet Water meet up
Sweet Water Foundation’s Director Emmanuel Pratt Heads Up Aquaponics atChicago State University
Here’s a most recent Sweet Water piece in a “Huffington Post” article put together by a young Detroit media pro that captures the work Sweet Water Foundation Ex. Dir. Emmanuel Pratt, some of which will likely be animating Detroit over the next decade.
And a post-script to the story by Emmanuel Pratt, the featured Sweet Water “partner.”
we are co-creating series of (1) experiments (hueristic) [reinforced through our ongoing work on the ground with the resources available to us and the tools we know how to use] transforming into (2) growing networks drawing people like-minded people together like a magnet, which then become (3) collective communities of practice [partnerships forming locally across cities but also regionally, nationally and globally in hyper-local/glocal networks]; which then evolve into (4) a system of influence as we scale accordingly and organically locally, regionally, nationally, globally in hyper local fashion.
This is what it collectively takes to collectively create the 21st century neighborhood/community.
In this note I am offering links verifying the concept that a “Grand Alliance” is forming around the proposition that aquaponics is quite likely to be a major 21st century technology of great consequence for food security and global healing. With the support of City Governments, universities, IBM, the State Department, U.N., and India’s astonishing intellectual capital in its Central Institutes for Fisheries Education, I propose we we are at the edge of our take off tipping point! The appointment of Sweet Water Foundation’s Emmanuel Pratt to direct the Chicago State University Aquaponics Center, his budding partnership there with Myles Harston, and Mayor Rhom Emanuel’s enthusiastic support for all of this supports the notion that we are at the edge of inclusion on the national stage.
I hope you will consider widening your students’ visions to an American Indian collaboration for starters, with China, Egypt, South Africa, and Brazil soon to follow!
Here is a “Milwaukee Journal” report from the IBM International Team:
The IBM report released today said “Milwaukee could become more economically viable and help the world feed itself through urban agriculture and aquaponics -- water efficient systems that can transform abandoned factories and vacant lots into urban farms that raise fish and vegetables.”
Honey Creek Elementary
Texas Bufkin Christian Academy
SUPAR (School of urban planning and architecture)
Montessori High School
Bay View High School
Whitney Young High School
St Ignatius College Prep
Betty Shabbaz Charter School (grade school, middle, high school)
North Lawndale College prep
KIPP Ascend Chicago
Bowen Environmental Studies High School
Chicago Ag High School
Woodlawn schools (~10 through the woodlawn organization)
East Garfield schools?
Kennedy King Community College
Olive Harvey Community College
Chicago State University
University of Illinois Chicago
University of Chicago
Illinois Institute of Technology
Center for Resilient Cities
African American Womans Business Association
Miss Joe’s Daycare
Architecture for Humanity
Urban Partnership Bank
City Planning Department & sustainability officers (Dan Cassanova, Matt Howard, Rocky Marcoux, Clifton Crump)
Architecture for Humanity
Example of types of current SWF projects:
The MYCELIA Project (both Milwaukee and Chicago).. will include slides and structure/description of the program
NABVETS barrelponics project (Milwaukee)
Training of the teachers with La Causa
Coordinating Urban Earth Week with Kennedy King College
Detroit Start Ups
In Brightmoor, the folks at Eden Urban Farms are teaming up with the nonprofit, City Mission, to install a system in CM’s headquarters on Schoolcraft Road. Edwin Dowell from Eden Urban Farms expects to be harvesting by the end of 2012 and says they’re looking to sell the fish to local restaurants and distribute to neighbors.
As part of his RecoveryPark project, Gary Wozniak is in the final stages of acquiring a former paper manufacturing plant, to house an aquaculture farm (aquaculture, unlike aquaponics, does not involve growing vegetables). Wozniak has a goal of harvesting tilapia by the summer of 2013.
The Nsorma Institute, a K-12, African-Centered, charter school, in collaboration with the East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC) have finished renovations on a space within the school, and are expecting to have the system operational soon.
Zak Rosen is an independent radio producer and reporter. He was most recently staff producer on State of the Re:Union, a public radio documentary show co-distributed by NPR and PRX. Prior to that, Zak produced The Craig Fahle Show, WDET’s daily local affairs program. Rosen is on the steering committee of Detroit: City of Hope. This is his first piece for Model D.
Grade Schools and High Schools
First Lady’s High School, Whitney Young?, Partnership with Sweet Water
Groups also worked hard to learn from others, including Executive Director of Sweet Water Foundation Emmanuel Pratt, Executive Director of Center for Urban Transformation Orrin Williams, Vice President of Chartwells Food Services Bob Bloomer, Purple Asparagus chef and “head spear” Melissa Graham. In total they interviewed 127 people to learn far more than what any one teacher could teach them.
Students in groups of three to seven, with a mean size of four per group brainstormed and became inspired after watching over 88.75 hours of TED.com and Taylor Mali’s Apple A Day. The range of topics that students did varied; some students defining community as being online, encouraged them to turn off electricity in their house and gather their family and friends and play a game together to conserve energy (Thank you Evil Controllers for your help!).
They became inspired by reading Michael Pollan’s Omnivores Dilemma and told over 3282 people about the impacts of their food choices on both their health as well as on the health of the environment. Additionally they cooked 142 homemade meals (many from scratch) to serve to their family. Each meal culturally significant to each student’s ancestry.
Two groups built 19 vertical gardens for businesses, schools, and food shelters that feed the homeless in urban areas where out door space is limited, but window space is abundant to grow fresh culinary herbs and encourage healthier cooking.
Another group is currently working on building their own wind turbine to generate electricity for our schools aquaponics system. The aquaponics systems was used as a resource to teach the importance of water conservation, sustainability, and urban farming. All 30 groups built their own miniature aquaponics system and learned how to take their concepts and ideas and turn them into realities with the help of Google’s Sketchup, Brew and Grow, and Alternative Garden Supplies all-the-while collecting long term data on the conditions their plants are growing in. Of course it wouldn’t be a science class if we didn’t explain the nitrogen cycle and how our fish’s ammonia waste is converted to nitrite and then into nitrate which is used as fertilizer for the arugula, tomatoes, basil, and peppers being grown in their systems within the schools’ greenhouse.
Joyous Youth and Sweet Water Sweet Soil Moments
Sweet Water Foundation Harvests Hard Won Information
Sweet Water Sweet Soil Energy Centers for Every City In Every Nation
Sweet Water, the Farm and the Academy,
Is a museum alive, an evocative destination, and a science lab!
Sweet Water is a high tech, high science,
High craft, high art
Center for safe and delicious food production--
fresh fish and produce, locally sourced!
Sweet Water is a center for hands on education
For young and old.
A center for attracting and energizing
Inventors, innovators, enterprisers…active citizens!
Civic minded celebrators!
Transforming our great industrial cities
Into even more inspiring organic cities.
Every city in every country,
In all of earth’s great civilizations and cultures…
Deserves a Sweet Water!
Sweet Water, Sweet Soil.
To be, once again,
Our children’s birthright,
Our elders security.
Sweet Water, Sweet Soil,
A means of harmony and dignity,
For one human race.
Sweet Water Theorem
FW + BB = SW + SV + SF + WWWW
F is fish
W is water
BB is beneficial bacteria
SW is sweet water
SV are sweet veggies
WWWW are world-wide wisdom workers web
Sweet Water WWWW Holiday Gift Designers
Sweet Water Theorem for Sweet Water Aquaponics Miniatures in Our Schools
for 10% of Great Lakes Schools, i.e. Sweet Water seas, by 2020, starting with Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Toronto
5% of the planet’s schools by 2030, with focus on arid and rainforest nations
Aquaponics Association International Conference Exceeds Fall 2010 Vision
Sweet Water/One World Aquaponics Item Number One: FARM Shop
Here is Charlie Price, the creator, along with Rebecca Bainbridge, describing FARM Shop:
the idea is basically take a farm and put it into a shop in central London… we were given a lease free for a year from Hackney council in london, and basically regenerated a disused building into a hub for urban agriculture, demonstrating aquaponics in the front room, as well as mushrooms in the basement, chickens on the roof, and a polytunnel cafe/cinema in the garden… with offices and meetings rooms on the first and second floor… anyway its a bit of fun, but we’re hoping to connect up a number of FARM:shops with a cetralized commercial hub, and then from the FARM:shops have a number of outreach growers, growing in their homes, greenhouses and gardens…
We are preparing to roll out “Sweet Water Miniatures” asap.
Let us “apple” Sweet Waters! Simple, cheap systems for fresh tasty fish and produce!
Every city, every school,spiritual community, and gifted families can replicate Sweet Water!
A 21 century organic technology industry! For all of God’s children!
Partnering across the planet for:
One World Aquaponics
We also have our eyes on the prize of sparking collaborations among biologists, engineers, MBAs, and worker creatives to develop ancillary industries, e.g. cultivating soldier fly larvae for fish feed, raised bed gardens from compost grown with organic urban waste streams like leaves, wood chips, fruit and veggie wastes, urban agriculture implements like green and hoop houses, cold frames, worm bins, and more.
New organic technologies explored in creative worker owned enterprise experiments, Mondragon inspired!
Toward a UN Conference on Urban Ag/Aquaponics(UAA) by 2013
A good case has been made to the effect that it is quite pragmatic to begin brainstorming
a Milwaukee inspired UN Conference on Urban Ag/Aquaponics.* We were described on Chicago’s NPR, after all, the “Silicon Valley of Urban Ag.” (I wonder if President Obama was at his Chicago home listening to that description?) :)
Asset based sequential development theory suggests we begin with the orchestration of an International Wingspread UAA conference over the next 12 months, using that landing as the platform to bring forth the UN Conference a year or two later.
And as a first step toward that UN UAA Conference, I hope you are up for some on-line brainstorming to orchestrate a Wingspread UAA Conference with Michael Carrier, who has close friends there, myself, and others!
Feel free to forward this invitation. Widen the circle!
Viva, Milwaukee’s Renaissance rooted in our marrying the arts, sciences, and farming!
From: Lazzari, Andrew J <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM
Subject: Thank you Sweetwater!
I am a fourth year teacher at the Professional Learning Institute in Milwaukee. This past semester, I had a student, Robert Banks, who had an interest in aquaponics and aquaponic technology. Having toured and thoroughly enjoyed Sweetwater, Robert asked one of your workers, Jesse Blom, if he would help him complete his goal of constructing his own aquaponics system. Jesse not only assisted Robert with information and help finding supplies, he also allowed Robert to volunteer and set up an internship that allowed Robert to work at Sweetwater throughout the week. Robert was thrilled and enjoyed the experience, as well as the knowledge and information given to him by Jesse and his co-workers. Thanks to the help of Jesse and Sweetwater, Robert successfully completed construction of our school’s first aquaponics system.
However, this experience impacted Robert far beyond his aquaponics system. A student who has struggled with high school, Robert had by far his best semester of high school to date. The D’s and U’s he was earning were replaced by A’s and B’s. He is a far more focused student and I have every reason to believe Jesse and the entire group at Sweetwater played a major role in that turn around. So, I’m writing to say thank you Sweetwater. Thank you for your help with Robert. Thank you for being a socially conscious organization, and most importantly, thank you for remembering the community that you work in. Organizations like Sweetwater benefit the community around them and we are fortunate to have them in Milwaukee. If there is anything I can do to help you in the future, please don’t hesitate to call.
Professional Learning Institute
Universities and Research Institutes
India USA Grant Proposal
United States-India Science and Technology Endowment - Letter of Intent According to published reports of the US State Department, water shortages threaten to reduce the global food supply by 10% in the next 25 years. Growth of agriculture productivity is not keeping up with the population increases in poverty-stricken areas. Acquaponics is a platform to counteract these effects in India. The proposed project will unleash the potential of aquaponics technologies, developed by Sweet Water Organics, Inc. (USA) to millions of Indian citizens, who will be able to produce affordable toxin free nutritious vegetables and fish for consumption and sale. Individual citizens and cooperatives will be empowered to directly address global food security issues.
Our project would communicate the benefits of local production of organic produce and fish, and provide the knowledge and equipment necessary for production. We will provide Indian citizens with an easy means of obtaining aquaponic fish and vegetable growing kits for home and school use and for large scale production in an urban setting. We will connect thousands of producers through mobile phone technology to an internet platform which will facilitate the rapid exchange of market and production data, continuously improving the knowledge base of this sustainable food production technology. Our partner IBM Corporation will provide guidance in developing the technology framework for collaboration and data sharing. This will bring together all the users, including local market vegetable and fish retailers. We will utilize all existing social media tools and the networks of all partners (India and USA) to communicate the information to the target markets.
The students participating the the cargo bike program have 3 designs which they are prepared to present. We wanted to talk about the designs and get some feedback in order to make any necessary revisions before we start building. We would be available Friday after 3:00 to meet. Please let me know if that time is convenient or if there is another time that might work.
Eco-Tourism Initiative Linking Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee
National Association of Black Veterans Center for Veterans Initiatives
This pilot aquaponics miniature project at their headquarters’ carriage house garage is being developed as a first step toward a Neighborhood Aquaponics Initiative, eye on the prize of an aquaponics miniature on every city block within 10 years, and veterans career developed through the transformation of foreclosed homes into eco-habitats, which include weatherization, small is beautiful architecture, raised bed gardens and, for some, aquaponics miniatures. Here are some pictures of this start up project:
IBM awarded Milwaukee a $400,000 “Smart City” Grant in considerable part because of the Water Council’s introducing them to the urban agriculture methodologies of Growing Power and Sweet Water. Here’s a nice Global Compact City story on this award, which will bring a team of about 5 IBM creatives to Sweet Water to provide “instrumentation” for the global diffusion of aquaponics methodlogies.