Here’s the official web site of the Sweet Water Foundation.
Spring 2013 Accomplishment Summary
Sweet Water Foundation has been and continues to be recognized by the US Dpmnt of Agriculture and now the US Dpmnt of Energy for the educational/curricular/outreach work that we do with the 50+ schools we have worked with across 3 cities. Many sites have and continue to feature our work such as this http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/urban-farm-news/2012/08/10/sweet-water-foundation-makes-a-difference.aspx
Sweet Water Foundation is a key partner in the ACTS Housing project currently underway in Milwaukee offering solutions to address the dire situation of foreclosure in Milwaukee. http://www.milwaukeenns.org/2012/12/24/washington-park-partners-offers-doorbuster-on-foreclosed-homes/
This pilot project is being watched closely by Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and PNC bank for the potential to translate to other cities.
Sweet Water Foundation is highly recognized and respected in cities like Chicago as the work we did in Milwaukee inspired Chicago State University to appoint me as Director of the Chicago State Aquaponics Center, which also highlights the ongoing educational and outreach work Sweet Water Foundation does. The center is partially funded by both the USDA and the US Department of Education as a potential national model (also inspired by the IBM Smarter Cities Milwuakee report).
Building upon the work at the CSU Aquaponics Center, Sweet Water Foundation was just recognized for our efforts in Chicago as I was one of 5 individuals featured as one of 5 green award winners in Chicago (http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/April-2013/2013-Green-Awards-Emmanuel-Pratt/)
Sweet Water Foundation has been funded by the USDA and is being recruited by NASA for the outreach and educational work we do resulting from our Midwest Aquaponics Expertise Development (http://citiesprogramme.com/cities/americas/usa/milwaukee/maintaining-and-improving-water-quality/water-cleaning-and-reuse/midwest-aquaponics-expertise-development-initiative-maedi).
Sweet Water Foundation’s Seed to Table Project Pilot initiative has been recognized and awarded for two years with promise of future funding by Newmans Own Foundation under our name
Tomorrow I have a conversation with several media companies interested in featuring Sweet Water Foundation as part of several national Toyota Green initiatives (http://www.toyotagreen.com/)
For the past three days, Sweet Water Foundation has been highlighted in the American Planning Association national conference for the educational and outreach we do ‘growing neighborhoods’. It is worth noting that city planners all seem to see the potential translation of the model we have developed on the Cobbs properties and the greater implications it presents for the entire Rust Belt but also internationally.
After being asked to be featured at the National Science Foundation funded talk regarding ‘Challenges in Vertical Farming (http://challengesinverticalfarming.org/), Sweet Water Foundation has also been featured in a Global publication http://www.asabe.org/publications/resource-magazine.aspx as part of a series of upcoming publications along the theme of Controlled Environment Agriculture. The magazine features trends, new technologies, issues, and applications related to agricultural and biological engineering.
Tomorrow I will be leading a mobile tour of a group across our network of sites (see flyer attached and this link:
For the past 3 years, Sweet Water Foundation currently has had ongoing partnerships and is receiving increased interest with every major University in both Milwaukee and Chicago along with UW Madison for collaboration. All of these universities continue to get grant funding leveraging us as their partner. They also continue to publish papers in support of our work and impact. This does not include the national interest from Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth (many of which our team has either graduated from or worked with directly).
Sweet Water Foundation has been a key partner supporting the Organic Therapy Project with the Veterans in Milwaukee. Such was featured in the TEDx talk by Howard Hinterthuer of the Center for Veterans Issues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObUoupoeJfw) as has since been discussed as a potentially national model.
Sweet Water Foundation was recently requested to be a listed partner in the USAID global submission with several partners in India and Kenya with which we have worked over the years as part of our Growing Networks initiative (http://growingnetworks.weebly.com/). Our submission was just received and we await response soon.
Sweet Water Foundations AQUAPONS program (funded and supported by MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations) will be featured in the summer launch of the Chicago Summer of Learning program as part of a national platform to introduce new models of education.
(http://chicagosummeroflearning.org/ | http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2013/january_2013/mayor_emanuel_announcessummeroflearninginitiative.html)
From my perspective, the recent evolution of aquaponics/urban ag is somewhere between the evolution of the car with Henry Ford (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ford) meets Apple with Steve Jobs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs).
Early Sweet Water Story in Pictures and Prose
by James J. Godsil, ABD, co-founder Sweet Water Organics, Sweet Water Foundation President, Sweet Water Foundation
Sweet Water is an emergent, hybrid enterprise experiment, a social business and innovation center, advancing the commercialisation, democratisation, and globalisation of aquaponics, an eco system method of food production. But Sweet Water offers more than aquaponics produce and protein production. Sweet Water is a science lab; a school; an eco-tourist destination; an artist and tinkerer’s workshop; a community and new enterprise center. Sweet Water aspires to grow urban farmers, green tech start-up businesses, beloved communities, and… organic cities!
The Stars Aligning for Great Aquaponics Experiment
A sequence of events inspired me to team up with a web of partners to launch the Sweet Water experiment. The first happened in 2005 when young citizens at a public meetingin Riverwest Milwaukee, the most successful “integrating neighbourhood” in Wisconsin, challenged the community to constructively respond to an incident of “black on white, straight on gay” violence rather than pound drums of race rage. This inspired my deciding to check out Will Allen’s Growing Power, which I had heard involved an African American ex-pro basketball player harvesting urban “waste streams” to grow rich soil for use by teams of urban youth transforming vacant lots into community gardens. I was “seized as if by a madness” by the Growing Power “magic” and decided to intensely promote Will’s teams through the MilwaukeeRenaissance.com wiki platform. My work led to a front page story about Will in the local alternative weekly, “The Shepherd Express,” and a position on the Growing Power Board.
I focused deeply on the Growing Power model, both its food production systems, especially vermiculture and aquaponics, and its methods for “growing farmers and communities” with a hybrid model, aimed both at multiple income streams through standard market sales as well as funds from workshops, tours, foundations, donors, and public private partnerships.
A number of other developments were critical in setting the stage for the Sweet Water aquaponics experiment. In the spring of 2006 Michael Macy, a State Department cultural attache and new friend through our mutual interest in the poetry of Rumi, lent great luster to Milwaukee’s urban agriculture govement/industry when he orchestrated a London visit by Will Allen to address the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce as well as a visit by an eminent group of London “agrarians” in the Fall of 2007. The “London Farmers” then published a now classic report, “Edible Cities” including Growing Power projects in Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York. The Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network(MUANbecame both an inspirational/educational coalition as well as a grass roots political force. In March, 2008, MUAN organized a highly successful international urban agriculture conference at which the head of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development, Rocky Marcoux, proudly proclaimed Milwaukee as the centre of American urban agriculture. A month later urban agriculture made front page news in Milwaukee, for the first time, with a report on a partnership between Fred Binkowski of the Great Lakes Water Institute and Growing Power to raise 10,000 perch in Will’s aquaponic system. Jon Bales’ Urban Aquaculture Centre connected Will to Binkowski, as well as drumming up community awareness of urban fish farming’s possibilities. In September 2008 Will won the coveted MacArthur genius award. My daughter Rachel Godsil, a law professor and convener of the Obama Urban Policy Team, introduced me to some of that group’s leadership, increasingly intrigued, as was First Lady Michelle Obama, by the flaws of oil based, unhealthy, and polluting industrial agriculture system. My business partner Josh Fraundorf led our roof system restoration company to a $40,000 profit for Sweet Water investing. His friend and business associate offered very low rent, $15,000 in capital, and the promise of another $20,000 in sweat equity as a partner in Sweet Water. Emmanuel Pratt, a doctoral candidate in Columbia University’s Planning and Architecture Department, film maker, and close associate of Will Allen, signed on the help out with the social business,
democratizing, and globalizing vision piece; Josh and Steve to focus on the commercial upscaling.
A “grand alliance” was manifesting! The stage was surely set for an impressive commencement on December 31, 2008, when the Mayor’s City Development chief, Rocky Marcoux, along with Will Allen, pledged to provide support for what has become an audacious experiment called Sweet Water.
Sweet Water Vision Shared at Wild Flower Bakery
The group proceeded from meetings at Wild Flower bakery to the new Sweet Water site. The building felt colder than it was outside.
ADD GODSIL picture
We believed aquaponics to be quite possibly humanity’s most earth friendly and prolific method of food production, a major response to the challenge of food security, global warming, and the transition from industrial cities of consumptive capitalism to organic cities with cultures of respect and care, for all life forms, in harmony with nature. We opened our story to the public and the media from the get go, despite the possibility of substantial mistakes. Zorba the Greek was present in my mind’s eye, as was this mantra: “You wished it stranger. You left the path of your own free will. And you are lost if you believe in danger.” The cause was important enough that it had to be tried. And, we’re still trying!
Continued at Sweet Water Chapter in CPUL Book?
Click on to learn about Sweet Water collaborators thoughts about possibilities.
Sweet Water ReciproCity Art Science Collaboration
This from some university partners, written by Nicolas Lampert in conversation with Michael Carriere, of UWM and MSOE respectively.
Michael Carriere and I are in the early stages of housing an experimental cultural and independent media center inside Sweet Water Organics - a space for artists, designers, architects, scholars, filmmakers, scientists (natural and social), urban farmers, and others to meet, present work, collaborate on new work, and stage exhibitions. This space would be a hub space for art, ecology, and community engagement, and it would mirror the goals of the Sweet Water Foundation in teaching and exposing the ideas of urban sustainability, aquaponics, and the visionary idea of re-imagining Milwaukee as organic city – transforming the rust belt into a green belt.
Why Sweet Water? Sweet Water is an epicenter for creativity and is a visionary project that inspires people throughout the world. Sweet Water transforms the city and it transforms lives. Sweet Water is already a hub space for those interested in ecology and urban agriculture. It is not necessarily a destination site for artists, musicians, writers, historians, scholars, and others in the arts and humanities.
This is a lost opportunity.
An experimental art space that focuses on social practices inside Sweet Water would change this and would bring local, national, and international artists and scholars to Sweet Water. It would allow artists and scholars to network with the Sweet Water staff, to contribute their talents, and to tell the world about the work going on at Sweet Water and the urban agriculture movement in Milwaukee and the region. It would signify that Sweet Water supports artists and scholars, and it would signify that artists and scholars support Sweet Water.
The positive ripple effect of this type of collaboration and relationship are easy to imagine. First and foremost collaboration and the sharing of ideas would take place between artists and urban farmers. Second, artists and scholars would spread the gospel of Sweet Water and aquaponics to the world through their networks and through cultural work (i.e. writing about, visualizing, and filming this type of work). In essence, artists would be the creative PR (public relations) people for aquaponics. Artists would provide the independent media, the cultural analysis, and the creativity to imagine new possibilities.
Sweet Water has already given their blessings to having Michael and I establish an experimental art space inside their building. To move forward we need to raise funds for building materials, lights, a digital projector, and video equipment.
Click here to download
Harvesting Sweet Water For Milwaukee’s Nobel Prize
Methinks we are at the edge of an intense acceleration of our Urban AgAquaponics breakthrough that finds me hoping for some on-line brainstorming and conference calls with our team and a widening circle of partners including Joe Recchie, Dean Amhaus, Julia Taylor, and some of the folks perhaps listed below.
Hoping this might serve as a start for a collaboration with a variety of “partners” advancing the Sweet Water experiment and the Reid Yards/Water Technology Park.
Sweet Water/Milwaukee Global Water Technology Park Collaborator Candidates
This starting list of Milwaukee/Sweet Water “partners” are people of considerable renown and resource conduit possibility:
(l) Dickson Despommier, vertical farm popularizer;
(2) Dr. Nikolaus Correll, roboticist wanting to merge projects for sensor resourced miniatures for family and schools;
(3) Dr. Gene Giacomelli of NASA Controlled Environmental Agriculture(CEA) career;
(4) Zurich’s Roman Gaus of portable container box fame;
(5) Participants in the “Milwaukee Aquaponics R&D Consortium,” including Drs. Marklin of MU and his team, Traum, Carriere, Trussoni, Anderson, et al of MSOE, He, Keane, Unakpa, and others from UWM;
(6) Shedd Aquarium and other Chicago partners Emmanuel can bring in;
(7) Aquaponics Miniature trailblazers from across the planet, including the Berkeley team raising serious dollars crowd-sourcing.
Emmanuel has won the profound respect of Dickson Despommier, who orchestrated a Sweet Water presentation at a recent NSF conference. A net enhanced Sweet Water and Milwaukee would have no trouble winning Despommier’s participation in the Reid Yards unfolding. He has already committed to monthly conference calls of 20 minutes to mindstorm collaborations.
NASA’s Dr. Gene Giacomelli has invited Emmanuel to submit an action plan at a major vertical farming conference in 2013.
Zurich’s Roman Gaus of TED Talk fame and Zurich breakthroughs, would gladly join in with his portable aquaponics farm.
Shajan John has a good likelihood of winning some kind of participation by the 9 Billion Per Annum Indian ITC e-Choupal projects.
General Manager (New Initiatives)
ITC- Agri Business Div
I hope our “Great Lakes Aquaponics Consortium” that now finds Dr. Marklin of MU with good chances for a $100,000 grant, with $5,000 for Sweet Water consulting might find a field in the rich territory Dean Amhaus and Julia Taylor are co-design/orchestrating.
And connect at this project with the designers of this system, a high end miniature that will compliment and support the basic miniature we will are developing.
to be continued
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Discover The Window Farm Movement!
This is fantastic!
Transforming Sweet Water Great Farm: A Community Worker Co-op Experiment
Solidarity Economics Experiments
5% of our nation’s schools with digital or miniature aquaponics experiments in 5 years, 20% by 2020.
Nice Short Audio Summation of Sweet Water’s “Theory Framework”
Sweet Water Resources And Domains Advancing Ecological Cities
Innovation Resources for Core Initiatives
Biomimicry Informatics 1.0
“Sweet Water Nutrients For Ecological City Co-Creation”
Innovations inspired by nature
Information organizing architecture
Natural, social, cultural capital
Ecological & STEM Education 1.0
Art & Science
Science & Spirituality
Ego & Eco, Commerce and Community
Participatory Economics 1.0
Open Source As Much As Possible
Hybrid Enterprise, e.g. Corporation, Cooperative, Non Profit
Multiple Bottom Lines, Multiple Value Streams
Collaboration of Civilizations: India Start Up 1.0
Eco Change Work Learn Tours
Digital Information Exchange
Globally Minded Leadership Development
Badge Program 1.0
Foreclosed Homes Growing Neighborhoods 1.0
India Collaborations 1.0
Teacher Training l.0
Eco Tourism 1.0
School Installations 1.0
Inter University Inter Disciplinary Experiments
Intern and Volunteer Development
Veterans Healing Gardens
Radio Show W. 3rd Graders on School Neighborhood Aquaponics Miniatures
Miniature aquaponics systems costing about $100 can be “community garden prototypes” if the schools, like Chicago’s Jackie Robinson and Wells Prep, wish to connect with the neighborhood.
Chicago 3rd graders from Jackie Robinson and 6th graders from Wells Prep interviewed about their classroom aquaponics adventures, as are teachers and neighborhood elders.
Clicking on this place
at that site, click at this spot first
Click here to start download from sendspace
Many South Side Chicago schools’ experimenting with aquaponics as way to bring families into schools, schools into neighborhoods, and STEM hands-on, work based education for our learners, young and old.
Or this might work as well:
Here’s upgraded web page for the Sweet Water Foundation.
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Recent Sweet Water Organics Sweet Water Hybrid News Flows
Chinese Delegation Visit
Purple Cow’s Sandy Syburg at
Great Table of Bay View Alterra,
soon to house some SW gatherings
and book club on Science and
Spirituality. Sandy gearing up to
partner with Sweet Water Mahattil
India project experiments.
Lovely garden from the Joan of Arc and
Shanty Irish compost experiment. Story
about this soon to appear.
Sweet Water Bee World. Story someday.
Emma Kraco and preying mantus
Michael Carriere, Shelly McClone
and children arriving to start the
Heartland House Sweet Water
Aquaponics. More to come!
Day One of Community Roofing, Summer
1974, evolved into the company Josh
Fraundorf led to a 2008 profit of $40,000,
the start-up capital for Sweet Water Organics.
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Sweet Water “Partners” Listed
These are some of the organizations that have been collaborating with Sweet
Water, i.e. Sweet Water Organics(SWO), “The Farm,” and the Sweet Water Foundation(SWF), “The Academy.”
Community Christian Alternative Academy?
Kwame Nkrumah Academy?
Betty Shabazz International Charter School?
Jackie Robinson Elementary School?
Wells Prep Middle School?
Phillips Academy High School?
Dunbar High School?
Center For New Horizons?
Enrico Fermi Elementary?
Roseland Community Development Corporation?
Lindblom Math and Science Academy?
Wendell Phillips Academy?
Richards Career Academy?
Texas Bufkin Christian Academy?
La Causa charter school?
Rufus King High School?
Bay View Middle and High School?
Riverside University High School?
Grandview High School?
Centro Hispano High School?
Fernwood Montessori School?
Milwaukee Vincent High School?
School for Career and Technical Education?
Morse-Marshall High School?
Shorewood New Horizons?
ACTS Housing Urban Ecology Center?
national association of black veterans (milwaukee | chicago)
center for veterans issues (milwaukee)
St. Albert’s College’s Aquaculture ( Kerala, India)
Chicago State University
School of Freshwater Sciences
Florida International University (FIU)
Kentucky State University (Aquaculture)
Parsons (New School NYC)
UN Global Cities Compact
IBM (Smarter Cities)
Sylvia Bernstein (?)
Aquaponics UK (?)
Walnut Way (milwaukee)
Exploring the “Value Metrics” of Social Enterprises like Sweet Water
There are many kinds of values created by social enterprises like Sweet Water that are worthy of brainstorming and careful, systematic analysis. Most of them will not show up on the simple dollars and cents “bottom line.” Nor will they necessarily yield large numbers of “family supporting” jobs in the formal economy. But there are many kinds of value creating activities we call “work” that substantially improve the quality of a family, community, and nation’s lives. There is much work that reduces the amount of money spent and resources consumed. And there is much work that creates or conserves social, cultural, spiritual, and natural “capital” that must be done asap.
There are many doctoral dissertations, MA theses, and senior research projects around the corner that will explore this complex array of issues. This platform is designed to spark and connect that research with on-the ground value creating enterprise premised on the notion that mindful work always produces great value, and a cautionary notion that some jobs lead to poverty for the job holder, community, nation, and planet. This is a complex matter, like nature and society!
A platform to explore Social Enterprise Value Metrics with our partners across our planet in need of healing and a higher level of human nature collaborations.
Friedman Jan. 12, 2013
Another way is through “co-opetition.” There are many examples here of companies trying to kill each other in one market but working together in another — to better serve customers. Microsoft Windows runs on Apple Macs because customers wanted it. When Apple Maps failed, Apple asked its users to download Google Maps. Finally, within firms, it is understood that to thrive in today’s market, solve the biggest problems and serve customers, you need to assemble the best minds from anywhere in the world.
“When you obsess about the customer, you end up defeating your competition as a byproduct,” said K.R. Sridhar, the founder of Bloom Energy, a fuel-cell company. “When you are just obsessed about the competition, you end up killing yourself” as a byproduct — “because you are not focused on the customer.”
World Bank & Al Sharpton’s Grandma: Life’s About Getting Back Up!
My favorite article in 2012.
Seven years ago, the consulting group Bridgespan presented details on the performance of several prestigious nonprofits. Nearly all of them had one thing in common — failure. These organizations had a point at which they struggled financially, stalled on a project or experienced high rates of attrition. “Everyone in the room had the same response, which was relief,” said Paul Schmitz, the chief executive of the nonprofit Public Allies. “It was good to see that I wasn’t the only one struggling with these things.”
Transparency about what works and what doesn’t is crucial to eventual success
Here’s latest on this theme: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/learning-from-research-failure.html?hp&_r=0
Then this one.
As in any field, people who work in nonprofits, social enterprises, development agencies, and foundations experience failure on a regular basis. People make hiring and budgeting mistakes. Shipments arrive late, or not at all. Organizations allow their missions to drift. Technologies prove inappropriate for the communities meant to benefit from them.
We are working in some of the most difficult places in the world,” said Wayan Vota, a technology and information expert who organized the third annual FAILFaire conference two weeks ago in Washington. “But failure is literally the f-word’ in development.” The idea behind this FAILFaire, which was hosted by the World Bank, was to highlight, even celebrate, instances of failure in the field of social change as an integral part of the process of innovation and, ultimately, progress.
Some nonprofits are tempted to hide their failures, partially for fear of donor reaction. But most acknowledge that transparency about what works and what doesn’t is crucial to their eventual success.
Not talking about [failure] is the worst thing you can do, as it means you’re not helping the rest of the organization learn from it,” said Jill Vialet, who runs the nonprofit Playworks. “It gives [the failure] a power and a weight that’s not only unnecessary, but damaging.” Vialet instead supports failing “out loud” and “forward,” meaning that the people involved in the failure should speak about it openly and work to prevent history from repeating itself.
This idea is already ingrained in the cultures of some for-profit industries. “In Silicon Valley, failure is a rite of passage,” said Vota. “If you’re not failing, you’re not considered to be innovating enough.” Silicon Valley investors, in turn, regularly reward entrepreneurs’ risk-taking behavior, though they know the venture may fail and they will lose their capital.
The ironic thing,” said Schmitz of Public Allies, “is that you have donors who took major risks in their own fortunes, but are very risk averse when giving to charity. People rightly want their dollars to have the maximum impact, but don’t apply the same logic model that they give to their private sector investment.” As a result, he said, many social change groups innovate less often and less wildly.
Individuals within the social change community have recognized the value in emulating Silicon Valley’s culture of calculated risk-taking, and are actively working to de-stigmatize failure. FAILFaire is one example. At the event, Aleem Walji, the director of the World Bank Institute’s Innovation Labs, spoke of a failed collaboration with Google, in which the World Bank would have provided Google’s Map Maker program to governments and multilaterals to help with disaster preparedness. However, development experts lambasted the World Bank for supporting Google’s closed platform, which would not allow users free access to the map data they would create. A month after the partnership was announced, the bank changed
Positive Deviance Also Helpful
Fish Farming In The Media
Christopher Alexander’s Nature of Order and Sweet Water Centers
Sweet Water Centers
Centers sparking centers!
Centers helping one another define larger wholes
Entangled organic wholes without boundaries
Parts mutually entangled in wholes
Wholeness beneath the surface determining all
Density and intensity of centers formed in built structures
Universal mutual entanglement of world’s organisms
Centers touching souls deeply
Centers inspiring coherent action, effortless and free
Space that’s alive!
Space imparting free spirits!
Space deeply, robustly functional
The deep, functional nature of the centers
is the source of the beauty and the force of a building
Centers providing initiation to life’s flows,
exchanges, and high feelings.
Deep roots and subtle shoots.
Become an “Ecological Center!”
Many kinds of ecological centers to create.
I hope to inspire you to consider becoming
A Sweet Water center!
It does not matter if you are rich or poor in dollars.
What matters if you harvest your wealth in spiritual,
social, and cultural capital.
If you take a 30 year time frame, like I do, and frame
your approach in ABC Development theory, like me,
you will have a great adventure exploring the possibilities
of aquaponics with wonderful people also attracted to
this possible solution to a lot that ails us.
I hope to inspire you to become…
An Aquaponics Center
To become an aquaponics center, sparking other centers,
involves, at the outset, your taking on the role of sharing the resources
of the Sweet Water Badge Program , i.e. free
digital training and modestly feed credentialing in occasional
e-mail updates for your friends and educators.
ABC Development And YOUR Sweet Water Center
Start with your attention and your vision.
Win time to giving attention to crafting your vision
And defining your assets—social capital, culture capital,
Spiritual capital, and the green dollar capital that will arrive.
Begin with small steps, read some of the Sweet Water stories,
And those of other aquaponics experimenters.
Share your stories! No matter how modest at the outset.
Story sharing is what we do!
Choose your founding circle of partners and “centers,”
Commingle your centers with other complimentary centers.
Imagine a Sweet Water network of centers,
Sharing visions and experiments.
Do lots of this work over food and drink,
In places that make people feel good and happy.
Take your time, knowing anything of real value
Takes 10,000,000 steps, just to get started.
Here are a group of Sweet Water “stories” from people we’ve worked with
that attest to the inspiration an aquaponics center can provide:
Informal Site Before Fall, 2012
Sweet Water Educational Initiatives
- La Causa
- Bay View Special Ed
- Loyala Academy
- Texas Bufkin Academy
- Shorewood New Horizon School
- White Fish Bay Earth Club
- Kennedy King College
- Chicago State University(masters students in geography, mathematics, sociology, bioligical sciences, etc)
- Urban Food for Urban Schools
- Carriere’s groups from MSOE, MIAD, Marquette,UWM architecture/art department/and numerous other departments
- UW Madison
- University of Chicago
- Columbia College’s photo majors
- IIT’s landscape and architecture studios
- Depaul Univ
- UIC public health
- Univ of Illinois for biological sciences
- Northwestern and Kellogg School of Business
- Harvard Business School
- Columbia Univ (architecture and planning)
- Cornell Univ
- Parsons New School
- Florida Institute of Technology
- St. Mary’s & Notre Dame
- Berkely (via Chaya)
- Kerela India students/faculty
- Universities of Mumbia and Kolkata
- EARTH University Costa Rica
- a master’s student from Sweden
- teachers we hosted from Japan
- thesis student in Univ of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg
- masters in architecture design studio in Instanbul
- several students who have reached out to us from Ethiopia/Russia/Poland/Serbia, ,
Executive Director’s Reports
Exec. Dir. Report 8/3/10
TELLING OUR STORY
This past month has shown a significant up-tick in Sweet Water tours,
both regularly scheduled and ad hoc. The Wednesday evening and Sunday
Noon tours are building our list of friends and gradually increasing
our cadre of volunteers, now numbering sixty-eight on our contact
list. Please tap-in to these people whenever you can.
Additionally, over the past month we have been visited by (to name a
• Congressman Cleaver of Kansas and his retinue
• Group of “At Risk” seventeen-year-olds from Racine
• Don Neureuther, Exec. Dir. Team Lift
• Pamela Schwalbach and Karen Puhl, Simple Hope
• Pamela M. Proulx-Curry, Ex. Dir. Wisconsin Campus Compact
• Michael Mervis, Susan Lloyd, Erin Frederick, Zilber Foundation
• MIAD Group (paid)
• Victor A. Mancinelli, CTB’s president and chief
executive officer and Tom Lippi, CTB, Inc. VP Business and Technology
I also met with Rafael Acevedo of the Milwaukee Foundation at another
Wisconsin African American Women’s Association:
July 20th we in-filled the garden with twelve tomato plants and did a
little selective weeding. Everything looked good.
CVI has an opportunity to lease Lynden Hill, a City of Milwaukee Park
and arboretum. CVI has asked that we participate in a design process
for the park. I have transmitted our thoughts about a design “program” to
Michael Carriere of MSOE who is working with MSOE and UWM-SARUP. It
may be an appropriate “senior project.” We are also
working toward an Aug. 18th meeting with neighborhood leaders.
La Causa has asked us to build a “hoop house” greenhouse
across the alley from the school on a vacant lot they own. I
understand that preparatory site work is underway. We learned from the
city that the international building code for membrane structures will
VGI, White Oak Farm
I met with Gretchen Mead and Sandy Syburg at the UEC on the night of
the massive rainstorm to talk about Milwaukee Community Composting.
Their focus is on creating composting centers throughout the city as a
way to avoid transporting compost-able materials long distances. I
told them Sweet Water agrees with this in principle. However, Gretchen
seemed most interested in knowing what our relationship will be with
regard to the Roundys Grant, should we get it. I explained that the
terms of the grant are likely to spur a significant increase in the
amount of compost we produce, and that we are committed to utilizing
at least a portion of the compost within Roundys area of operations to
address hunger issues. It is likely to include partners like VGI.
Sandy (White Oak Farm) already supplies compost to VGI.
I visited the Scooter Garden after the big storm. It looked fine. The
raised beds are somewhat under planted and the in-ground gardens need
weeding. Everything is growing well.
Exec. Dir. Report 6/29/10
In order to get a handle on the wealth of volunteers who have already stepped forward to help us on our journey of discovery, I have enlisted a “volunteer” volunteer coordinator, Julie Courtright. Among other things, Julie is the genius behind BeGoodGoLocal.org, a website/blog designed to get people like you/me/us engaged in advancing our communities by doing good. What a concept!
Wisconsin African American Women’s Association:
Jo’s Place: On Friday, Emmanuel and I delivered three planter boxes to Jo’s Place, a daycare center on North Ave. and Appleton Ave. They had tried growing sunflowers in the past, but just as they were about to flower the maintenance staff whacked them thinking they were weeds. Note: At some point we may wish to create a “Weed Mon” show designed to help fledgling gardeners identify common Wisconsin garden weeds and weed sprouts—so they know what to pull out and what to leave in the garden.
Our discussion (for now) has focused on creating composting entrepreneurs. As you will recall, they are interested in developing “our own” urban ag./building restoration/job training project with them.
We met with the sustainability team at MTECH to discuss how to characterize our relationship with them, for purposes of creating a common vision and plan, and to facilitate funding requests. We are forging an MTECH, Matt Ray, Sweet Water partnership intended to foster curriculum creation at Sweet Water and sustainability education throughout MPS.
La Causa has asked us to build a “hoop house” greenhouse across the alley from the school on a vacant lot they own. At present, the La Causa staff is finding resources to do some preparatory site work. We are currently developing a hoop house design that the La Causa kids can help to construct (with adults). I have enlisted the aid of an architect volunteer, who will investigate relevant building code issues and make certain we are in compliance therewith. We may build a prototype at Sweet Water.
Exec. Dir. Report 5/11/10
WHAT A WEEK!
Wisconsin African American Women’s Association has approved our proposal. David Mangen from the Inland School of Expeditionary Learning is helping us with the design fabrication of the planter boxes. Please let me know if you are available this week to assist with the installation.
Journey House: We are currently waiting for approvals by Susan Black, County Parks Director and Susan Lloyd from the Zilber Foundation.
I received a warm thank you from Janice Ward of the NEA Foundation for last week’s Sweet Water tour. Among other things Janice said, “The trip really showed me what our youth, our urban cities, and our communities can do if we really put our minds to it. Spending two days with all of you has me wondering if I should trade in my high heels for a pair of work boots!!!!”
Wednesday morning Tony and I met with Jackie Wells of the Milwaukee Center For Independence to discuss collaborations. I will meet with Jackie and Rachael Noe from MCFI on 5/18/10 for a tour of MCFI facilities with an eye toward possible healing/learning gardens, and to discuss some job shadowing on their part, to see if MCFI might use Sweet Water as a job training site for some of their client groups.
Wednesday evening Godsil and I traveled to Chicago with the Rishi Tea people to meet Chimpanzee Researcher and Environmental Goddess, Jane Goodall. At the event we made some great contacts with potential for collaboration therewith, including Martha Boyd of Angelic Organics and Naomi Davis of “BIG” (Blacks In Green).
Thursday morning we were visited and interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The focus of the story is Sweet Water Organics, but spillage into the Sweet Water Foundation inevitably occurred when talking about the mountain range of compost outback. After the formal interviews were done, the reporter asked me if he might see “the rest of the place.” So I gave him a one-on-one tour, highlighting the message about turning waste into a community resource. He seemed genuinely enthused by the whole experience, which was encouraging to see since reporters can sometimes seem a bit world-weary. I anticipate that if his story gets past the editorial board it will be a very positive one.
More Outreach: If you still have anything in the tank after our board retreat on Sunday, my band, Embedded Reporter, is doing a benefit concert for Wellspring (CSA in Newburg) on Sunday evening from 7:00 ‘til 9:00 p.m. at “The Coffee House” on 19th and Wisconsin, just west of Marquette. It is on the ground level of Redeemer Lutheran Church (S.W. corner, enter from 19th). If you haven’t been to The Coffee House (longest continually running non-profit coffee house in the U.S.), or heard/seen Embedded Reporter, or both, you are in for a mind-bending experience. Those who have been exposed tend to come back anyway—go figure?
Sweet Water Foundation Executive Director Howard Hinterthuer Report: 4/27/10
Center For Veterans Issues: Our relationship continues with the
National Association of Black Veterans and their administrative
non-profit, the Center For Veterans Issues, Ltd. Executive Director
Dawn Nuoffer has asked us to help develop a jobs training program in urban
agriculture and related“green” building trades, designing a pilot program
in anticipation of applying for a larger jobs training grant next year.
Honey Creek School: Thursday, Earthday, April 22, 2010, we attacked
our first garden/teaching project at Honey Creek School. The weather
couldn’t have been better. The event was well organized from the
school side by Jamie Fraundorf. Students rotated through a variety of
hands-on learning experiences staffed by Sweet Water Foundation
volunteers, Sweet Water Organics Staff, Parents and Teachers.
Meanwhile, participants joined together to construct five raised bed
garden plots, fill them with compost, and begin the planting process.
I think we all departed saying to ourselves, “Wow! That was
cool.” It was our first project as a group. I hope you are as
pleased with the outcome as I am.
After, James “The Worm Man” Godsil moved his traveling
worm circus to Deer Creek School and Nicole Rockweit assisted.
Scooter Foundation: On Saturday, April 24, 2010, in the pouring rain,
with help from Scooter Foundation volunteers and James Godsil, I
constructed four raised bed garden plots on the Scooter Garden site
across from Oliver Wendell Holmes School in Riverwest. Thanks to Josh
Fraundorf for assembling the needed materials and pre-cutting the
planks. The event brought together Scooter Foundation Board Members
and suburban families with a fairly large contingent of Riverwest
residents. In that regard it was a huge success. Logistically it was
also well coordinated. However, on site supervision seemed a bit
haphazard, although people stepped up and got it done despite the
weather challenges. Now we have two gardens on our resume.
Wisconsin African American Women’s Association has approved our
proposal. We will be designing and constructing the hardscape within
the next two weeks.
Journey House: Godsil and I have been consulting with Journey House,
Roundy’s, and Landlord Gary Kaufman about developing a raised
bed (20) garden on the Pic ‘n’ Save parking lot (National
Avenue). Everyone is on board including the city. However, water is an
issue. Our current thinking is to purchase or construct a water wagon
that can be filled at Pic ‘n’ Save and wheeled by hand
across the parking lot. Hoses crossing traffic routes are unacceptable
to the landlord. Our role will be to construct the garden then mentor
Journey House in managing the project.
The Domes/Mitchell Park: Meanwhile we met with Sandy Folaron,
Conservatory Director, Mitchell Park Domes. She has asked us to
develop a community garden on an approx. one acre site at the
Southeast corner of the park. There is a possibility we may be able to
create an “in ground” garden and also do onsite
composting. This is a fantastic opportunity that should be
aggressively pursued and seems likely to happen, but gardening
isn’t envisioned to happen until 2011. However, composting
should begin as soon as possible in order to have finished compost by
next spring. Once again, Journey House would manage the project with
mentoring by Sweet Water Foundation.
Nigella Commons: This group seeks to create a community garden in the
Harambee neighborhood. The vision is for Sweet Water to partner with
Nigella Commons to provide access to compost, building materials and
build/construction assistance. We will further support the project
through local networking and promotion.
Toward a 100 Job Urban Agriculture Project
The Sweet Water Foundation collaboration with Journey House, the Domes, the National Association of Black Vets, Core el Centro, 16th St. Community Health Center, the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center, the Victory Garden Initiative, La Causa School, Honey Creek School, Downtown Montessori School, and on and on, aims to develop the foundation for a 100 job urban ag project over the next 5 years.
And it all begins with harvesting urban waste streams and partnering with beneficial bacteria and red wriggler worms. That’s how Sweet Water Organics was launched.
Here is the start of my effort to outline how 10 jobs in the vermiculture/soil building piece might be grown.
Growing Clean Rich Soil for Urban Agriculture
Start with One Organizer and Volunteer Teams for Composting Piece
Here are some tasks for the organizer:
develop a volunteer work team(s) to organize the program
- find a site for medium to large scale composting
- design the compost site to control leachate(sp?) and avoid problems with officials or neighbors
- introduce composting to households in the target area through churches, schools, community organizations, barber shops and salons
- recruit and help some local householders to begin their own backyard composting
- develop materials and tool list for compost projects, sources for the tools, facilities and procedures to store, maintain, and repair tools
- establish relations with large, medium, and small sources of nitrogen, e.g. groceries, breweries, restaurants, institutions, households
- establish relations with large, medium, and small sources of carbon, e.g. landscapers, tree trimmers, cities with leaves and wood chips, local farmers
develop volunteer work team(s) to harvest nitrogen carbon for compost piles
- develop partnerships and contracts with sources of nitrogen and carbon
- purchase, store, and maintain a pick-up truck, 50 gallon and smaller barrels, pitch forks, and, for larger sites, occasional use of bobcat or other earth moving equipment
- training for delicate social/physical challenges of picking up nitrogen at various sites, more complex and delicate the larger the source
- training in mixing and tending of compost ingredients
monitoring of organizer’s progress with an eye toward providing paid workers to support/advance composting piece
Adding Vermiculture to the Project
to be continued
Formal Training for Aquaponics Career?
Sweet Water, in its factory setting, is a first of its kind in an industry, i.e. aquaponics, that is, in the USA, very, very new. There is no question in my mind that their is “work” for anyone who would acquire degrees in the field:
- start a small aquaponic system in your own home, a neighbor, relative, or business partner’s “place”
- teach aquaponics at a school of community development center
- join the Peace Corp, Americore, or some NGO to set up systems in developing nations
- win employment at a place like Sweet Water, Growing Power, or an increasing number of urban agriculture enterprises also experimenting in what seems to me a 21st century industry of enormous possibility
All of these possibilities increase if you are very imaginative and strategic in your use of your time and energies. Joining list serves devoted to urban agriculture and aquaculture/aquaponics, volunteering and interning at dynamic places, recruiting people to advance your cause: some worthy actions that come to mind.
Were you to be the first aquaponics specialist to graduate from the UW-Milwaukee School of Fresh Water Sciences…
If you keep in touch with folks like me…
Check MilwaukeeRenaissance.com, especially side bar platforms called “Sweet Water India Conversations” and “Aquaponic Experiments.” There are some links in the first to Hawaii based aquaponics list servs that would be great place to start. Charlie Price of Sterling University most dynamic. You might consider recruiting hydroponics folks to broaden their vision.
Send me your resume, if you wish. Become my facebook friend.
To be continued…
Earthday Edible Playground Installation Honey Creek School
Honey Creek School: Thursday, Earthday, April 22, 2010
We attacked our first garden/teaching project at Honey Creek School. The weather couldn’t have been better. The event was well organized from the school side by Jamie Fraundorf. Students rotated through a variety of hands-on learning experiences staffed by Sweet Water Foundation volunteers, Sweet Water Organics Staff, Parents and Teachers.
Meanwhile, participants joined together to construct five raised bed garden plots, fill them with compost, and begin the planting process. I think we all departed saying to ourselves, “Wow! That was cool.” It was our first project as a group. I hope you are as pleased with the outcome as I am.
After, James “The Worm Man” Godsil moved his traveling worm circus to Deer Creek School and Nicole Rockweit assisted.
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Sweet Water Organics Story at the KK River Village
The Story Sweet Water Organics at the KK River Village
The story of the Sweet Water Organics fish farm project is part of the story
Of the KK River Village.
Location of the KK River Village
The KK River Village is a vision of the future we will create at an old industrial site
Just to the east of St. Josephat’s Basilica, the KK River and the Amtrack R.R. line,
Just to the west of LuLu’s restaurant and the Wild Flower Bakery on KK,
Just north of Lincoln, just south of Beecher,
Near what I consider “downtown Bay View”(the intersection of KK and Lincoln),
Close to the intersection of Walker’s Point and the Third Ward,
Perhaps a 5 minute drive to Lake Michigan.
The Greenest Possible Development
Steve Lindner and his sister purchased this industrial site a couple of years ago,
With thoughts of a 10 year green housing development project,
Upon the foundation of their successful decade-long work rehabilitating
Fifty four houses with about 150 units, and Steve’s urban infill new construction in
Riverwest, the lower Eastside, and most recently in Bay View.
Steve asked his very close friend and business associate, Josh Fraundorf,
Co-owner of Community Roofing & Restoration, to brainstorm with Josh’s partner,
James Godsil, active in Milwaukee’s urban ecology and urban agriculture movements,
With an eye toward creating the most advanced, economically feasible “green transformation”
Over a 10 years process.
Godsil had worked with Professor Michael Swedish of MSOE on a semester studio project
That explored the many issues involved in transforming an old industrial building
Into a Will Allen Greenhouse Aquaculture System to raise tilapia.
Professor Swedish agreed to direct another semester studio project,
Organized with an eye toward providing Lindner with the central elements
Most suited for the greenest possible transformation with housing at the core.
Swedish’s class provided a detailed report which cost out such features as
Geothermal and solar energy sources, passive solar architecture,
Solar and other sustainable technologies, especially composting and
Family food and community garden plots.
The full Swedish reports on the Industrial Building Tilapia Farm
And the KK River Village Green Transformation can be found at:
Sweet Water Concepts Sparked by Friedman NYT Article
“We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our children,” said Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert who writes the indispensable blog climateprogress.org. We have been getting rich by depleting all our natural stocks — water, hydrocarbons, forests, rivers, fish and arable land — and not by generating renewable flows.
Sweet Water does not deplete our natural stocks. Sweet Water is blazing new trails in ecological industrial parks that generate renewable energy flows!
“You can get this burst of wealth that we have created from this rapacious behavior,” added Romm. “But it has to collapse, unless adults stand up and say, ‘This is a Ponzi scheme. We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate …’ Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy.”
Sweet Water is generating real wealth with methods in harmony with nature’s ways.
Over a billion people today suffer from water scarcity; deforestation in the tropics destroys an area the size of Greece every year — more than 25 million acres; more than half of the world’s fisheries are over-fished or fished at their limit.
Sweet Water supports efforts to cleanse our rivers, lakes, and seas. In the meantime we are sparking an industry that will provide fish raised in clean waters in response to our need for environmentally friendly high protein foods.
“Just as a few lonely economists warned us we were living beyond our financial means and overdrawing our financial assets, scientists are warning us that we’re living beyond our ecological means and overdrawing our natural assets,” argues Glenn Prickett, senior vice president at Conservation International. But, he cautioned, as environmentalists have pointed out: “Mother Nature doesn’t do bailouts.”
One of those who has been warning me of this for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment — when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once — “The Great Disruption.”
“We are taking a system operating past its capacity and driving it faster and harder,” he wrote me. “No matter how wonderful the system is, the laws of physics and biology still apply.” We must have growth, but we must grow in a different way. For starters, economies need to transition to the concept of net-zero, whereby buildings, cars, factories and homes are designed not only to generate as much energy as they use but to be infinitely recyclable in as many parts as possible. Let’s grow by creating flows rather than plundering more stocks.
Sweet Water living technologies contribute to “net-zero” growth, i.e. buildings, cars, factories, and homes are designed to be as “infinitely recyclable” as possible. This is growth by “creating flows,” not plundering our stocks.
Gilding says he’s actually an optimist. So am I. People are already using this economic slowdown to retool and reorient economies. Germany, Britain, China and the U.S. have all used stimulus bills to make huge new investments in clean power. South Korea’s new national paradigm for development is called: “Low carbon, green growth.” Who knew? People are realizing we need more than incremental changes — and we’re seeing the first stirrings of growth in smarter, more efficient, more responsible ways.
Sweet Water hopes to contribute to economic growth that is smart, efficient, resonsible. “Less carbon, green growth!”
In the meantime, says Gilding, take notes: “When we look back, 2008 will be a momentous year in human history. Our children and grandchildren will ask us, ‘What was it like? What were you doing when it started to fall apart? What did you think? What did you do?’ ” Often in the middle of something momentous, we can’t see its significance. But for me there is no doubt: 2008 will be the marker — the year when ‘The Great Disruption’ began.
When “The Great Disruption” began, Sweet Water was jump starting the transformation of old instustry slums into ecological industrial parks.
Sweet Water Visions Winter 2010
- revive tradition of Friday perch fish fries in Milwaukee
- over the years help repopulate our sacred, cleansing waters with perch
- make Milwaukee the urban aquaponic city of America and help other Great Lakes and
heartland cities transform classic factory buildings into fish vegetable farms and community centers
- grow plants like lettuce, spinach, arugula, basil, as tasty to young people as sugar
- turn wastes into resources, i.e. food tree lawn residues into clean rich soil for backyard, school, church,company, and community food gardens
Black Gold Worm Castings
- teach our children to grow the world’s richest soil witht he help of the worms
- cooking and fine arts combined, i.e. “good food and beauty and the people will come!”
Sweet Water as art gallery and Green Room as workshops
- over the years inspire 10,000 backyard farms, edible playgrounds, community, corporate, church, and food/art gardens
- provide a place community gathering
Jobs and Economic Development
- develop training programs that connect artistic, artisinal, and agricultural skill sets
- help develop healing gardens at the Soldiers Home and help save endangered species like the bonobos by supporting sustainable agriculture/aquaponics for the rain forest peoples
This is a Sweet Water Olde set of visions that will be improved upon, elaborated, and acctualized by the inspiring Sweet Water Younges!
The Sweet Water Foundation
to be continued