On this page…

  1. Invitation from the Gena Tree
  2. Blueberry Pancake Moments at Riverwest Co-op Defined
    1. 2.1  Sunday Mornings Around 9:30 to 11 a.m.
  3. Garage Almost Heated w. Homemade Solar Heater
  4. More News on People’s Book’s Co-op
    1. 4.1  Saturday 11 a.m. Training Sessions
  5. A special culinary event during Westside Artwalk on Friday Night at the Amaranth Bakery
    1. 5.1  Amaranth Bakery will be featuring dishes prepared by Caroline Carter of Eden’s Market, Certified Raw Food Chef/Instructor.
  6. Blueberry Pancake at the Co-op Bribe: But You Must Buy Your Own Coffee
    1. 6.1  Toward a Great Lakes Culture of City Farms
  7. A School in Every Garden
  8. $50,000 Gets You Ticket To Your Own City Farm in Resurgent Milwaukee
    1. 8.1  Deep Heart of Milwakee Manifesting in 10,000 Movements
  9. Seek Push Carts and Peddlers
    1. 9.1  Strawberry and raspberry fields in the city forever
  10. $50,000 Urban Farm and Enterprise Homesteads
  11. University of Pennsylvania Model for UWM to Follow
    1. 11.1  Viewpoints of Alderman Michael S. D’Amato
    2. 11.2  Viewpoints of Sura Faraj
  12. MIT Professors and World Engineering Students Focus on Small & Cheap Technology Inventions to Advance of World’s Poorest Communities
  13. ‘Green’ prison softens tough convicts: a left-of-center platform piece re crime?
  14. Riverwest Co-op Blueberry Pancake Sunday Morning Gatherings
  15. Margaret Groppi Rozga Memoir & 40th Anniversary Events re Milwaukee Open Housing Marches
  16. Grace Lee Boggs Extols Milwaukee’s Growing Power Building the Beloved Community
  17. Michael Frome, 87 Year Old Renowned Environmental Writer/Activist “Icon,” Book Readings
  18. High Solids Two-Phase Anaerobic Digestion Process (HS2PAD) and Carbon Neutrality
  19. London Farmers To Visit Growing Power In The Windy City And The Holy City Of The Sweetwater Seas
    1. 19.1  From iron curtain to urban farming speech?
  20. Grace Lee Boggs Tells Bill Moyers the City Transforming Value of Will Allen’s Growing Power Team
  21. Great Lakes Djerba Connections
    1. 21.1  Milwaukee Experiments
  22. Riverwest Cycling Services
  23. Stephanie Phillips of Reclamation Society Blog Link
    1. 23.1  Reclamation Society Launches Its First City Farm in Harambee.
  24. Green Guild Development Married to Urban Farming and Internet Empowerment
  25. Grace Lee Boggs “Thoughts on Labor Day” 2007
    1. 25.1  Re-Spiriting Cities
    2. 25.2  Self/City Transforming from Employee/Consumers to Citizen/Community Builders
  26. 10,000 Reasons Why Milwaukee Will Win a Nobel Peace Prize by 2002
  27. From Gray Areas to Green Areas:
    1. 27.1  Developing Sustainable Practices in Preservation Environments
  28. Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #1: 10,000 Urban Farms and Community Gardens in Great Lakes Cities by 2020
    1. 28.1  99 Partnerships for 10,000 gardens
    2. 28.2  UWM Town Gown Partnerships Win Urban Ag Institute for Milwaukee!
  29. Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #2: 10,000 Great Lakes Bloggers by 2012
    1. 29.1  99 Communities of Practice for 10,000 Bloggers
    2. 29.2  UWM Community Partnerships Find Internet Empowerment Stations in Every Neighborhood
    3. 29.3  [[http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/HomePage
  30. Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #3: Milwaukee Tunis Sister City Project
    1. 30.1  Sister Cities of Milwaukee and Tunis to Advance the Cause of Urban Organic Farming
    2. 30.2  UWM Helps Everyday Milwaukee Connect With the Wider World
  31. Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #4: Milwaukee Wins National Green Design Competition for “KK River Village”
    1. 31.1  Brainstorming the Greenest Possible Development at the 10 Acre “KK River Village”
  32. Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #5: Universities Without Walls
    1. 32.1  Utopian vision marries social practice.
  33. Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #6: The Marriage of Restorative Justice with Urban Agriculture
    1. 33.1  Developing planetary brother/sister neighborhood community city and bio-region exchange projects.
    2. 33.2  Promoting visions into projects, E.G. Rebirth of Freedom, Timbuktu, Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, Save Pabst Project, Riverwest Co-Op, Bucketworks, Reclamation Society, Bonobo Congo Biodiversity Project, Buses are Green
    3. 33.3  Online curriculum developments for participatory learning projects
  34. Bridging Civilizations, Dismantling Racism, and Re-Spiriting the Great Lakes and North Africa.
  35. 99 Partnerships for Ten Thousand Great Lakes Victory Gardens
  36. Wetlands are nature’s own hazard insurance
  37. We are each others treasure!
  38. RiverEdge Housing Co-op Announces a Rare Vacancy!!!
  39. Milwaukee Country Club Tree Cutting Threatens Milwaukee River and Milwaukee’s Central Park?
    1. 39.1  Will Friends of Milwaukee Central Park Bike, Bus, or Car Pool Out to Next River Hills Village Board Meeting to Protest Country Club Tree Cutting Along Bank of the Milwaukee River?
    1. 40.1  Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa Food Co-ops Join Efforts for Farm Flood Victims
    2. 40.2  Organic Farmers Suffer Large Losses In Minn., Wis.(AP)
  41. Introducing Milwaukee’s Leading Social Enterprise Internet Empowerment Mentor Tegan Dowling
  42. Fostering a Joe Zilber Sensibility: Seeking Progressive Gentry for the Milwaukee Renaissance; Seeking Worker Gentry for the Milwaukee Renaissance
  43. Photos of Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network (MUAN)
    1. 43.1  Gathering at Timbuktu Tuesday August 14 2007
    2. 43.2  Members of Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network(MUAN)
  44. Bonobos, Left & Right
  45. ‘Children’s Parliament’ Sets High Bar in Congo
  46. Companies Turn to Prairies
  47. Bunzel Schroder West Bend Green Home & Garden Tour, 8/25/2007, 1:00 pm
  48. Subject: Award Winning Preservation Artisan “Going Green”
    1. 48.1  Palmer Street Wood Factory and Community Growers: Roof-top Farming Project
  49. David Holmgren, Co-Founder of Permaculture Theory
    1. 49.1  The design system
    2. 49.2  The network
    3. 49.3  The Permaculture Design Course
    4. 49.4  Impediments to the Spread of Permaculture
    5. 49.5  Focus on opportunities rather than obstacles
    6. 49.6  Fundamental Assumptions
    7. 49.7  Permaculture Principles
    8. 49.8  Ethical Principles of Permaculture
    9. 49.9  The 12 Permaculture Principles
    10. 49.10  Footnotes
  50. Walnut Way Wins Wisconsin Idea Award!
    1. 50.1  Grass-roots Environmental Stewardship…
    2. 50.2  Community Building…
    3. 50.3  Social Entrepreneurship
    4. 50.4  August 16 Wisc. Public TV Film Crews at Walnut Way. Join Us!
  51. Grace Lee Boggs on Detroit’s August Garden Tour
    1. 51.1  Six Buses and a Bike Tour Cross Generational and Identity Group Boundaries
    2. 51.2  Growing Potatoes in Stacks of Tires!
    3. 51.3  I see this as the Quiet Revolution. It is a revolution for
    4. 51.4  self-determination taking place quietly in Detroit.
  52. Brief Review of “Dreams of an Undemolished Home,”
    1. 52.1  A play written by Deborah Clifton and Peggy Hong
  53. Asian Fest Returns to Milwaukee
  54. Main Street Milwaukee Projects:
    1. 54.1  The Mosaic on Burleigh, SOHI on N. 27th, Lincoln Village, and Silver City
  55. Bill Sell Report: Lanterns, Hiroshima memorial - last Saturday
  56. Photos from Morogoro Tanzania, Milwaukee USA sister city ceremony at African World Festival
  57. Growing Power Tour and Solar Oven Demonstration for Tanzanian Delegation and Dr. Gay Reinartz
  58. Reclamation Society Launches Its First City Farm in Harambee.
  59. Eddee Daniel’s beautiful photos of Mke Central Park
  60. Nice “Shepherd” Review of Olde Godsil’s “My Milwaukee”
  61. Architects Without Borders Work in Malawi.
    1. 61.1  Architects of change target child poverty
  62. Washington Bark Dog Day - A Fundraiser for Washington Park
  63. Why are the Honeybees Dying?
  64. Notes From Greenfolks Garden
  65. Summer youth internship program in riverwest
    1. 65.1  Getting Paid to Dream
    2. 65.2  Teenagers Summering Near You
  66. Bronzeville
  67. Urban Ecology Center Creates Washington Park Facility
  68. Darrell Smith’s pesticide free organic landscaping
    1. 68.1  Earthcare natural lawn and landscapes
  69. Seminar on Islamophobia for Educators
  70. Stories About Bio-Diesel Co-op Underway in Milwaukee
    1. 70.1  Bay View co-op offers earth-friendly fuel
    2. 70.2  Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op opens at Future Green
    3. 70.3  Some fuel for thought
    4. 70.4  Biodiesel Fuel Driving Its Way to the Mainstream
  71. Sustainable S.E. Wisconsin to Film “Gimme Green,” re American Obsession w. Lawns
  72. Grace Lee Boggs Detroit Update…”Remember 1967″
  74. 6-0 vote advances higher environmental and conservation standards
  75. New York Times Call for U.S. “To Leave Iraq.”
  76. Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op Grand Opening Event
  77. Esperanza Unida’s 1st annual “Fiesta del Barrio 2007″ to be held on Saturday July 14, 2007
  78. How I home-built an electricity producing Wind turbine
  79. Detroit and Milwaukee: Holy Cities of the Sweet Water Seas
  80. Alabama Looks To The Great Lakes For Water
  81. Lots of Web Links to Many Stories on Emerging City Farming Movements
  82. Creative Portland Intersections as Neighborhood Hubs of Activity
    1. 82.1  Is Milwaukee Becoming the Portland of the Sweet Water North Coast of North America?
  83. Bonobo Survival Project Gathers at the Riverwest Co-op, July 2 and July 8
  84. The Bonobo Survival Project Sunday Morning Gatherings at the Riverwest Co-op;
  85. Historic Preservation: The Ultimate in Recycling
  86. Seeking the Integration of Permaculture Concepts with New Urbanism Theory
  87. Seek Photo Essays of City Farms and Gardens
  88. Milwaukee Will Advance the Bonobos’ Cause
  89. Denise Dee Showing at Starbucks
  90. Grandmothers with a mission
  91. Nice Journal Article On Milwaukee West Side!
  92. American Museum of Natural History Exhibit Merges Paleontology and Genetics To Support Our Quest for Self-Understanding
  93. Bay View Four Season Organic Kitchen Garden Tours & Rasberry Picking
  94. Dreamtime Village Wisconsin: An Intentional Community of Artists
  95. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Post Traumatic Stress, and Stigma of Mental Health Care
  96. Diversity Work Needs Elaboration
  97. Sustainable SE Wisconsin: Paths Discussion: Renewable Energy, 6/26/2007, 6:30 pm
  98. Sustainable SE Wisconsin: free films online
  99. Testimony to Value of Bay_View_Matters Yahoo Group: Should All Neighborhoods Be Encouraged to Yahoo?

Invitation from the Gena Tree

I rose to gather, not divide.
To feel you circle
Around my trunk
And scratch your sweaty
Backs against my bark.

Slivers festered under your skins
In the private circle
At the public schoolyard
Where I kept you cool.
Cool, boys. Cool.

I took no sides.
I was not black.
I was not white.
But green as life.

Yet, I, the tree of life was forced
To bear unnatural apple shapes
Void of flesh, outlined in rope
False fruit that smelled of rotted hemp.

No joke, the spirit’s spell by night.
Young eyes moved as the nooses swung
Like watches ticking a hypnotic rhythm
Tapping into depths of time.

You who I gathered, now were scattered,
Adding red to the color chart.
Red that dripped from a cheek turned blue
By bruises tattooed on the white boy’s cheek.

Judged as a trigger for this violence and shame.
I was reduced to a wide flat stump.
Closer to earth. Closer to roots.
You must look down to see me now.

Come. Stand open
In the new day’s heat.
Not as black. Not as white.
But green as life
Begun again.

There are still lessons
To be learned in the school yard.

June Eastvold, September, ‘07

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Blueberry Pancake Moments at Riverwest Co-op Defined

Sunday Mornings Around 9:30 to 11 a.m.

“There are activists, artists, poets, philosophers, roofers, builders, freaks, geeks, cats and dogs, goers and comers — but the kindness and collective talent is inspiring”

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Garage Almost Heated w. Homemade Solar Heater

While I have electricity out to the garage now, heat has been an issue all winter long. Mattar graciously lent me his kerosene heater, which did an okay job of taking the bite off the chill. Insulating the garage would go a long way to help keep the bitter Vermont cold out, but thats a project for another day. I decided instead to take advantage of the south-facing side of the garage and build a solar furnace to collect some of that sunshine just bouncing straight off my garage. My dad built one years ago and said he recorded a 110-degree temperature differential between inlet and outlet. And I had enough scrap materials around the basement to do something similar to what my dad built.

I actually built the box to certain dimensions, based on what scrap materials I had and on the dimensions of my heat collection method - aluminum cans. That sure was a lot of Sprite. Fifty cans in five columns of 10 will funnel the air upward.

So you may have already thought, How can air climb the columns of cans when theres no hole at the bottom of the can? Answer: drill press and 3/4-inch bit. Times 45.
Read the entire article
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More News on People’s Book’s Co-op

Saturday 11 a.m. Training Sessions

HAVE YOU HEARD about People’s Books Co-op?

Chris Chiu turned his store over to the co-op on Sept. 1, and with his generous help we are busy learning the ropes of running a progressive book store. We have lots of plans for attracting new customers while still serving Chris’ loyal following.

But, and this is our primary concern these days, we need to involve lots of people as members and as volunteer workers. We have established a number of committees and all of them could use new member input.

One way to find out what we are up to, and how you might fit into our work, would be to stop by at one of our training sessions Saturdays, 11 a.m. Another way to support the co-op is to underwrite a particular section of books. E.g., one member recently became an underwriter of our new children’s section.

Membership is $20 a year and one becomes a Lifetime Member after paying $100. There will be occasional special sales for members, but the principal benefit will be the knowledge that one has helped preserve this precious Milwaukee institution in the face of the machinations of corporate capitalism.

  • Location
Peoples Books Cooperative
2122 E Locust St
Milwaukee, WI 53211

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A special culinary event during Westside Artwalk on Friday Night at the Amaranth Bakery

Amaranth Bakery will be featuring dishes prepared by Caroline Carter of Eden’s Market, Certified Raw Food Chef/Instructor.

Vegetable Nori roles
Vegan Chocolate mousse
Broccoli Soup

She will be at Amaranth Bakery from 5PM to 8:00PM to discuss integrating raw food/vegan dishes and meals into our lifestyle.
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Blueberry Pancake at the Co-op Bribe: But You Must Buy Your Own Coffee

Toward a Great Lakes Culture of City Farms

Please join in at the Blueberry Pancake Moment at the Riverwest Co-op,
At Fratney and Clarke, in Riverwest,
Across the Street from the Polish Falcolns, Bowling in the basement,
Down the street from St. Casmir’s, which has a new roof,
And the “Riverwest Currents” and “Vital Source,”
Across the street from the Cream City Collective,
A bit south of Club Timbuktu(on Center and Booth),
A brisk 5 minute walk to Milwaukee’s Central Park and Milwaukee River.

$50,000 Gets You Ticket To Your Own City Farm in Resurgent Milwaukee
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A School in Every Garden

The School in Every Garden
By A.G. Kawamura

A.G. Kawamura is secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

“It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

A garden in every school… What a great idea. This is the ambitious goal of the California School Garden Network <www.csgn.org>. It has received widespread support from agriculturists, environmentalists, nutritionists, and educators. This goal represents an encouraging step toward a better understanding of how closely linked we are to our food supply and to nature. A garden in every school also offers us the best opportunity to expose the invisible crisis in our country (and world), chronic malnutrition. Whether in the form of hunger or obesity, both of these symptoms of malnutrition are taking their toll on the lives of so many in our world through an insidious ignorance that plagues urban society. The lessons to be learned from a garden come at a very critical time.

A garden teaches a child about the delicate balance between living and surviving, through a hands-on relationship with another living organism. It teaches the child about the consequences of negligence. It provides a living laboratory where life’s lessons are experienced and learned. It is a step toward understanding an educational process that most of the agrarian world practices on a daily basis. The forgotten lessons that a garden provides can set the stage for new paradigms in teaching, school lunch programs, community food security outreach, agricultural literacy, and community service learning.

As a fruit and vegetable farmer I have always noticed that certain truths which occur in my fields can be offered as analogies to life in general. These “truths” exist in every garden as well. It is clear that if I plant celery or green beans in a field on a given date, I can expect to harvest each after a predictable period of growth and maturity. The seeds or transplants are all bred for uniformity and vigor. My responsibility is to provide these young plants with the best environment, fertilizer/nutrition, and cultural care possible if I am to see them thrive and yield their greatest potential at harvest time. It is the task of the farmer and the gardener to do this… crop after crop, year after year.

A field is not like a greenhouse, not like a factory. Invariably there are plants on the edge of a field or garden that, despite our best efforts, seem to miss out on the inputs, care, and attention that we invest into our crop. Not surprisingly, these plants never seem to thrive and to reach their full potential when it is time to harvest. They grow abnormally and become stunted. Their lack of vigor and immunity make them more vulnerable to all kinds of pests and diseases. They are always less productive than the other plants that receive full benefit of the care given.

I offer this simple analogy. How can children be any different from the plants and animals that a farmer or a gardener raises? A child who eats a doughnut and soft drink every morning, a fruitless fruit punch and cookie for lunch, and some poor excuse for a dinner, day after day, has a bad fertilizer program. Interestingly, some of the poorest kids have the best diets, and some of the richest kids have the worst. If we raise a generation of children that miss out on so many of the critical components to a productive, thriving life, then what excuse can we give? As a farmer I know my limitations and I know the consequences of failing to properly care for my crops. I can tolerate a 5- to 10-percent failure rate in my fields. But in terms of human failures, what percent of a dysfunctional, malnourished population is acceptable? Aggressive behavior, attention deficit syndrome, immune system abnormalities, learning disabilities…what role does nutrition deficiency play? Our greatest fear should be that we are raising generation after generation of humans who will never reach their full potential, because of our nutritional neglect and ignorance. As a nation and as a world, I believe we are just now realizing the consequences of failing to care for our most valuable resource: our children.

I am encouraged to think that new partnerships and paradigms will help us to move in a positive, decisive direction. Agriculture, nutrition, and education are not three mutually exclusive areas of activity. They can merge together into a logical, hand-holding relationship that takes full advantage of each other’s resources. In my time as California Secretary of Food and Agriculture it is with great excitement and fulfillment that I have seen and been able to take part in the development of the California School Garden Network (CSGN), a group dedicated to bringing these resources together. I believe that CSGN’s vision of a garden in every school is becoming a reality. This group, which represents a variety of state agencies, private companies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations, is dedicated to the mission of creating and sustaining gardens in every willing school in California.

In my hometown in southern California, and increasingly in other areas across the state, many dedicated individuals are creating gardens, in every willing school, that can become the cornerstone of a new awareness for our society of the importance of nutritional abundance. I believe that the creation of nutritional abundance in this world is the highest, most achievable goal we can work toward. It lays the foundation for all other human endeavors. As urban society struggles with so many social ills, hope can be found in our own “backyard.” The lessons to be learned in a “garden” can provide us with a better understanding for what it takes to create a “paradise.” It may be the difference between living and surviving.

A.G. Kawamura was appointed secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture in 2003. He is a third-generation grower and shipper whose family grows strawberries, green beans, and other crops in Orange County. Until his appointment as secretary, he was a member of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, and is immediate past chair of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee to the US Department of Agriculture. He has served as chair of the Western Growers Association and was a founding trustee of Sage Hill High School. As president of Orange County Harvest, a nonprofit promoting agricultural partnerships with organizations combating hunger, he arranged for thousands of volunteers to harvest and glean more than a million pounds of produce for area food banks. His nationally recognized urban projects linking nutritional education, local schools, and food banks include Common Ground in San Juan Capistrano and the Incredible Edible Park in Irvine.
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$50,000 Gets You Ticket To Your Own City Farm in Resurgent Milwaukee

Deep Heart of Milwakee Manifesting in 10,000 Movements

So if you don’t have $50,000 today, borrow $2,500 from your inheritance,
Live like a miser for some months, save $2,500, bring $5,000 to a banker
They front you a $45,000 mortgage on your part of a City Farm Homestead.

Add your $50,000 of equity to that of 2 other partners,
There’s $150,000 to work with.

Many these days are gathering at the Riverwest Co-op on Sunday mornings,
For Blueberry Pancake Moments.

The embryonic Milwaukee City Farm Homestead Project
Is one subject of conversation, as are
Bio-diversity Lessons: A Focus on the Bonobos’ Lessons.

Viva, City Farms!

Viva, Los Bonobos!

Viva, Milwaukee’s 10,000 movements.

Viva, Milwaukee’s Movement.
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Seek Push Carts and Peddlers

Strawberry and raspberry fields in the city forever

God’s Hill City Farm Products is looking for city or periurban farmers to offer strawberries and raspberries to be sold by peddlers push carts in the streets of riverwest from summer 2008 to 2010.

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$50,000 Urban Farm and Enterprise Homesteads

Dear All,

Would anyone like to talk about a 10 year project, with the support of the not far off and trailblazing U.W.M./MATC Urban Agriculture Institute, that would yeild 100 Urban Farm Homesteads, with perhaps some of the following attributes:

  • 2 to 3 households parcel up an oversized single family or duplex in the greenest manner possible

  • an urban farm in created at this homestead

  • a community internet empowerment station is created at the homestead

  • a culinary training station will be created at the homestead

  • a small business and social enterprise support network is created at the homestead

This concept will be brainstormed on-line in a yahoo group or wiki web site as well as at Sunday morning Blueberry Pancake Moments at the Riverwest Co-op Cafe.

Viva, Milwaukee Urban Farm and Enterprise Homesteads

Partners in the 10,000 “movements” of Milwaukee’s Movement
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University of Pennsylvania Model for UWM to Follow

Community building 101

Thirty-three armed robberies hit on or near the University of Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia campus in September 1996. Broken glass, trash and sometimes discarded drug paraphernalia littered the area. Dark, empty streets made students and staff feel jumpy.

A month later Vladimir Sled, a 38-year-old Russian migr and Penn biochemist, got caught in a scuffle with robbers. He was stabbed several times and died shortly afterward at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.

That was the decisive moment, the indisputable signal, writes Judith Rodin in her just-published book, “The University & Urban Revival,” that the university she then headed would have to make a radical turn.

Penn could claim great wealth, intellectual preeminence, Ivy League status. With close to 300 acres on its campus, an enrollment of 23,000 and 24,000 employees at the university and the medical center, it’s Philadelphia’s single largest private employer.

But suddenly, in what Rodin recalls as those “terribly scary” days in 1996, it was clear. The institution’s preservation was now at risk. “Nothing short of a revolution” in how Penn dealt with its neighborhood would now suffice, Rodin writes. Almost immediately, steps in what would become known as Penn’s “West Philadelphia Initiatives” started. A “clean and safe” operation was announced, seizing on James Q. Wilson’s theory that “broken windows” telegraph a message of absent public order inviting crime.

So policing services weren’t just stepped up sharply; Penn launched a campaign to repair broken windows, fix cracked sidewalks, clean up graffiti and litter, and light the streets, including thousands of fixtures on privately owned properties.

The university’s neighbors were engaged in a conscious effort to build “social capital” a caring and effective area. A 2.2-square-mile University City District (UCD) was set up, on the model of central Philadelphia’s highly successful business-improvement district. UCD removes graffiti and trash, counsels home and business owners, and deploys several dozen “safety ambassadors” to patrol the streets 16 hours a day. A stunning variety of similar initiatives followed. A historic park was revived and a farmers market added. Neighborhood watches were enhanced. University police foot patrols were coordinated with Philadelphia city police. A tree-planting and streetscape-tending urban gardening collective started up.

On a parallel track, Penn intervened to bolster homeownership and upgrade the deteriorated housing stock in University City, including attention to rental stock and protecting its low-income neighbors from being forced out by gentrification. The university pledged it would never again seize local residential property for its own expansion. It encouraged, and itself invested strategically, in major new retail development to turn stretches of low-grade buildings and parking lots into attractive, welcoming streets.

Penn also worked to help local businesses (many minority-owned) share significantly its hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly purchases of goods and services. And it started up a new, model local public school.

It was a daunting task. Some faculty were highly skeptical, fearing diversion of scarce dollars from their staff slots and research. Others asked if community building was a university’s job at all.

But Rodin (now president of the Rockefeller Foundation) insists a university worth its salt “has to show itself, its neighbors and its students it’s willing to take on the thorniest issues of its time… to put real skin in the game.”

Why universities? Corporations, Rodin notes, have become so global “that the city where they sit is less vital to them.” The biggest job-providers in many cities, universities and medical schools, may find civic leadership thrust on them and fittingly, “because they generate what makes today’s Knowledge Economy.”

As for Penn itself, she argues, it tripled both its research funding and endowment and rose from 16th to fourth in the U.S. News & World Report yearly ranking of American colleges and universities during the 10 years she was president.

Other universities that remade their community ties have also prospered. The message to all universities is clear: Your time for leadership has arrived; being a constructive, good neighbor isn’t fluff it’s absolutely critical.

Neal Peirce’s column appears alternate Mondays on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is [email protected]
2007, The Washington Post Writers Group
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Viewpoints of Alderman Michael S. D’Amato

This is not the type of leadership we need in the city- this is the leadership we need at the STATE!

UWM is a STATE institution that is sited in the city of Milwaukee. It is unfair that the city of Milwaukee taxpayers should be left with the bill to pay to solve problems that are directly related to this state institution. The city taxpayers spend an enormous amount of money cleaning up the problems associated with an institution that is otherwise a state responsibility. The burdens associated with this institution should not be borne by Wisconsin’s most impoverished community. We have far more pressing issues to deal with, homelessness, infant mortality, public safety, mass transit, job creation and others. The funds to take on an effort like this are more fairly placed on the broader base of Wisconsin taxpayers, many whom have sons and daughters who attend this institution in our great city.

That has where our efforts have been. Through Kenilworth, the Riverview dorm and, hopefully, the School of Public Health at Pabst we are beginning to see some of the fruits of our labor. State and private funds investing in the University as PART OF our community.

Alderman Michael S. D’Amato
3rd District, City of Milwaukee(Wisconsin)
200 E. Wells Street, 53202
[email protected]
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Viewpoints of Sura Faraj

With all due respect, Alderman, there is a difference between blame and leadership.

This *is* the kind of leadership we need — leadership that is visionary and bold, leadership that looks to the future for solutions instead of staying stuck in the status quo with the problems. It is always easy to lay blame. Leadership requires stepping out of that paradigm, in order to build for the future of all of us, despite the hurdles. Bringing the State and its institutions in line with our vision as a community is the kind of leadership we need. Sure some of it will cost money, but for the community, for our future, it’s priceless. It doesn’t serve us to be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

Also, this isn’t just about the University area. The vision Rodin grabbed hold of for her university could be easily tweaked and applied to any community.

And last, please note that these efforts and expenditures ultimately resulted in making Penn more prosperous. We all deserve that.

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MIT Professors and World Engineering Students Focus on Small & Cheap Technology Inventions to Advance of World’s Poorest Communities

Low Technologies, High Aims

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Beneath the bustling infinite corridor linking buildings at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, just past a boiler room, an assemblage of tinkerers from 16 countries welded, stitched and hammered, working on rough-hewn inventions aimed at saving the world, one village at a time.

M.I.T. has nurtured dozens of Nobel Prize winners in cerebral realms like astrophysics, economics and genetics. But lately, the institute has turned its attention toward concrete thinking to improve the lives of the worlds bottom billion, those who live on a dollar a day or less and who often die young.

This summer, it played host to a four-week International Development Design Summit to identify problems, cobble together prototype solutions and winnow the results to see which might work in the real world.

Mohamed Mashaal, a young British engineer headed for a job with BP on the North Sea this fall, poured water into a handcrafted plastic backpack worn by a design partner, Bernard Kiwia, who teaches bicycle repair in rural Tanzania and hopes to offer women there an easier way to tote the precious liquid for long distances.

Sham Tembo, an electrical engineer from Zambia, and Jessica Vechakul, an engineering graduate student at M.I.T., slowly added a cow manure puree to a five-gallon bucket holding charcoal made from corncobs. In the right configuration, the mix might generate enough electricity to charge a cellphone battery or a small flashlight for a year or more.

The summit (www.iddsummit.org) was the brainchild mainly of Amy Smith, a lecturer at M.I.T. who received her masters there in 1995 and in 2004 won a MacArthur Foundation genius award, and Kenneth Pickar, an engineering professor at the California Institute of Technology. Faculty and students from Olin College, an engineering school near Boston, were also involved.

The flurry of activity was taking place at D-Lab, a research center and set of courses at M.I.T. devoted to devising cheap technologies that could have a big effect in impoverished communities. In homage to Ms. Smiths passion for attacking poverty from the ground up, the lab is nicknamed Amys World.

Typically, D-Lab sends students abroad in midwinter breaks to work with people who are struggling with a lack of clean water, electricity, cooking fuels or mechanical power to turn crops into products. For four weeks, though, the real world had come to M.I.T.

Throughout the workshop, Ms. Smith served as scoutmaster, cheerleader, cook and personal shopper (when work flowed deep into the night), and she provided periodic reality checks.

She seemed dazed at times, but never fazed. Everyone calls this an experiment, Ms. Smith said of the workshop, the first of its kind. I call it the realization of a vision.

The work itself was often two steps back, not one step forward. As Lhamotso, a young woman from Tibet, and Laura Stupin, who just graduated from Olin, wrestled with a whirring Rube Goldberg mash-up of bicycle and grain mill, the chain slipped with a loud clang.

We have a real friction problem, Ms. Stupin yelled.

The workshop was developed over the last year by Ms. Smith, Dr. Pickar and others after a meeting to discuss a design revolution a shift in focus among companies, universities, investors and scientists toward attacking problems that hamper development in the worlds poorest places.

Nearly 90 percent of research and development dollars are spent on creating technologies that serve the wealthiest 10 percent of the worlds population, Ms. Smith said. The point of the design revolution is to switch that.

She added: There are several different places where that revolution has to take place. We started thinking, How do we train engineers so they might start thinking of this as a field of engineering theyd want to pursue?

Developing a pedal-powered grain mill or a backpack for water, as workshop participants did, was only a first step. The teams also had to be sure that their creations could be built of local materials cheaply enough to be bought by the worlds poorest people, that they could be fixed easily and fit ways of living that have deep-rooted rhythms.

The workshop began in mid-July, with the arrival of nearly 50 visitors from Brazil, Ghana, Guatemala, Tanzania, Tibet and other countries.

Most of the $200,000 budget was provided by donations from individuals and private groups, including the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, which supports university programs to develop commercially viable products that advance society.

The workshop began with a lecture by Paul Polak, a psychiatrist turned entrepreneur, who develops simple solutions for the problems of the poor. Dr. Polak, who has become something of a guru to the design revolution movement, railed against conventional charity and insisted that the route to prosperity lies in inventions that improve lives but mesh with existing lifestyles.

He laid out the principles of development from the bottom up, including the importance of first listening and watching, then following the old dictum small is beautiful with another, equally important one: cheap is beautiful.

The goal, he said, should be to improve a million lives, and to make technologies that can be sold and bought in increments like a drip-irrigating system that can expand as a farmers income rises. Dr. Polak said in an interview that at least in the classroom, the push for such initiatives was coming from young people.

Ms. Smith said she wanted to avoid having the workshop end up as yet another academic exercise where the only outcome is often a set of paper proceedings or pledges. This time, she said, the goal was no paper, just prototypes.

In fact, in the first days of the workshop, it seemed that the only paper in evidence was an ever-spreading, flower-petal array of blue, green, pink and yellow sticky notes on walls and blackboards. The notes charted the progression from basic needs (water, food, energy, health) to specific issues (a three-mile hike to and from the nearest water supply in a Tanzanian village, the lack of a well-testing kit that a Bangladeshi village clinic could afford).

Ms. Smith placed participants in project teams. Then came round-table discussions, rough sketches, technical drawings and the first three-dimensional models.

Half a dozen volunteer mentors helped the participants make their ideas more concrete. Some were academics, like Ariel Phillips of Harvard, whose specialty is group dynamics. Others were drawn from Ms. Smiths black book filled with an array of fixers and crafters people whose careers have been spent solving problems by turning metal, plastic, wood, circuitry and motors into working devices. They included Dennis Nagle, a former weapons designer who abandoned the profession, he said, during the Summer of Love and turned to lighting design and other things, like the 24-ton array of speaker cabinets for a Guns N Roses concert.

The mentors task was making things work. Ladies and gentlemen, were on the verge of a Home Depot run, announced Jock Brandis, who had driven to the workshop from Wilmington, N.C. After a career building contraptions on movie sets, Mr. Brandis now helps run the Full Belly Project, which develops machines to simplify village work.

Mr. Brandis noted that the budget for developing a peanut sheller for a Malian village was far different from that for building a camera-toting vehicle in rural Mexico to film Antonio Banderas galloping through the desert as Zorro. But the challenge of filling a niche with limited materials and tools is similar.

The other similarity is that both kinds of design begin with a blank slate. As Mr. Brandis put it: Its, Heres the model high-rise made of Styrofoam, and then the flying saucer has to fly into it, and we need to shoot it three times from three different angles, and next Tuesday its got to happen.

At the workshop, Mr. Brandis examined with approval one groups design for an oven with three grates of progressively finer mesh to hold charcoal fuel, so that big pieces that have not burned down stay separate from more fully consumed fuel, limiting harmful smoke.

What you try to do in virtually every situation is make their lives more efficient, he said. Thats what the big revolution in America was between 1860 and 1960 that a person doing a days work can produce a lot more product. And that means time is more valuable and that means he has more time to do other things.

Ashley Thomas, an entering senior at M.I.T., explained the appeal of such work while struggling with a teetering metal frame for a cooler that uses evaporation from wet fabric instead of electrical components to draw heat from its contents. The idea was conceived with participants from Tibet, where meat must be stored for weeks in isolated rural areas, and India, where heat can quickly ruin a vendors inventory.

Imagine a fruit vendor in a rural area or the slums, explained Deepa Dubey, a partner of Ms. Thomas, who studies product design as a graduate student in Kanpur, India. He comes with all his fruit and vegetables. At the end of the day he makes one dollar, and whatever is left he has to throw it away because he cant store it.

Ms. Thomas said, Amys class is about the hardest class to get into at M.I.T., including at the Sloan School, which is basically about how to make a million dollars after you graduate.

She added: Its taking industrial design theory and applying it to where you can have the greatest impact. Here, $5 worth of angle iron and towels could mean a months supply of food. To me, thats just worth so much more than spending that amount of time working on designing a slick new computer.
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’Green’ prison softens tough convicts: a left-of-center platform piece re crime?

Posted by: “[email protected]
Sun Sep 9, 2007 3:28 am (PST)

‘Green’ prison softens tough convicts By Neil Arun BBC News Convicts at a remote Norwegian prison are striving to save the planet while serving time.

From its peaceful island location, lapped by fjord waters, the Bastoey prison aims to become a beacon for environmentally friendly incarceration.

Inmates at the minimum-security facility have been recycling their rubbish and installing solar panels to shrink their carbon footprint.

Bastoey’s mixed population of drug smugglers, fraudsters, rapists and murderers grow organic vegetables and tend to animals that eventually find their way back to the prison kitchen.

Many of the men are nearing the end of sentences served in Norway’s tougher jails.
Bastoey is the beginning of their rehabilitation - a way of easing their re-entry into society.

“If you are sentenced for a long time in a high-security prison, you are afraid of going back into society, going out and about,” prison officer Trina Smith told the BBC News website. “On this island, the whole environment cools them down,” she says.

Fewer guards, no guns

Bastoey prison has its own beach and fields. Cows, sheep and chicken kept at a farm are looked after by the prisoners.

The animals are reared for their meat but are not allowed to be slaughtered at the site.

Horses are also kept, used instead of trucks to do much of the haulage work, Ms Smith says.

She says Bastoey’s inmates lead busy lives. Besides tending to the livestock, they can maintain the prison’s buildings, work in its kitchen or look after the boat linking Bastoey to the mainland.

Ms Smith believes society at large reaps dividends from the drive to make the prison greener.

“We want to make the prisoners more aware of their environment,” she says, adding that those released rarely re-offend.

According to a press release issued by prison director Oeyvind Alnaes: “Living in an environment that gives them individual responsibility, challenges and demands… can motivate inmates to change their behaviour.”

Prison officials have also been quoted as saying the facility is cheaper to run than other prisons.

The jail meets many of its own energy and food needs and is policed by fewer staff than other, more secure, facilities.

According to Ms Smith, no more than four guards watch over some 115 prisoners during the evenings. They do not carry guns.

‘Responsible’ escapes

Prisoners who break the jail’s rules risk being transferred to a more secure facility - a potent deterrent, Ms Smith says.

Those who flee the facility before their time is up have one obligation - to phone the jail.

“We tell all the prisoners that if they escape, they must telephone to let us know they’ve made it safely to the mainland,” Ms Smith says.

The phone call spares the prison from having to organise an expensive search-and-rescue mission in the fjord. Ms Smith says no one has escaped successfully in the last five years.

“I was on duty one night when we noticed a boat had gone missing,” she says. “We called the police, who rang back an hour later to say the boat had been found.”

“They found the prisoner too - by following his footprints in the snow.”

Green goals

Some prisoners at Bastoey have been unwilling to leave at the end of their sentences, Ms Smith says.

“Their sentences might have been reduced for good behaviour - but they will then apply to serve their full sentence, so they can stay at Bastoey.”

“It’s usually when they have no one waiting for them outside, nothing to look forward to.”

The authorities at Bastoey hope other facilities in Norway and beyond will copy their example. Visitors to the site so far have left impressed, Ms Smith says.

But, she says, much work must still be done on Bastoey’s path to carbon-neutrality.

“We are now looking to reduce our electricity consumption and to recycle all the waste from our old landfill sites.”

Story from BBC NEWS
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Riverwest Co-op Blueberry Pancake Sunday Morning Gatherings

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Margaret Groppi Rozga Memoir & 40th Anniversary Events re Milwaukee Open Housing Marches

The YMCA’s Community Development Center is proud to announce the March On Milwaukee Production to take place at the Scottish Rites center on September 27, 2007 @ 7pm.

Forty years ago next August, many Milwaukee residents marched and protested for an unprecedented (200) days for the right to live where they wanted. This project hopes to:

1. Allow Milwaukee youth & families to learn about a major civil rights protest in the Open Housing Movement that took place here in Milwaukee.
2. Pay homage and give significant meaning to those who organized, fought, marched and lost their lives in the protest for fair housing in the city of Milwaukee.
3. Reignite discussion, personal responsibility and refocus attention to problems of social inequality that lay unresolved.

In addition, the desire to share what was learned from this portion of the Civil Rights Movement is one of importance and should be portrayed too:

  • Neighborhood families
  • Church members & businesses
  • Our public, private schools
  • Community agencies and associations

With all of this being said, we are excited about the March On Milwaukee production. The potential impact that a project of this volume can have in such a centered venue of the community can be remarkable! Won’t you join us?

Mario Hall
Community Development Specialist
Community Development Center
Northside YMCA
(414) 374–9444

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Grace Lee Boggs Extols Milwaukee’s Growing Power Building the Beloved Community

Building the Beloved Community in the City
By Grace Lee Boggs
Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education
2006 Congress on Urban Ministry
Chicago, March 24, 2006

Thank you, Bill Wylie-Kellerman, for that thoughtful introduction and for the years of struggle that you, Jeanie, Shea and I have shared in Detroit.

This is the second time that I have spoken to a SCUPE Congress. The first was eight years ago in 1998 when I was 82 years young. It is good to be back, somewhat less mobile, with more powerful hearing aids, fewer teeth but with most of my marbles.

I am often asked why I remain so active and alert at my age. I think it is because in the last 65 years I have had the privilege of participating in most of the great humanizing movements of the second half of the last century Labor, Civil Rights, Black Power, Women’s, Asian American, Environmental Justice, Anti-War. Each was a
tremendously transformative experience for me, expanding my understanding of what it means to be an American and a human being, and challenging me to keep deepening my thinking about how to bring about radical social change.

However, I cannot recall any previous period when the issues were so basic, so interconnected and so demanding of everyone living in this country, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, age or national origin. At this point in the continuing evolution of our country and of the human race, I believe that everyone needs to stop thinking of ourselves as victims and to recognize that we must each become a part of the solution because we are each a part of the problem and because human beings have never had to face questions of such depth and at any previous period in history.

The the questions we face are:

How are we going to make our livings in an age when Hi-Tech and outsourcing have brought us to the point where the number of workers needed to produce goods and services is constantly diminishing? In a society that is becoming increasingly jobless, where will we get the imagination, the courage and the determination to reconceptualize the meaning and purpose of Work as something that is done to produce use-values and develop our humanness, as distinguished from a Job or Employment which is done in industrial societies, capitalist or socialist, mainly for wages or exchange values?

What is going to happen to cities like Detroit that were once the arsenal of democracy? Now that they’ve been abandoned by industry, are we just going to throw them away? Or can we rebuild, redefine and respirit them as models of 21st Century self-reliant, sustainable multicultural communities? Who is going to begin this new story?

How are we going to redefine Education so that 30–50% of inner city children do not drop out of school, thus ensuring that large numbers will end up in prison? Is it enough to call for “Education, not Incarceration” as the Black Radical Congress has done? Or does our “command and control” educational system, created a hundred years ago to prepare the majority for factory work, bear a large part of the responsibility for this ongoing destruction of young lives?

How are we going to build a 21st century America in which people of all races and ethnicities live together in harmony, and Euro-Americans in particular embrace their new role as one among many minorities constituting the new multi-ethnic majority?

What is going to motivate us to start caring for our biosphere instead of using our mastery of technology to increase the volume and speed at which we are making our planet uninhabitable for other species and eventually for ourselves? Can we create new ways to live more simply so that others can simply live?

And, especially since 9/11, how are we to achieve reconciliation with the two-thirds of the world that increasingly resents our economic, military and cultural domination? Can we accept their anger as a challenge rather than a threat? Out of our new vulnerability can we recognize that our safety now depends on our loving and caring for the peoples of the world as we love and care for our own families? Or can we conceive of security only in terms of the Patriot Act and exercising our formidable military power?

When the chickens come home to roost for our invasion of Iraq, as they are already doing, where will we get the courage and the imagination to win by losing? What will help us recognize that we have brought on our defeats by our own arrogance, our own irresponsibility and our own unwillingness, as individuals and as a nation, to engage in seeking radical solutions to the growing inequality between the nations of the North and those of the South? Can we create a new paradigm of our selfhood and our nationhood? Or are we so locked into nationalism, racism and determinism that we will be driven to seek scapegoats for our frustrations and failures - as the Germans did after World War I, thus aiding and abetting the onset of Hitler and the Holocaust?

We live at a very dangerous time because these questions are no longer abstractions. Our lives, the lives of our children and future generations, and even the survival of the planet depend on our willingness to transform ourselves into active planetary and global citizens who, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual society.”

The time is already very late and we have a long way to go to meet these challenges. Over the decades of economic expansion that began with the so-called American Century after World War II, tens of millions of Americans have become increasingly self-centered and materialistic, more concerned with our possessions and individual
careers than with the state of our neighborhoods, cities, country and planet, closing our eyes and hearts to the many forms of violence that have been exploding in our inner cities and in powder kegs all over the rest of the world both because the problems have seemed so insurmountable and because just struggling for our own survival has consumed so much of our time and energy.

At the same time the various identity struggles, while remediating to some degree the great wrongs that have been done to workers, African Americans, Native Americans and other people of color, women, gays and lesbians, and the disabled, and while helping to humanize our society overall, have also had a shadow side in the sense that they have encouraged us to think of ourselves more as determined than as self-determining, more as victims of “isms” (racism, sexism, capitalism) than as human beings who have the power of choice and who for our own survival must assume individual and collective responsibility for creating a new nation that is loved rather than feared and that does not have to bribe and bully other nations to win support.

These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us needs to undergo a tremendous philosophical and spiritual transformation. Each of us needs to be awakened to a personal and compassionate recognition of the inseparable interconnection between our minds, hearts, and bodies, between our physical and psychical well-being, and between our selves and all the other selves in our country and in the world. Each of us needs to stop being a passive observer of the suffering that we know is going on in the world and start identifying with the sufferers. Each of us needs to make a leap that is both practical and philosophical, beyond determinism to self-determination. Each of us has to be true to and enhance our own humanity by embracing and practicing the conviction that as human beings we have Free Will; that despite the powers and principalities that are bent on objectifying and commodifying us and all our human relationships, the interlocking crises of our time require that we exercise the power within us to make principled choices in our ongoing daily and political lives, choices that will eventually although not inevitably (there are no guarantees), make a difference.

How are we going to bring about these transformations? Politics as usual, debate and argument, even voting, are no longer sufficient. Our system of representative democracy, which was created by a great revolution, no longer engages the hearts and minds of the great majority of Americans. Vast numbers of people no longer bother to go to the polls, either because they don’t care what happens to the country or the world, or because they don’t believe that voting will make a difference on the profound and inter- connected issues that really matter. Even organizing or joining massive protests against disastrous policies and demanding more progressive policies fall short because although they may demonstrate that we are on the right side politically, they do not provide a transformative vision of the changed world and the changed human beings that are now both necessary and possible. What we urgently need in this period are the kinds of self-transforming and structure-transforming direct actions moving us towards the radical revolution in values advocated by Martin Luther King in the last three years of his life, when he was faced on the one hand, with the reality that our government had become the greatest purveyor of violence in today’s world and on the other, with the escalating violence of angry and desperate blacks in our northern ghettos.

In Gandhi’s words, we must be the change we want to see in the world.

Thankfully, that is what people coming from many different backgrounds in countless and widely scattered places in this country and around the world, are beginning to recognize, not because of what Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. said, but because, as we enter the 21st century, present and impending disasters in our relations with one another, to the Earth, to other species and to other peoples of the world are encouraging this kind of cultural creativity.

For example, Paul Hawken of the Natural Capital Institute estimates that at least 130,000 self-healing civic groups of various sizes have emerged in response to globalization in countries around the world. Most are in the two-thirds of the world that we used to call the “Third World.” But they also exist in this country.

For example, Detroit, my home town, was once the shining example of the success of American capitalism, encouraging and reinforcing the conventional wisdom that technological progress is the key to social progress. Over the last thirty years, however, it has become a wasteland, a symbol of the coming collapse of American urban civilization. A population which reached two million in the l950s when I came to the city now hovers around 900,000. Physically the city is more devastated than Dresden, Berlin and Tokyo after the massive bombings of World War II. Buildings that were once architectural marvels, like the Statler Hilton and the Book Cadillac hotels, Union Station and the Michigan Theatre, lie in ruins, earmarks like the Roman Colosseum of the decline of an empire. On city planning maps white spaces now outnumber black ones, reminders of the hundreds of thousands of housing units that have vanished in the last thirty years. Many of the institutional structures that remain are fenced in, and in most neighborhoods people live behind triple locked doors and barred windows. Our public school system is in shambles. Almost 50% of teenagers drop out or are pushed out before graduation, many of them drifting into lives of crime and incarceration. Because each dropout represents a loss of nearly $7000 in state funding, schools are being closed down and teachers laid off.

Under these circumstances, it would be easy to abandon all hope for Detroit’s future - or to be satisfied with pseudo-solutions like casinos and luxury sports stadia. Yet precisely because physical devastation on such a huge scale boggles the mind, it also frees the imagination, especially of activists/artists/artisans, to perceive reality anew; to see vacant lots not as eyesores but as empty spaces inviting the viewer to fill them in with other forms, other structures that presage a new kind of city that will embody and nurture new life-affirming values in sharp contrast to the Materialism, Individualism and Competition that have brought us to this denouement.

This new kind of city can’t be built overnight. To create it is going to take time and struggle, including political struggles over opposing policies and directions. It can’t be built from the top down by politicians reacting to crises or by developers seizing opportunities to make megaprofits. It must emerge organically from the initiative, imagination, commitment, passions and cooperation of a lot of different people with diverse skills and gifts, putting their hearts, heads and hands together to make a difference.

That is what has been happening since the mid-1980s when crack came to Detroit and with it a tremendous increase in violence. In the summer of 1986 47 kids under 16 were killed and 365 wounded. The problem, according to Coleman Young, our first black mayor, was an economic one, the lack of jobs Therefore his solution was also economic: a casino industry that would provide 50,000 jobs. To defeat him we joined Detroiters Uniting, a broad coalition including blue and white collar workers, cultural workers, clergy, political leaders and professionals. However, in the course of the struggle (which we won) he called us “naysayers” and demanded that we come up with an alternative.

Recognizing the legitimacy of Young’s challenge, my late husband, Jimmy Boggs, made a speech entitled REBUILDING DETROIT; AN ALTERNATIVE TO CASINO GAMBLING (see boggscenter.org) in which he pointed out that our concerns were not only with the economy but with “how our city has been deteriorating socially, politically, morally and ethically.” Therefore we need to envision a new kind of city in which Detroit citizens “take responsibility for creating the local enterprises that would ensure our livelihoods, instead of continuing to depend on and beg corporations with no loyalty to the city or its residents to provide us with jobs.”

To give a sense of how that new kind of city could be built, in 1992 we founded Detroit Summer, a multicultural, intergenerational youth program to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up. Since1992 Detroit Summer has been involving young people in a variety of activities: planting community gardens, painting public murals, rehabbing houses and creating Back Alley Bikes, while also expanding their minds and imaginations through workshops and intergenerational dialogues.

Detroit Summer’s community gardening brought us into immediate contact with the “Gardening Angels,” a loose network of elders, many of them born and raised in the South, who were already planting gardens on vacant lots. They were doing this, they explained, not only to produce food but to prevent crime and give youth born and raised in a pushbutton world a sense of process.

I cannot overstate the significance of this gardening. As we enter the 21st century the conviction is growing, especially in the generation born before World War II, that we must bring the country back into the city in order to heal ourselves from the psychological, ecological and philosophical effects of four centuries of Western industrialization and urbanization.

Thus, within walking distance of my house on the city’s east side, Brother Rick from the Capuchin Monastery has created Earthworks to produce food for WIC mothers. Approximately five miles west, the Catherine Ferguson Academy, a public high school for teenage mothers, not only provides a nursery for the students’ infants and toddlers but engages the mothers in life-affirming activities like gardening, growing a fruit orchard, building a barn and caring for farm animals. As a result, 80% of these students go on to college.

All kinds of people, urban planners, architects, journalists, filmmakers come from around the world to study how Detroit is grappling with deindustrialization. Hundreds of students from neighboring universities, especially the University of Michigan, participate in community-service learning programs in the city or spend a week or summer or their Alternative Spring break on our rebuilding projects. Every year a few students decide to settle in the city after graduation because it offers them a unique opportunity to participate in creating the future.

As a result, we now have a well-organized Detroit Agricultural Network which not only provides training in gardening and food preparation skills but organizes neighborhood cluster groups. Every August the Detroit Agricultural Network organizes a tour to visit community gardens. Three years ago we needed two buses to transport about 80 people on the tour. Last year we needed eight buses.

An increasing number of schools are also planting gardens to introduce children to life-affirming activities. For example, Rahiel Housey, a teacher at the Holbrook School in Hamtramck (a small municipality inside the boundaries of Detroit where immigrant families from the Mideast have settled) decided to build a school community garden because she was sick and tired of the children walking across a vacant lot full of dead cats, discarded tires and old mattresses to get to school. Her efforts were rewarded one day when a little girl. who was suspected of being a mute because she had never uttered a word, suddenly held up a radish and said, “Mrs. Housey, this is a radish.”

One of the most exciting aspects of our work in Detroit is the synergy that has developed between the community and the university. An example of this is the Adamah vision created by students in the Architectural Department of the University of Detroit Mercy, under the leadership of visiting architect Kyong Park and department head Steve Vogel. Adamah, which means “of the earth” in Hebrew, is a vision, inspired by what was already going on in Detroit, for rebuilding a 2–1/2 square mile area in one of the city’s most devastated on the east side of Detroit close to the Boggs Center. The vision begins with unearthing Bloody Run Creek which had been covered over and absorbed into the city’s sewer system around the turn of the century and turning it into a canal for both recreation and irrigation. It includes greenhouses, grazing land and a dairy, a tree farm and lumber mill, a community center, community gardens, a shrimp farm and windmills to generate electricity and living and work spaces in the former Packard auto plant.

The meaning of what we are doing in Detroit can be summed up in the slogan of the 1999 National Black Farmers Conference: “We can’t free ourselves until we feed ourselves.” Or as my friend Michelle Brown puts it: “It is only by providing for our most basic needs that we are empowered to make our own choices.”

I was reminded of these truths when two weeks ago Shea Howell and I participated in a two day training session of Growing Power, a two acre urban farm on the northwest side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It was an unforgettable experience for us and the approximately seventy other participants who included youngsters and oldsters from all over the country and from many different backgrounds.

For example, I was in a project planning workshop with Wesley, a 13-year old African American middle schooler from the neighborhood, and Hank, a middle-aged Puerto Rican psychiatrist interested in organizing a similar urban farm in his Rochester, New York

Growing Power is the realization of the imagination of 6′7″ Will Allen, the first African American to play basketball with the University of Miami. Raised on a farm in Maryland, Will never forgot the sense of extended family and community that he experienced as a child because his family always had plenty of food and took it for
granted that they should share with those in need. So, after a pro basketball career and working in sales and sales technology with Proctor & Gamble, he decided in the early 1990s to buy a two acre plot in “Greenhouse Alley,” a stretch of small farms that fed Milwaukee in the early decades of the 20th century.

Will began with a Vision a Vision of Independence, independence from poverty, independence from chemicals, independence from far-off food sources, independence from farming techniques that are no longer viable given our ever dwindling supply of farmland and fossil fuels, and also independence from the illusion that community can exist without individuals accepting responsibility.

As a result, Growing Power has blossomed into a model food system concentrated in five greenhouses on two acres which now includes

  • An aquaphonic system in which mosquito size fishlings enter a tank at one end of the greenhouse and emerge as 2–1/2 pounders at the other.
  • 10,000 pounds of compost, produced weekly through combining redworms with food waste, to remediate the soil of Growing Power and other gardens.
  • A Rainbow Coalition of African American, EuroAmerican and Hmong farmers who supply local restaurants and families with weekly Market Baskets.
  • A Youth Corps Farm program which starts kids out when they are eight or nine and works with them until they go to college. This program gives kids what the schools don’t but should provide. They work hard, learn how to think on their feet, and are challenged to solve problems instead of giving up and complaining when something doesn’t work out immediately. To save our public schools and our young people I am convinced (as I point out in this pamphlet “Freedom Schooling: Bringing the Neighbor back into the ‘hood”, compiled from my weekly columns in the Michigan Citizen) that this is the kind of education our children need from K-12. It is also the kind of self-and structure- transforming project education that in the last three years of his life Martin Luther King was advocating for young people “in our dying cities.”

We’re not just growing food, the folks at Growing Power say. We are growing community.

These examples from Detroit and Milwaukee are two glimpses of the future that are springing up in the United States.. As members of Beloved Communities Shea Howell, Nelson Johnson and I are seeking out and connecting other examples of people growing community. They are mostly local, small, unconnected, and unrecognized, but as organizational consultant Margaret Wheatley explains in her book LEADERSHIP AND MODERN SCIENCE (p.44):

“From a Newtonian perspective, our efforts often seem too small, and we doubt that our actions will contribute incrementally to large-scale change. Step by step, system by system we aspire to develop enough mass or force to alter the larger system.”

But a quantum view explains the success of small efforts quite differently.

Acting locally allows us to be inside the movement and flow of the system, participating in all those complex events occurring simultaneously. We are more likely to be sensitive to the dynamics of this system, and thus more effective. However, changes in small places also affect the global system, not through incrementalism, but because every small system participates in an unbroken wholeness. Activities in one part of the whole create effects that appear in distant places. Because of these unseen connections, there is potential value in working anywhere in the system. We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. I have learned that in this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a question of ‘critical mass.’ It’s always about critical connections.”

In Detroit and Milwaukee we are making these critical connections.

  • We are viewing the crises in our communities in our schools and in our city not only as a danger but as an opportunity.
  • We have taken very seriously MLK’s recognition in the last three years of his life of our need for a radical revolution in values, not only against racism but against materialism and militarism, and his advocacy of self-transforming and structure-transforming projects for young people “in our dying cities.”

Last night when Shea Howell and I arrived at the hotel, we ran into Ed Rowe, our good friend who pastors Central Methodist Church in downtown Detroit. In the course of our discussion we concluded that it is very difficult to turn around a huge educational-industrial complex like the public school system but that at this stage pastors in every city can begin to accelerate that turnaround by creating afterschool and summer programs in which school children and youth engage in community-building activities like maintaining neighborhood streets, planting community gardens, recycling waste, painting public murals and thus, almost overnight, begin making our neighborhoods safer, livelier and healthier.

In 1954, Martin Luther King Jr. was only 25 years old when he became pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, armed with his faith in Christianity, the dialectical ideas of Hegel (who was his favorite philosopher), and the example of Gandhi’s leadership in the struggle to liberate India from British colonialism. One year later, he was leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the struggle which inspired the great human identity and ecological movements of the last century because it was rooted in the concept of two-sided transformation, of ourselves and our society.

That is the kind of conviction and commitment it is going to take to build beloved communities in our cities.

‘Hope is a kind of birth; it doesn’t come out of what went before; it comes out despite what went before. Hope means that another world is possible, not that it is guaranteed.” Rebecca Solnit
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Michael Frome, 87 Year Old Renowned Environmental Writer/Activist “Icon,” Book Readings

Michael Frome, Bronx born environmental journalist, now 87, is to my mind as grand as Will Allen!

A reading by Michael Frome from newly published memoirs, “Rebel on the Road: And Why I Was Never Neutral” Trumen State University Press, 2007 would inspire many for the good cause!

Michael Frome’s life can be summed up in one word: passion. As a man, he is devoted to his ideals, family, and friends. As an environmental icon, he is one of a special breed of journalist, fighting for a cause without concern for his own well-being, wealth, or relationships. We are blessed his cause is the Earth.

Paul Pritchard, president, National Park Trust

Michael Frome’s story stands as a rock of unswerving high standards and courage in defense of the earth’s wild places and wild things. His compelling life story inspires us to embrace the highest standards for environmental protection and to hold fast to those ideals despite personal sacrifice. The earth needs more defenders and Frome shows us the way.

Mark Peterson, executive director, Audubon Minnesota

As a seasoned watchdog and critic, no other environmental writer gave a more objective, well-documented assessment of the failures and betrayals of those in power who violated the public trust. Michael Frome’s memoirs reveal his support of activist leaders around the country who bring accountability to government. It is in these everyday citizens who fight for the public interest that he finds hope for democracy and our nation.

Stewart Brandborg, former executive director, Wilderness Society

[email protected]

Read it all in Heal the Earth, Heal the Soul: Collected Essays on Wilderness, Politics and the Media, with profiles of old heroes and a lot more. Order your copy from:

Bartram Books/Big MPG
811 East Vienna Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(Phone 414–332–2900; Fax 414–332–3919; email: [email protected]).
The price is $19.95, plus $3 shipping. Read and enjoy!

Forthcoming June 2007
Rebel on the Road: And Why I Was Never Neutral
Backorder online at tsup.truman.edu (free shipping for online orders)

“Michael Frome is the pioneer conservation journalist, a premier environmental muckraker. His memoir is a reflection on years spent teaching himself and others to write subjectively, live purposefully, and age gracefully.”

From: Laurel Tangen-Foster
To: Richard Bend, Don Emery, John Cavalieri, Nancy Nesslinger, Amanda snyder, Claire Emery, James Tangen-Foster, Norm Chaffee, Doug Thomas, Steve Dess, Mike Link
Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2007 14:24:15 −0700 (PDT)
Subject: Woodbury green charter school

Greetings All:

Please see link below to article from today’s Mpls Star Trib on Woodbury’s new, “green” City Hall building.

Our proposed K-5 Michael Frome Academy charter school, sponsored by the Audubon Center of the North Woods, if approved, would potentially be located across from Woodbury’s new City Hall!

Our proposed school site is adjacent to the Math and Science Academy. We have already had meetings with the City of Woodbury and our plans to build a state-of-the-art green elementary school facility with a “green” curriculum have been well received.

It’s exciting to read this article, and it is most certainly an affirmation of our founders’ vision. The Michael Frome Academy’s founding group and our Woodbury community stakeholders are on the same wavelength!


Best regards,

Laurel Tangen-Foster, Ph.D.
Founding Board Member
Michael Frome Academy
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High Solids Two-Phase Anaerobic Digestion Process (HS2PAD) and Carbon Neutrality

Milwaukee Renaissance. Mr. Heffernan, might you share with us what the Growing Power Anaerobic Digester’s connection with “carbon neutrality” might be?

Mark Heffernan. There are many environmental issues surrounding the processing of organic wastes. But all processing of terrestrial organics becomes carbon neutral provided they are either burned or truly “aerobically” composted or anaerobically digested with 100% capture and utilization of the product methane. Setting aside the various issues regarding combustion technologies apart from CO2, what this means is that landfills with their very inefficient gas capture systems are not really capable of 100% capture of the product methane, so they cannot really claim a carbon neutral status. Additionally, many, if not most, composting operations cannot guarantee that their operations are truly aerobic. So these operations are questionable as regards their carbon neutral claims, since the methane produced when they go anaerobic escapes to the atmosphere. Methane is 20–30 times more harmful as a global warming gas than CO2. So any terrestrial organic material that is allowed to go anaerobic in its decomposition and not capture 100% of the product methane is actually more of a problem than if it degrades aerobically or burns. Our High Solids Two-Phase Anaerobic Digestion Process (HS2PAD) will capture 100% of the product methane, and will, therefore, be able to make a legitimate claim for carbon neutrality.

There are some nuances as regards total carbon and the timing and form of the release of this carbon. But I would contend that uncontrolled methane production and venting to the atmosphere contributes to the immediate carbon crisis no matter the issues surrounding the source of the terrestrial organics vs fossil materials.

Note: If you have questions about Growing Power’s Anaerobic Digester project, please send them to [email protected] Tyler Schuster, MilwaukeeRenaissance’s first-ever “intern,” will upload this and other on-line interviews with Mark at the Agora page of the Milwaukee Renaissance.
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London Farmers To Visit Growing Power In The Windy City And The Holy City Of The Sweetwater Seas

From iron curtain to urban farming speech?

One of the great sons of England, along with his brothers and sisters two generations back, captured with words, the great historical imperative that was the Cold War. That was Winston Churchill in Fulton Mo. and his “Iron Curtain Speech.”

Will the London Farmers visit offer us visions to face up to our epochs great challenge? Will a presidential contender join in the celebration of Growing Power’s Urban Agriculture Demonstration in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park, next to the Buckingham Fountain, and finally give a defining speech on sustainability that will help us respond to the environmental and food security challenges?

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Grace Lee Boggs Tells Bill Moyers the City Transforming Value of Will Allen’s Growing Power Team

Last Friday’s Bill Moyers Journal interview with Grace Lee Boggs - in it she mentions Will Allen and Growing Power. View the video or click on the transcripts and read this wonderful interview. Will is mentioned about 3/4 of the way down.

Thanks to Margaret Bert Mittelstadt for the heads up.
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Great Lakes Djerba Connections

Milwaukee Experiments

by Habeeb Salloum

No different from Ulysses, who some authors have described as Djerba’s first tourist, a traveler will find the people of this Tunisian isle friendly and hospitable. From the first day of a visit, the delightful charms of Djerba (also spelled Jerba) will hold most travelers spellbound.

Why this island, which travelers have labeled, ‘Isle of Forgetfulness’, holds visitors under its spell, is virtually unexplainable. A great many attribute it to its magic halo - a combination of a clear-blue sky, shining white houses, clean and well-kept towns, tree-covered countryside and warm, yet not too hot climate. Whatever the case, a good number of travelers go into raptures when describing this island - made famous by Ulysses.

Covered with trees and flowers, the island is in reality one huge oasis covered with more than 1,000,000 date palms and 700,000 olive trees, some over 3000 years old. In between, small fields of apricots, carobs, figs, grapes, grenadines, lemons, mandarins, oranges and pomegranates cover almost every empty space. Only travelers dreaming of Djerba’s mythology are usually disappointed, nowhere is the fabled lotus fruit to be found.

Here and there amid these fields, watered from some 2700 wells, are the breathtaking white, small villages and isolated homes. The striking white houses, known as menzels, and their architecture, unique to the island, appear like white jewels, sprinkled between the greenery. Their rounded domes and bright snowy color, embellished by sky-blue wrought iron trimmings, sparkle in the sunlight and give the buildings an appealing charm. Inside, there are clean courtyards filled with trees and flowers. Set amid these fairy tale buildings are to be found the some eye-catching 200 small mosques - many of the older ones built as fortresses to ward off invaders.

Houmt-Souk, which means market center, with a population of 45,000, is the capital of the island and one of the most picturesque urban centers in Tunisia. It is a well-kept bright town centered around the souk area, overflowing with handicraft products. Traditional clothing, blankets woven since the time of Hannibal, beautifully wrought gold and silver jewelry, leather goods, straw mats and beautiful pottery saturate the markets.

Even though overpowered by Houmt-Souk, each of the other tiny towns on the island, is noted for some specialty in its artisan’s handiwork or is a place of historic importance. Ajim, from where a ferry can be taken to the mainland, is a sponge fishing town; El- May has a colorful market; Fatou produces fine hand-woven baskets and rush mats; Guellala has been the center for the hand manufacture of exquisite ceramics and pottery since the time King Midas; La Ghriba is noted for its synagogue and adjoining monastery whose foundations were laid in 584 B.C.; Mahboubine is famous for its backyard gardens; Midoun is celebrated for its Gougou dancers; and Sedouikech is well-known for its handmade camel muzzles, fishing baskets and straw hats.

These attractive and comfortable hotels, hospitable and friendly people with a slow-moving lifestyle, breathtaking countryside, mild winters, cool summers and tantalizing sea, make Djerba one of Tunisia’s most popular tourist spots. Located on Europe’s doorsteps, the island which some call the ‘Little Mediterranean Polynesia’ has since the time of Ulysses been drawing travelers. Annually, it hosts some 600,000 visitors - 50% of these Germans.

With the softness of its sweet-serene air, perfumed with the flowers of the many fruit trees, overshadowed by clear blue sky and ringed by golden sands, this paradise isle entraps even the most skeptical visitor. Our guide had a point when he remarked as we climbed the ferry at Ajim for the mainland, “I always think of Djerba as Tunisia’s isle of forgetfulness.”

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Pilgrimage to Djerba

Sometimes, traveling overseas can be a religious experience. Or, at least, traveling can expose you to new religious traditions. That was the case for me when my husband, Ethan, and I visited the Tunisian island of Djerba, off the coast of North Africa, for the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer.

Lag B’Omer occurs thirty-three days after the start of Passover. Its origins are so ancient and so obscure that today no one can say definitively what the holiday celebrates. The range of ascribed meanings include military braveries, relief from a plague, and springtime romance. In America, the few people who do celebrate Lag BOmer usually do so with a picnic to remember Jewish scholars who, during the time of the Roman Empire, took to the hills around Jerusalem for their studies in order to avoid detection by Roman guards. Before my trip to Djerba, Lag BOmer had always come and gone without my even knowing it.

On the island of Djerba (pronounced “jerba”), Lag B’Omer is a colorful festival lasting two days; two days steeped in Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah. Kabbalah has become a modest sensation in America over the past few years, attracting the attention of celebrities such as Madonna and Roseanne. Now, I imagine Madonna has seen a lot, but I don’t think even she has made the pilgrimage to Djerba.

Ethan and I made the pilgrimage in 1996, joining several thousand other pilgrims from Tunis, Europe, and Israel. The day before the holiday, we got into our jeep and drove south from Tunis. We passed miles of olive groves and date farms, an occasional industrial town, and a number of isolated villages comprised of not much more than a half dozen concrete-box buildings. After six hours we reached the car ferry and made the short crossing onto Djerba. The island was flat and dusty, and we drove the two and half kilometers across the island to check into our hotel.
Jewish good luck symbols

The next morning we drove to the El Ghriba synagogue in the village of Hara Seguira for the start of the festival. As we passed through the village, we saw good luck symbols painted onto the walls of homes—evidence of the mysticism that pervades Djerba’s Jewish life. The simple stick figures of fish, menorahs, and hands were all hand-painted in vibrant blue on the houses whitewashed walls. The strong Mediterranean sun made the designs look especially brilliant.

Hara Seguira and Djerba’s other Jewish village, Hara Khebira, trace their origins to the exile of Jews from Jerusalem that followed the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 B.C. A popular myth among Tunisian Jews holds that during the reconstruction of the Temple in the year 70, Djerba’s Jews refused the prophet Ezra’s call to return to Jerusalem. Ezra cursed the Jews of Djerba, according to the myth, so that no descendant of the Temple priests, the Kohanim, would survive a year on the island. And Tunisians often say it’s still true.

We arrived at the synagogue and walked in. The walls were covered in tiles of eight-sided patterns in blues and browns. As visitors moved about the room, groups of men recited the daily morning prayer service. Several groups asked Ethan and me to join them in making blessings over glasses of a locally-produced fig liquor called bokha.

A crowd of women jostled each other near a grotto at the back of the synagogue. Djerba’s villagers say the grotto contains a stone from the First Temple, which was magically transported from Jerusalem and dropped out of the sky to mark the spot where El Ghriba was to be built. The women had come to place eggs in the grotto in the hope of gaining mystic intervention in conceiving children.

I eased my way through the crowd of women and stuck my head through a hole in the back wall of the synagogue to get a look at the grotto. Not only did I get a look at it, I got a whiff of it, too. The small, dark room was lit only by a few candles on the floor. Layers of raw, broken eggs covered the floor, and the pervading smell was pretty much what you’d expect in a small, unventilated room where layers of raw, broken eggs covered the floor. A woman inside crouched down near the floor because the ceiling was too low for her to stand. She looked up at me, expecting me to pass her more eggs, but I had none to give her, so I backed my head out and made room for the women who had come to do business.

As mid-afternoon approached, we pilgrims moved to a narrow street between the synagogue and its adjoining hostel. Ethan and I found positions on a low, narrow ledge that ran along the wall of the synagogue. The street became so crowded that there was barely room to move.

At three o’clock, a cheer rose up, and dozens of video cameras swung in the direction of the hostel gate. A six-foot-high monument, entirely covered in colorful scarves, emerged into the sun on a cart. The monument, which I would only see close up and uncovered later in the evening, was comprised of red hexagonal tiers covered with gold-colored medallions of Jewish symbols such as Stars of David, menorahs, and plagues bearing the names of ancient Israel’s twelve tribes. A man clung to the top of the monument, directing people to either side of the street. I couldn’t see the men who pulled the cart, so as it moved down the bumpy dirt street, all I could see was a pile of scarves floating spastically through the crowd. Ghriba

The cart made slow progress through the dirt streets of Hara Seghira as marchers crushed in on it, some to decorate the monument with flowers and others to remove the flowers for souvenirs.

Finally, after about an hour, the parade entered a narrow, dusty alley, and at the end of the alley we reached a second synagogue. Men gathered in a small open courtyard while women crowded an adjoining unlit room, and a mixed crowd stood outside to recite the daily afternoon prayers.

People who knew the drill finished with a song in honor of Simeon bar Yochai, a second-century rabbi who many people believe wrote the central book of Kabbalah, the Zohar. When they finished, everyone paraded back to the Ghriba.

Back at the hostel, my husband and I joined the rest of the pilgrims for dinner in a maze of small courtyards filled with sweet barbecue smoke. Out in the main courtyard, hundreds of people listened to live music, talked, laughed and created a moving obstacle course for running children.

As I ate my grilled meat and drank my beer, I thought about my friends back in America, some six or nine hours behind. Some of them (like Madonna, no doubt) were packing their Lag B’Omer picnic baskets. Most of them, though, were living out their day just as they would any other day. Thats what I would have been doing if I were there. But instead, here on Djerba, I spent the day in the sun celebrating with thousands of people, learning new traditions, and considering the possibility that maybe miraculous things do happen. And that wasnt all: I could come back and do it all again tomorrow.

Maria Goldrich has lived overseas with her husband, Ethan, a Foreign Service officer, since 1995. She has an M.B.A. from The George Washington University. When she gets a break from raising her twin daughters, Maria works on her website, Kolot.
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Riverwest Cycling Services

photo by Johannah Rose

Doug McKey has a Pedicab Drivers license from the city of Milwaukee. Its number 001 the first and only one issued this year. So if you get a ride with him, you know youre getting something unique. Doug is offering rides to people at festivals and events throughout the summer. Summerfest was crazy, he said. Look for him in August at the State Fair, and weekend nights around East North Avenue and Water Street entertainment areas. Be the first one on your block to come home safely in a human-powered bike taxi. Planning something special? Make reservations at [email protected]

Article compliments The Riverwest Currents
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Stephanie Phillips of Reclamation Society Blog Link


Reclamation Society Launches Its First City Farm in Harambee.

Here are some pictures to mark the occasion for the start of a city farm and garden in Harambee at 3342 North 5th St.

This project is with the leadership of Reclamation Society’s Stephanie Phillips, Mary Beth Driscoll of Groundwork Milwaukee, the neighboring homeowners (names to be provided0, the Green Initiative of the Harambee North Planning Group, the Riverwork Development Corporation, and UW-Extension Farming Project.

Pictures include nearby buildings and street scenes, including a parking lot for over 20 cars, along with leader Stephanie Phillips and writer/activist Nik Kovac.

Lots of good food, music, and dancing at planting and harvest celebrations forthcoming.

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Green Guild Development Married to Urban Farming and Internet Empowerment

Dear Joe, Stephanie, Fathi, Erik, Paul, Mark, James, and Sharon,

I would like to introduce a concept for your consideration that involves developing a list of

  • urban farmer apprentices and yeomen
  • internet empowerment wizzards
  • green restoration artisans/workers
  • movement workers and social enterprisers

We would get the word out to allies who need “just-in-time” labor power support from time to time
And become something of a “union hall” “guild house” connecting
Good people needing decent gigs on part-time(at least) basis with
Good people needing good workers to help when they get larger projects.

What say?

Why not?

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Grace Lee Boggs “Thoughts on Labor Day” 2007

Re-Spiriting Cities

Self/City Transforming from Employee/Consumers to Citizen/Community Builders


Labor Day was once a great civic holiday, a day when millions of American workers and their families gathered in downtowns across the nation to honor the struggles of workers and their contributions to the well-being and prosperity of our country.

Now for most workers its a day to shop at the mall, barbecue in the backyard, spend a last weekend at the summer cottage.

This huge change in celebrating Labor Day reflects the painful reality that U.S. workers have allowed global capitalism to reduce us to consumers whose main concern is access to cheap goods, even though we know that this access has been achieved by outsourcing or the destruction of our identity as workers.

Down through the ages Work has been one of the most important means by which we civilized ourselves. Through Work we not only produced the goods and services we needed to survive but also formed our moral character. We developed our gifts and skills. We discovered the causal relationship between effort and result and disciplined ourselves. By cooperating with others, we overcame our inborn egocentricity.

That is why it has become so urgent to resist consumerism and create a new identity for ourselves, an identity that includes meaningful Work for everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or national origin, and also the responsibilities of citizenship. Until a significant number of Americans accept this challenge, our society will continue to deteriorate.

Fortunately, as we enter the 21st century, the interlocking crises of global warming. de-industrialized cities, disintegrating communities, a widening gulf between haves and have-nots, and the joblessness and escalating incarceration of inner city youth, are challenging us to begin building local economies and communities to resist destruction of our humanity and life on earth by global capitalism.

We do not have to beg Ford and GM to give us back dehumanizing jobs - so they can lay us off again. Instead of allowing ourselves to be defined by them as producers or consumers, we can redefine ourselves as active citizens, deciding by the local enterprises we create and our consumer choices what our communities and what Work should look like.

In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century critical human values like community and self-government were neglected because the main objective of western societies was economic development to overcome material scarcity. To achieve this objective, African Americans were enslaved and Native Americans exterminated.

Work was replaced by Labor which was regarded by employers and employees as a necessary evil. In the interest of higher profits, bosses sought to eliminate, speed it up, reduce it. Workers struggled for shorter work hours and higher wages to compensate for their fragmentation in the process of production,

However, now that the achievement of material abundance has reduced us to consumers and also created a planetary emergency, the time is ripe to build a movement to create a new human identity for ourselves as active citizens and community-builders.

As Mike Wimberly explained last week in Work We Can Put our Hearts Into, it will take a profoundly spiritual movement like the civil rights movement to bring about this transformation.

Well need not only the soul-uplifting meetings and singing of the civil rights movement but highly-disciplined, non-violent prolonged struggles like the Montgomery Bus Boycott which demonstrated that the black struggle aganst racism was not only a struggle for black rights but to take this country to a higher level of human relationships.

Well need programs which demonstrate that Work done to build community, as contrasted with Labor or Jobs done only for a pay check, transforms workers into citizens and thereby reverses our countrys decline into barbarism, nationally and globally.

Before his assassination 40 years ago, Dr. King recognized that the crisis of the Vietnam War and the urban rebellions was rooted in our countrys pursuit of economic and technological growth at the expense of participation and community. That is why he called for a radical revolution in values against racism, materialism and militarism. For example, what young people in our dying cities need, he said, are
direct actions that transform themselves and their surroundings at the same time.

That is why, fifteen years ago, we created Detroit Summer, an intergenerational, multicultural program/movement to involve young people in rebuilding, redefining, respiriting Detroit from the ground up.

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10,000 Reasons Why Milwaukee Will Win a Nobel Peace Prize by 2002

Mathi Now Fathi

Who could doubt Milwaukee’s evolution in the direction of…

The first city
To win
A Nobel Peace Prize…

The first neighborhood, Riverwest,
To win
A Nobel Peace Prize…

Who could doubt these
Common sense visions
When Sons of Africa,
South Africa,
North Africa,

Like Mathi and Fathi…

Bring their bags of
To “Our Milwaukee” and
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From Gray Areas to Green Areas:

Developing Sustainable Practices in Preservation Environments

Date: November 1–3, 2007
Location: University of Texas, Austin campus

The Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record at the University of Texas, Austin, will host From Gray Areas to Green Areas: Developing Sustainable Practices in Preservation Environments. This three-day symposium will examine sustainable practices in cultural heritage preservation environments. Symposium partners include the J. Paul Getty Conservation Institute and the The University of Texas at Austin Center for Sustainable Development. The symposium boasts an exciting line-up of speakers from the fields of conservation, architecture and public relations. There will be extensive time for discussion and brainstorming. A highly energetic “Slam Session” will conclude the program on Saturday.

For more information and to register for the symposium, please visit: http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/kilgarlin/gaga/index.html

We look forward to seeing you in November!

Karen L. Pavelka
The School of Information
The University of Texas at Austin

H-Urban: http://www.h-net.org/~urban/ (including logs & posting guidelines)
Posting Address: [email protected] / [email protected]
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Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #1: 10,000 Urban Farms and Community Gardens in Great Lakes Cities by 2020

99 Partnerships for 10,000 gardens

UWM Town Gown Partnerships Win Urban Ag Institute for Milwaukee!

There was a time when everyday people
Were too disconnected to intensely engage and prevail
In turf and other struggles with the cruder elements
Of the commercial classes.

But then the mouse of the internet connected them so well
That powerful visions spread like prairie fire
And quite small people became quite large
And began to prevail and save sacred buildings and sacred spaces
In the face of outraged opposition from the commercial classes.

There was also a time when everyday people
Were too disconnected from their ancestral power
To grow healthy and tasty food in their yards and hoods.

But then the worms of Will Allens Growing Power
Were spread so widely to the four season kitchen and community
Gardens that Milwaukee awakened to the folly of reliance on
Food from distant places grown primarily for profit and often
With frightening disregard for health, safety, and evolution.

And 10,000 gardens blossomed in neighborhoods once written off
As ghetto and violent and ugly, and the people reconnected with
Nature, used waste products for radiant energy,
Became strong and sure enough to ask neighbors for favors
And found themselves walking the sidewalks and biking the streets
Past corner community gardens of beauty and conviviality.

The mouse helped connect people in the realm of mind.
The worms helped connect people in the realm of body.
The mouse and the worms helped connect people in the realm of Soul!

From: Tyrone Dumas
Date: Sep 4, 2007 11:32 AM
Subject: RE: UWM Town Gown Partnerships To Win Urban Ag Institute for Milwaukee?
To: James Godsil <[email protected] >

Dear James:

I see the issues importance, revolving around Energy issues also. The energy it takes to produce/provide power, the resultant of water cleaning/purification (clean water & waste), wind turbines (acid rain/clean air) and the predominance of these issues and their health affects on urban dwellers, especially with children. Yes I believe we need an Urban Ag Institute as we look at the varied scales of living in our world. UWM can be a leader in this area.

I have decided to concentrate on the N. W. side planning project group.

Tyrone P. Dumas
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Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #2: 10,000 Great Lakes Bloggers by 2012

99 Communities of Practice for 10,000 Bloggers

UWM Community Partnerships Find Internet Empowerment Stations in Every Neighborhood


A young human rights and entrepreneurial lawyer from
A lovely city on low hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea
Is now in our lovely city on low hills overlooking the Great Lakes
With visions of common sense human exchange
And restorative justice
In mind.

His mother inspired him to academically excell by
Asking that he read her newspapers and books while yet a wee lad.
He hopes to inspire us to excell in evolutionary terms
By sharing our stories and our projects on blogs with one another,
In On-Line Communities of Practice,
With “ours,” with “others,” across boundaries of
Work, race, religion, nation, civlizations.

In On-Line Communities of Practice roofers talk roofs,
City farmers talk city farming, artists talk art,
Chefs talk food, green builers green building,
But not just among themselves.
There are easy links to share stories across boundaries,
Across social boundaries from our division of labor,
Class and identity systems.
Across boundaries of rivers, lakes, oceans,
States, nations, civilizations, vast bio-regions.

Fathi Zabaar is spending time offering gentle instructions
That result in everyday people with their own blogs
And participation in communities of practice
And across communities of practice.

Not blogs for themselves, says Fathi.
But for the people. For evolutions’ sake.
We need one another’s stories!
We cannot hope to sharpen our empathic powers
And cooperative, mutual-aid capacities
Without understanding one another.

Blogs in Milwaukee. Blogs in Fathi’s home town of Tunis.
He will soon tell us of democratization advanced
By blogers in Cairo.
Bloggers of the West encountering bloggers of the East,
Of the South with the North, free people in free exchange.

Viva, Fathi’s blog project!
Viva, Fathi’s Milwaukee Tunis Sister City Project!

Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #3: Milwaukee Tunis Sister City Project

Sister Cities of Milwaukee and Tunis to Advance the Cause of Urban Organic Farming

UWM Helps Everyday Milwaukee Connect With the Wider World

The new Great Lakes,
The new North Africa,
Are not like they were

A new fresh spirit,
Is growing in the Great Lakes.

A new fresh spirit,
Is growing in North Africa.

Viva, the Re-Spiriting of the Great Lakes!
Viva, the Re-Spiriting of North Africa!

Power to Imagination!

Join us!

[email protected]

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Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #4: Milwaukee Wins National Green Design Competition for “KK River Village”

Brainstorming the Greenest Possible Development at the 10 Acre “KK River Village”

Josh Fraundrof passed along an invitation to help his friend Steve Lindner and his team configure a process that would find the 6.5 acres just purchased(and another 3.5 hoped for) by the KK River and Lincoln Ave.(Ward to the south, rr tracks to the west, Robinson to the east, Beecher to the north) transformed into the greenest possible “village” inside the city. This means permaculture inspired habitats with roof gardens, renewable energy sources, rain barrels and rain gardens, 4 season veggie gardens, fruit trees, design to foster neighborly experiences, and other gifts for the inhabitants and their/our city our collective imaginations can conceive.

Steve has been given permission to create 46 building lots, 2 apartment buildings totally 50 or 60 units, a cul de sac, and a ground water retention system.

I have invited some people to begin brainstorming this opportunity on-line and in-person over the next couple of weeks, at the end of which I hope to pull together some concepts to present to Steve, Josh, and team.

Steve and Josh and many of their friends have greatly impressed me with their fine minds, good hearts, work ethic, integrity, mutual aid skills, and vision!

Our first gathering will be tomorrow(this Wednesday), at Paul Bachowski’s vacant lot to be transformed into a community garden, at 3292 N. 3rd, at 2 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. Or, at the UWM School of Architecture Commons between 3 and 4 p.m., where the N.E.Planning Group’s work will be presented from 4 to 6 p.m.

Some of the people who will most likely meet tomorrow are Josh and Jamie Fraundorf, Community Roofing & Restoration and MPS respectively, Stephanie Phillips of the Reclamation Society, Mary Beth Driscoll of MUG, Erik Lindberg of Community Building and Restoration, Paul Bachowski, commonwealth developer of MLK and Harambee, Howard Hintertheur, Director of Marketing, Goth Design Group, Swee and Lisa of Future Green, Jon and Ann Bales, Urban Aquaculure Center, Nik Kovak “Riverwest Currents,” Fathi Zabaar of “Re-Spiriting South Milwaukee,” and others I’ll mention another time.

Here is a web platform to collect information about this project, tentatively named “KK River Village”(part of the brainstorming will aim to discover the perfect name).



James J. Godsil, President
Community Roofing & Restoration, Inc.
Since 1975
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Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #5: Universities Without Walls

Utopian vision marries social practice.

Re-Spiriting Milwaukee Vision Statement #6: The Marriage of Restorative Justice with Urban Agriculture

Developing planetary brother/sister neighborhood community city and bio-region exchange projects.

Promoting visions into projects, E.G. Rebirth of Freedom, Timbuktu, Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, Save Pabst Project, Riverwest Co-Op, Bucketworks, Reclamation Society, Bonobo Congo Biodiversity Project, Buses are Green

Online curriculum developments for participatory learning projects

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Bridging Civilizations, Dismantling Racism, and Re-Spiriting the Great Lakes and North Africa.

The new Great Lakes,
The new North Africa,
Are not like they were

A new fresh spirit,
Is growing in the Great Lakes.

A new fresh spirit,
Is growing in North Africa.

Viva, the Re-Spiriting of the Great Lakes!
Viva, the Re-Spiriting of North Africa!

Power to Imagination!

Milwaukee-Tunis SisterCityProject at Milwaukee Renaissance.com
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99 Partnerships for Ten Thousand Great Lakes Victory Gardens

if you would like to brainstorm this concept, send an email to [email protected]
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Wetlands are nature’s own hazard insurance

TUE., AUG 28, 2007

GERALD EMMERICH JR. — for the Wisconsin Wetlands Association The photograph, taken in the fall, shows a portion of the Lulu Lake Preserve, a property in Waukesha and Walworth counties owned by The Nature Conservancy.

FRI., AUG 24, 2007 - 6:19 PM
Wetlands are nature’s own hazard insurance
By Laura England
As these unusual rains continue, flood warnings, flood advisories, and flash flood watches are seizing headlines around much of the state, underscoring the critical need for flood storage capacity throughout our communities and our watersheds.

Wetlands are a key component of future flood prevention planning that should start now.

Two weeks ago, the parched earth in Wisconsin was practically begging for rain. Yet after being saturated by heavy rains last weekend, our soil has been rejecting the millions and millions of new drops that have been falling all week, turning them instantly into overland runoff. And while Wisconsinites love water, we likely all agree that too much of it in the wrong place brings intolerable economic losses and health and safety concerns.

But flood damages are often forgotten once “normal “ weather returns.

Recall the intense flooding that parts of Wisconsin endured in the spring of 2004. These floods brought enormous economic damages.

According to the Wisconsin Emergency Management agency, public and private property owners incurred more than $87 million dollars in damages from natural disasters in 2004, much of which stemmed from flooding in May and June. Parties affected included businesses, farmers, municipalities, and more than 5,000 individual homeowners in 44 counties.

What can we do now to prevent future flooding?

We must protect and restore wetlands, nature ‘s hazard insurance. Often likened to sponges, wetlands soak up and retain runoff when it rains, slowly releasing it to groundwater or adjacent streams, rivers and lakes.

Wetlands are a crucial and necessary component of any plan to prevent future flooding and associated economic damages and health and safety concerns. And wetlands are especially needed in and around urban and suburban areas where pavement and other impervious surfaces intensify flooding problems.

Impervious surfaces turn rain into runoff that reaches lakes and rivers much faster than it would through the ground.

Wisconsin landscapes today have only half of the state ‘s pre-settlement wetland acreage. Nearly 5 million acres of wetlands — once considered wastelands — were drained or filled and converted to higher economic uses.

Now that science has documented the economically valuable services that wetlands provide, and the costs associated with wetland loss, we must protect remaining wetlands and restore historical losses.

The state has actually articulated this need through the Department of Natural Resources ‘ strategy on wetlands, Reversing the Loss, yet wetland fill continues and funding constraints have resulted in missed opportunities for restoration.

Wisconsin needs our marshes, bogs, swamps, and fens now more than ever to prevent future flooding and associated economic damages.

There are several other valuable wetland functions that make wetland protection compelling.

Wetlands ensure the health of our lakes, rivers and drinking water by filtering pollution and recharging groundwater supplies. And wetlands contribute significantly to our state ‘s $12 billion a year tourism industry by supporting hunting and fishing opportunities and providing beautiful, magical destinations for bird-watchers, paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

It is worth noting that this summer ‘s prolonged dry period followed by the current intense rainy period matches precisely the trends for Wisconsin ‘s weather that have been predicted by climate change models.

As climate change continues and Wisconsin ‘s climate becomes more erratic, protecting remaining wetlands and their flood storage functions will become even more critical.

We cannot afford to lose more wetlands, or miss opportunities for wetland restoration, in this state. We urge Wisconsinites to convert concern about the current state of emergency into action for wetlands.

It is up to everyone — from private landowners to local planners and state officials —to ensure that our future landscapes include wetlands to provide nature ‘s hazard insurance.

England is outreach programs director for the Madison-based Wisconsin Wetlands Association, www.wisconsinwetlands.org. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

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We are each others treasure!

All the way up,
All the way down.

The finest meals,
the most eloquent bouquets.

Sublime gardens,
sweetly laughing children.
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RiverEdge Housing Co-op Announces a Rare Vacancy!!!

“The Best of Owning and Renting”
A 2-bedroom unit in a 10-unit townhouse is available to occupy on Nov. 1st, 2007. Applications will be available at the Open House at 1230–1250 E. Chambers St. on Sunday September 9th between 1 and 4 pm.

  • Quiet setting close to the river in Riverwest
  • Cooperatively owned and maintained
  • Diverse, progressive co-op community
  • Active block club
  • Reasonable rent
  • Beautiful natural frontyard
  • Large shared fenced-in backyard

We’re looking for community-minded people interested in sharing a quality living situation that includes a sweat-equity approach to property maintenance. Co-op members work together to manage, maintain and improve our property. Officers are
elected from our members and committees are formed to organize our efforts. A membership fee, required before occupancy, is fully refundable upon departure. To enquire, please phone 1–262–893–2819.
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Milwaukee Country Club Tree Cutting Threatens Milwaukee River and Milwaukee’s Central Park?

Will Friends of Milwaukee Central Park Bike, Bus, or Car Pool Out to Next River Hills Village Board Meeting to Protest Country Club Tree Cutting Along Bank of the Milwaukee River?

The following was reported in the North Shore and River Hills Now
papers. MRWG member Cheryl Nenn is quoted. There is a village board
meeting on Aug. 14. I think a good turn out might get the trustees

Committee challenges enforcement of ordinance
Members argue trees under protection cut
By Jane Ford-Stewart
Staff Writer
Posted: July 25, 2007
The River Hills Committee on the Environment is trying to get the
Village Board to prevent more trees from being cut down along the
Milwaukee River at the Milwaukee Country Club.

At last week’s board meeting, committee members said a stand of massive
oak trees 4 to 6 feet in diameter, a dozen other mature trees and as
many as eight smaller trees were cut down at just one hole of the golf

Some of the oak trees and all the mature and smaller trees were in a
5-foot area protected by village environmental codes, committee members

More cutting was done at other holes along the river.

The committee, backed by an attorney privately hired by one of its
members, alleges the clearing violates village protections of the river

Village Attorney William Dineen disagrees. He said cutting alone does
not constitute a violation. The cutting has to “substantially disturb or
impair” the environment of plants and animals, he said.

This is the first test of the environmental corridor protections the
village adopted in 1975.

To determine whether the country club cutting substantially disturbs or
impairs the environment, trustees directed Dineen to consult with the
village manager and village director of public works and report back to
the board.

The board was not prepared to go as far as the committee recommended,
which was to get the help of experts in making the determination.

Reasonably satisfied

More than a year ago, the country club, 8000 N. Range Line Road, started
a major project to open up views of the river to golfers. In a January
2006 letter to its members, country club officials said the project is
aimed at restoring the original views of the river, which have become
masked by overgrowth.

The country club also is lengthening some of the holes, due to
improvements to golf clubs and balls that make drives go farther these

But some say there has been a cost to wildlife and to those who enjoy
the naturalness of the river.

“The banks have been stripped clean,” committee member Fred Vogel,
spokesman for the group, said of the 15th hole. “What’s left is
monoculture grass. The habitat is gone.”

He guessed that 65 percent of wildlife habitat has been destroyed. At
the 13th hole, he guessed that 95 percent of the undergrowth is gone.

“If the village has a responsibility to protect the environmental
corridor as the ordinance demands, it can’t say that’s OK, because it
isn’t,” Vogel said.

Even though trustees did not agree the ordinance had been violated and
order a stop to the cutting, Vogel was somewhat satisfied by the board’s

After the meeting, he said, “I sense we made considerable positive
progress, and I’m reasonably optimistic.”

Moratorium on cutting
That feeling was shared by Cheryl Nenn of the Friends of Milwaukee’s
Rivers, who also spoke at the meeting last week.

“We clearly feel there was a violation. But I’m hopeful we’re moving
forward to a resolution and can educate the public so this doesn’t
happen again,” she said.

The environmentalists wanted a moratorium on cutting and wildlife
habitat restored, she said.

“Removal of some undergrowth and invasive shrubs to enhance views of the
river would be appropriate; however, any further tree removal on the
riverbanks should not be allowed,” she wrote in a letter to the board.
“These trees stabilize banks, provide shade that regulates water
temperatures for fish, and provide countless other environmental and
‘quality of life’ benefits.”

Nenn wrote that substantial impairment has already been caused.

“The riparian vegetation was destroyed, as well as habitat for wildlife
or ‘fauna’ using the river corridor,” she wrote. “In addition to being
unsightly, the banks are already displaying instability as a result of
the tree removal, causing sediment to enter the Milwaukee River.

“Removal of vegetation has also inevitably resulted in increased
stormwater runoff from the golf course, contributing more pollutants
such as fertilizers and pesticides and increasing runoff volumes.”

And in speaking to the board, she said sediment, a problem downstream,
is being made worse by the erosion taking place on the banks that have
been cut.

Julie Carpenter, a committee member, also appealed to the board: “You
are the stewards. The river is a very critical part of this community.”

Possible delay on vote
Committee member Robert Boucher, trained in water resource and watershed
management, was frustrated.

“They ignored their responsibility as trustees,” he said. “They had all
the opportunity to have the village attorney enforce the ordinance.”

The club could face a fine of $1 to $500 for each violation, if it is
determined that the cutting violates the village ordinance, Dineen said.

A vote to enforce the ordinance might be tricky. Three trustees are
country club members. They are not expected to vote on the matter, as it
could be construed as a conflict of interest. That would leave only
three members of the board able to vote, which is one short of a quorum.
The board consists of five trustees, plus the village president. Four
are needed for a quorum, Village Attorney William Dineen said.

A sixth trustee is slated to be appointed at the Tuesday, Aug. 14,
Village Board meeting. That person will replace Steve Stevens, who
stepped down this month.

No one knows how close to being finished the clearing project is because
country club General Manager Christopher Boettcher had no comment.

Jane Ford-Stewart can be reached at (262) 446–6607 or [email protected]

Next step
WHO: Village Board

WHAT: discussion of environmental corridor ordinance

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14

WHERE: 7650 N. Pheasant Lane, River Hills

Ann Brummitt, Coordinator
Milwaukee River Work Group
c/o Friends of Milwaukees Rivers
1845 N. Farwell Ave, Suite 100
Milwaukee 53202

414–379–5680 (cell)



Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa Food Co-ops Join Efforts for Farm Flood Victims

Margaret Bert, Director of Communications
Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative
[email protected]
414–431–3377 x170

[Milwaukee, WI] The remnants of tropical storm Erin and the ensuing Midwest summer floods have literally washed away the harvest for many family farmers living and farming in the Kickapoo River basin and other neighboring regions of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. This flood is particularly disastrous to farmers in
that area because they are just getting ready to harvest their summer crops, says Margaret Bert, Director of Communications for Outpost Natural Foods. For some of our local produce suppliers, their summer harvest has been wiped out, not to mention some of their homes. According to Barth Anderson, research and development coordinator for the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis, Just to put in perspective how much money these farmers have lost: According to [CBS affiliate WCCO], Jack Hedin of Featherstone has already written off $200,000 worth of produce and Richard de Wilde of Harmony Valley mentioned a similar number.

Food co-ops have joined together in solidarity to support their farmers in need. Sow the Seeds Fund has been designated specifically for flood relief. Outpost Natural Foods local campaign to support the fund will run from August 24 through September 31 (the typical harvest season). All proceeds raised will go directly to Wisconsin and Minnesota farmers that supply the co-ops in the Midwest region (our common vendors so to speak).

Co-ops that so far have committed to participate in this fundraising effort include:


  • Outpost Natural Foods
  • The Wedge
  • New Pioneer Co-op
  • Willy Street (Madison)
  • Eastside Food Co-op
  • River Market
  • Just Food Co-op
  • St. Peter Food Co-op

People in Milwaukee can contribute 5 ways to this fund

  • Cash donations will be accepted at all Outpost customer service desks. Checks made out at the register should be made to Sow The Seeds Fund
  • Register lanes will also have giving jars where folks can give spare change
  • Starting September 1, Peace Coffee (Fair Trade/Organic) has a Sow the Seeds Blend where $2 from every pound sold goes towards the general fund - Outpost will be carrying this coffee blend -

look for displays in the bulk department

  • Send a check to: Sow the Seeds Fund, c/o I.A.T.P., 2105 First Avenue South, Minneapolis MN 55404

(Payable to Sow the Seeds Fund)

Donations are tax-deductible

How long

The Outpost Natural Foods fund drive will run from August 22 through September 31, 2007.


All three Outpost locations:

  • 100 East Capitol Drive Milwaukee
  • 7000 West State Street Wauwatosa
  • 2826 South Kinnickinnic Milwaukee (Bay View)

Read the latest info on farms reporting losses by visiting the blog at the Wedge Co-op

More about the IATP/Sow the Seeds Fund

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy. Minnesota food co-ps joined together to establish the Sow the Seeds Fund many years ago to provide their shoppers with a tax-deductible way to support local family farms.

More about Outpost Natural Foods

Happily in its 37th year serving the greater Milwaukee area, Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative operates three successful locations at 100 East Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, 7000 West State Street, Wauwatosa, and 2826 South Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee. Co-owned by over 13,000 individuals from Southeastern Wisconsin, it employs over 300 people, as well as publishes a free monthly food and wellness magazine (The Exchange).

Outpost is the fourth largest cooperatively owned natural food grocer in the United

A word about co-ops

All cooperative businesses are guided by 7 internationally recognized principles: Voluntary and open membership, Democratic member control, Member economic participation, Autonony and independence, Education, training and information, Cooperation among cooperatives, and Concern for community. These
principles are what make co-ops unique and stand out from traditional businesse

Organic Farmers Suffer Large Losses In Minn., Wis.(AP)

(AP) Milwaukee, Wis. Richard de Wilde estimated he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars this week when a foot of rain inundated his organic beef and vegetable farm near Viroqua in southwestern Wisconsin.

“Out of our 100 acres of vegetables, we had easily 30 under water,” de Wilde, one of the state’s largest organic farmers, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “If that was all a loss, it’s $300,000. I’m thinking we’re going to be able to salvage some out of there, but certainly it’s more than $200,000 just counting crops.”

He’ll also have to replace fences, equipment and other water-damaged property at the 200-acre Harmony Valley Farm in Vernon County.

The damage from this week’s floods could push some organic farmers out of business and affect the price of organic products nationwide. Only California has more certified organic farms than Wisconsin, and more than a third of the Badger State’s 994 organic farms are in the five counties where the waters rose.

Organic farms in southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa were affected by the rain as well.

Craig Scott is one of the last employees left at Avalanche Organics on the Kickapoo River near Viola. About a dozen workers were laid off this week, and the 51-year-old farmer said he took a pay cut just to keep what little work he can while the water recedes.

“It’s definitely catastrophic for this farm,” Scott said. “It’s affecting the owners, they can hardly deal with it. They’ll probably leave farming.”

Mark Kastel, co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy group, said many other farmers could be forced out of business, unable to cover their costs because crop insurance may not pay them the same price they would have received for selling their products at market.

“You could see a farmer who is making a modest profit and doing fine pushed into a very serious financial deficit for this growing year,” Kastel said. “Our worst fear is it endangers some of their livelihood.”

Downstream from Vernon County in Crawford County, University of Wisconsin extension agent Vance Haugen said many farmers grow organic products there although only 14 produce enough to meet the guidelines for certification. More than a third of the county’s 1,000 farms had significant damage and early estimates peg the crop loss at around $8 million, he said.

“I’ve been here 15 years, and this is one of the strongest and most violent episodes I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Most farmers said this week’s floods were unique in affecting a wide swath of counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In Winona County, Minn., agriculture officials said the storms could set back organic cattle farming, which has grown in popularity in the recent years.

“We have a lot of steep, hilly country and we’ve had a lot of mudslides,” said Tom Van Der Linden, the local University of Minnesota extension educator. “The biggest problem we’ve had is mudslides that have taken out fences and livestock have gotten loose.”

Jack Hedin, who owns an 80-acre family produce farm in and around Rushford, Minn., said that portions of his fields remain underwater, and that roads have washed out around Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables, making it impossible to deliver the produce to local co-ops.

“It will be days if not weeks until the roads are repaired,” he said.

Hedin said nearly a third of the farm’s entire cash flow for 2007 has been washed away.

“I spent all morning with our bookkeeper, and at this point we’ve already written off $200,000 worth of produce,” he said.

Even if the water has already receded, many areas in Wisconsin and Minnesota remain too moist to plant fall vegetable crops like mixed greens and spinach.

The planting window for those will close by the first week of September, leaving farms unable to get the water off their property fast enough with less products to sell in 2008.

Still, even with the problems, de Wilde and others said they’ll forge on.

“We’re going to survive, one way or the other,” he said. “We are going to survive and be back, that’s for sure. We’re not going to quit.”

Introducing Milwaukee’s Leading Social Enterprise Internet Empowerment Mentor Tegan Dowling

Here is a web site that is a glorious presentation of the great transformative gifts of internet empowerment and communications resources “wiki gnome” Tegan Dowling has given our fair city’s social enterprise groups.


Included are some venerable groups, e.g. Historic Milwaukee and People’s Books(cooperative in the making), Finnish American Association, as well as edge of history organizations in education, e.g. Alliance School, Young Women’s Institute for Global Studies, TALC, communication, e.g. Milwaukee Renaissance, and lots more!

With “wiki software,” as easy to use as the easiest e-mail software, you can be your own webmaster, with a little bit of help from Tegan, Tyler, Fathi, and others available to advance your good cause.

Tegan can also find a modestly priced “budding” videographer for your on-line presentations!

Please let us know some days in the next few weeks you might be available for an historic rendez vous that I know will provide some kind of quantum evolutionary leap for your project’s presentation to the wider world, as has happened with the MilwaukeeRenaissance.com On Line Magazine and Movement Resource, a “mind resource” that has made a mark in Milwaukee’s civic culture.

Tegan’s Gallery is at


  • Actuated Vision
  • Alliance School
  • Bill Sell
  • Chez Madame
  • Cultural Alliance Mke
  • Demo site — AFSL
  • Demo site — Finnish-American Society of Milwaukee
  • Demo site — Health Care for the Homeless, Milwaukee
  • Digital Art Show
  • Donate a Card
  • Dramatists Theatre
  • Friends Across (pro bono site)
  • Historic Milwaukee
  • Janet Schiff Cellist
  • John D Schneider
  • Kiteboard Milwaukee
  • Love Peace and Dye
  • MacCanon Brown
  • Menieres Resources
  • Milw Renaissance
  • Milwaukee College Preparatory School
  • Milwaukee Spotlight Student Films
  • Mke Urban Ag
  • Multiple Intelligences
  • My Party Places
  • Northstar Property Development
  • Organic Arts
  • People’s Books Cooperative(pro bono site)
  • Pilot Light Radio
  • Primary Colours Theatre
  • Professional Learning Institute
  • Public Employees Give Back
  • Quasi Cafe
  • Quasi-Productions
  • Renee Fensin Designs
  • Richard Taylor Sculpture
  • TALC New Vision
  • The Young Women’s Institute for Global Studies — TYWIGS
  • Valerie Valentine
  • Wisc Women Equal Prosperity
  • Wisconsin Prairie
  • Working Innovations
  • Yolanda White

Fostering a Joe Zilber Sensibility: Seeking Progressive Gentry for the Milwaukee Renaissance; Seeking Worker Gentry for the Milwaukee Renaissance

Hurray for Joe Zilber! Hurray for Milwaukee!

Not only has Joe Zilber and team sparked a mindful and soulful renewal of the Pabst Complex and a $50,000,000 “initial commitment” toward a “new potential” for Milwaukee.

They have provided a perfect example of the enormous potential for Milwaukee’s renaissance in those members of our “commercial classes” with a commonwealth sensibility. There are hundreds of successful professionals in many fields who can follow Joe Zilber’s lead and provide much needed capital for projects that will transform Milwaukee from a leading industrial city to a leading “city of culture.”

There are the merely commercial classes who only focus on “me” and “the bottom line.” There are the “progressive gentry” who focus on 3 bottom lines: profit, social justice, and environmental stewardship. Joe Zilber has proven himself one of our leading “progressive gentry” benefactors.

But more than that. One does not have to bequeath millions in capital to contribute to Milwaukee’s transformation. One can commit time and vision to a myriad of movements with great promise to transform our fair city in the realm of economics, politics, culture, and spirit.

Let us foster a sensibility like Joe Zilber’s: hard and honest work toward professional accomplishment; gratitude for what Milwaukee has provided in that quest; thoughtfulness in choosing ways to return the many favors we have received from one another.

There are thousands of retiring boomers we can look forward to contributing green capital to Milwaukee’s renewal,but also hard and smart volunteer work in the many movements that constitute “the movement” to transform our Milwaukee.

Viva, Joe Zilber!
Viva, Milwaukee’s renaissance!


P.S. I suspect Joe Zilber would be very interested in reviewing ideas for “micro grants” from $500 to $1,000 that would contribute toward job development, education, health, and environmental stewardship. Please send any thoughts you have for such micro grants to [email protected] and there is a very high probability they will be thoughtfully considered. No promises here but the effort to win Joe’s attention for creative micro-grant visions.
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Photos of Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network (MUAN)

Gathering at Timbuktu Tuesday August 14 2007

The Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network (MUAN) is a collaborative effort of Milwaukee-area individuals and organizations focused on advancing awareness of, and activities and policies that will promote, the many ways that local production of food benefits a community.

Members of Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network(MUAN)

16th St WIC Project
[email protected]
Elaine’s Project
Fondy Food Market
Food Reclamation Society
Growing Power
James Carlson
Jeff Winkowski
Julilly Kohler
Maures Development Group
Medical College of Wisconsin
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
Milwaukee Renaissance
Milwaukee Urban Gardens
Office of Environmental Sustainability
Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative
Slow Food Wi SE
Sustainable SE Wisconsin
The Kitchen Table Project
Urban Aquaculture Center
Urban Ecology Center
Urban Open Space Foundation-Johnsons Park
Walnut Way

One writer’s notes from an inspiring gathering(note below)

Key Concepts

  • Sharon Adams introduced MUAN to Dr. Price of the Service Learning Center at UWM and suggested that MUAN was “one of the most important groups of people she could hope to meet in Milwaukee”
  • Mary Lou LaMonda seeks help to make the Urban Agriculture Conference not only a showcase of urban agriculture but also a place for forums and workshops to maximize grass roots and interactive participation
  • Barbara Leigh will be a possible provider of theatrical expression of the urban farming movement
  • Wisconsin Local Food summit at Eau Claire on Jan. 24 & 25 wil have its first urban farming emphasis
  • We will work to make urban agriculture part of comprehensive development plans now occurring in Milwaukee
  • Harambee Reclamation Garden presentation by Mary Beth Driscoll highlighted the value of getting something going with neighbors’ support, with small beginnings, like a dump truck arriving, stimulating neighborhood interest and participation. This project will involve Martin Luther King School, with the students experiencing raised beds gardens of carrots, zucchini, radish, mescaline, cilantro, beans, squash and more. Kids will eat what they grow and will combine nutrition studies with city farming. Commonwealth developer Paul Bachowski, Milwaukee Urban Gardens(MUG), Riverworks, Harambee North Neighborhood Planning Initiative, Groundworks, and others are supporting hands-on work of Stephanie Phillips, Mary Beth Driscoll, Nik Kovac and others named in the Agora report
  • Projects in small “remnant lots” the city will offer will prove credibility of our cause
  • Triple bottom line for development: profit in the usual sense of the term, to which must now be added “social justice” and “ecological” bottom lines. Narrow profit focus not sustainable!
  • We’ll be like crab grass and show up in many places, sometimes between the toes of those who don’t yet understand that the best and highest use for development may well be neighborhood gardens, farms, tree nurseries, tap roots for neighborhood community creating, value generating. The gardens and mini farms, we suggest, will increase love for and respect of the people in participating neighborhoods. Property values will increase for all of the surrounding blocks. Youth involvement will reduce tendency for youth getting in trouble form idle hands.
  • Our crab grass chaordic sustainable development projects may well lead to a paradigm shift from urban gardens to a major urban agriculture industry with family supporting jobs in the mix.
  • Neighborhood buy-in a must, the gardeners must come from the neighborhood
  • Steve Adams and Todd Pierce partnerships for green houses in underserved areas, with focus on nutritional food, economic sustainability, and year round growing!
  • Urban League Urban Entrepreneurial Partnerships for business creation, key to job development and sustainability
  • Jon and Anne Bales Urban Aquaculture Institute for yellow perch and remediation of the water with plants
  • Vancouver has urban agriculture department with expertise for us to draw upon
  • Folk art photos of emerging urban agriculture movement someday to become on-line book(with some interns’ help) and coffee table book(interns plus a few thousand dollar investors)
  • Sneaking in my hopes to find our marriage of wiki internet empowerment with the urban farming movement meriting us a grant from the Knight Foundation(see Green Media Consortium site on the side bar, front page of this web site for links to last years winner of $850,000, for a project no more significant than the internet empowerment of the Wisconsin Urban Farm Movement. Password is “green)”

(note below)Please feel free to add your own by simply clicking “edit,” when asked for password type in “edit,” then go to place where you see invite to add your notes and either cut and paste(control c then control v), or type directly, making sure to leave no spaces on the left margin.

Bonobos, Left & Right

Primate Politics Heats Up Again as Liberals & Conservatives Spindoctor Science

by Frans de Waal

Imagine that youre a writer and you have decided to offer your readers a first-hand account of the politically correct primate, the idol of the left, known for its gay relations, female supremacy, and pacific life-style. Your focus is the bonobo: a relative of the chimpanzee, and genetically equally close to us as the chimpanzee. You go all the way to a place called the Democratic Republic of the Congo to see these darling apes frolic in their natural habitat, hoping to come back with new and exciting material.

Alas, you barely get to see any bonobos. You watch a few of them quietly sitting in the trees, eating nuts. Thats all. This is what happened to Ian Parker, who nevertheless managed to write thirteen pages of carefully crafted prose as a far-flung correspondent for The New Yorker. We learn about the hot, soupy air, the rainstorms, the mud streams, the sound of falling fruit shells, and his German host, Gottfried Hohmann, who is described as rather unsympathetic.1

The main message of Parkers piece could of course have been that fieldwork is no picnic, but instead he went for profound revelation: bonobos are not nearly as nice and sexual as they have been made out to be. Given that the bonobos reputation has been a thorn in the side of homophobes as well as Hobbesians, the right-wing media jumped with delight. The bonobo myth could finally be put to rest. Parkers piece was gleefully picked up by The Wall Street Journal and Dinesh DSouza (yes, the same one who blamed 9/11 on the left), who accused liberals of having fashioned the bonobo into their mascot. DSouza urged them to stick with the donkey.2

This might all have been amusing if it werent for the fact that these are not just political skirmishes. At issue is what we know. Parker presented his trip as a fact-finding mission that had unearthed revolutionary new insights. His message was that bonobos are killer apes, just like their cousins, the chimpanzees. The animal kingdom remained red in tooth and claw, as it ought to be.

Yet, the most striking cases of bonobo aggression that he reported have been known for decades, and actually didnt come from the natural habitat, even less from first-hand observation by our brave explorer. A typical description was given by Jeroen Stevens, a Flemish biologist, of a gang of five bonobos assaulting a single victim at Apenheul Zoo, in the Netherlands. They were gnawing on his toes. Id already seen bonobos with digits missing, but Id thought they would have been bitten off like a dog would bite. But they really chew. There was flesh between their teeth.1

Many such cases have been documented at zoos over the years, and have actually led to changes in policies of how to keep bonobos. This is why I warned in Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape not to romanticize the species: All animals are competitive by nature and cooperative only under specific circumstances.3

The second part of Parkers revisionist attempt was the suggestion that bonobo sexual tendencies have been grossly exaggerated. Since most observations of bonobo sex come from zoos, they can be safely ignored, we were told, on the assumption that captivity distorts behavior. The problem is, of course, the incongruity of considering zoo observations valid in relation to aggression, yet worthless in relation to sex. One either accepts both or rejects both.

Perhaps it is time to go over the evidence once again and see if bonobos are as special as they have been made out to be. Unfortunately, the evidence that we have is relatively old. The impression that there are new discoveries is merely a product of creative writing. The DRC is only now emerging from a bloody civil war that has kept field workers away. Knowledge about bonobos in their natural habitat has been at a virtual standstill for about a decade.

But there exists excellent field data from before this time. Combined with reports from captive apes, these provide a rather coherent picture. The most important fact, which has remained unchanged over the last three decades of bonobo research, is that there exist no confirmed reports of lethal aggression, neither from the field nor from captivity. For chimpanzees, in contrast, we have dozens of cases of adult males killing other males, of males killing infants, of females killing infants, and so on. This is in the wild. In captivity, I myself documented how two male chimpanzees brutally mutilated a third, castrating him in the process, which led to his death.4 There is absolutely no dearth of such information on chimpanzees, which contrasts greatly with the zero incidence in bonobos.

Reviewing chimpanzee violence in Demonic Males, Richard Wrangham went on to draw the following comparison with the gentle ape, the bonobo: we can think of them as chimpanzees with a threefold path to peace. They have reduced the level of violence in relations between the sexes, in relations among males, and in relations between communities.5

None of this is to say that bonobos live in a fairy tale. When first writing about their behavior, I spoke of sex for peace precisely because bonobos had plenty of conflicts. There would obviously be no need for peacemaking if they lived in perfect harmony. Sexual conflict resolution is typical of females, but also occurs among males: Vernon regularly chased Kalind into the dry moat After such incidents the two males had almost ten times as many intensive contacts as was normal for them. Vernon would rub his scrotum against Kalinds buttocks, or Kalind would present his penis for masturbation.6

It is entirely possible that one day we will discover serious, perhaps deadly aggression in this species, and it probably will be females collectively attacking a male, since this is the fiercest aggression seen at zoos (and a good argument against attributing female dominance to male chivalry). For now, however, bonobos offer the opposite picture. Whereas most observed chimpanzee killings occur during territorial disputes, bonobos engage in sex at their boundaries. They can be unfriendly to neighbors, but soon after a confrontation has begun, females have been seen rushing to the other side to copulate with males or mount other females. Since it is hard to have sex and wage war at the same time, the scene rapidly turns into socializing. It ends with adults from different groups grooming each other while their children play.

These reports go back to 1990, and come mainly from Takayoshi Kano, the Japanese scientist who worked the longest with wild bonobos.7,8 While writing Bonobo, I interviewed field workers, such as Kano and also Hohmann. Asking the latter how his bonobos react to another group, Hohmann replied: It starts out very tense, with shouting and chasing, but then they settle down and there is female-female and male-female sex between members of the two communities. Grooming may occur, but remains tense and nervous.9 This is not exactly the stuff expected of killer apes, although Hohmann did add that groups do not always mingle and that he never saw males from different groups groom.

Perhaps the bonobos peaceful image can be countered with descriptions of them catching and eating prey? Isnt this violent behavior? Not really: feeding has very little to do with aggression. Already in the 1960s, Konrad Lorenz explained the difference between a cat hissing at another cat and a cat stalking a mouse. The neural circuitry of the two patterns is different: the first expresses fear and aggression, the second is motivated by hunger. Thus, herbivores are not any less aggressive than carnivores as anyone who has been chased by a bull can attest. The fact that bonobos run after duikers and kill squirrels which has been seen many times is therefore best kept out of debates about aggression.

As for sex, I perceive the shyness of many scientists as a problem. It leads them to either ignore sexual behavior or call it something else. They will say that bonobos are very affectionate, when the apes in fact engage in behavior that, if shown in the human public sphere, would get you quickly arrested. Two females may be pressing vulvas and clitorises together, rapidly rubbing them sideways in a pattern known as genito-genital rubbing (or hoka-hoka), and Hohmann, who has seen this pattern many times, wonders: But does it have anything to do with sex? Probably not. Of course, they use the genitals, but is it erotic behavior or a greeting gesture that is completely detached from sexual behavior?1

Fortunately, a United States court settled this monumental issue in the Paula Jones case against President Bill Clinton. It clarified that the term sex includes any deliberate contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks. In short, when bonobos contact each other with their genitals (and squeal and show other signs of apparent orgasm), any sex therapist will tell you that they are doing it.10

Bonobos do it a lot, and not just between male and female. Nothing has changed in this regard. The only disagreement arose when Craig Stanford compared existing data in wild chimpanzees and bonobos. Stanford is an American primatologist who has studied chimpanzees but not bonobos, which may explain why he considered only adult heterosexual relations when claiming similar sex rates for both species.11 Since bonobos have sex in virtually all partner combinations, they were seriously short-changed by these calculations.

How much bonobos differ from chimpanzees was highlighted by a recent experiment on cooperation. Brian Hare and co-workers presented apes with a platform that they could pull close by working together. When food was placed on the platform, the bonobos clearly outperformed the chimpanzees in getting a hold of it. The presence of food normally induces rivalry, but the bonobos engaged in sexual contact, played together, and happily shared the food side by side. The chimpanzees, in contrast, were unable to overcome their competition.12 For two species to react so differently to the same experimental set-up leaves little doubt about a temperamental difference.

In another illustration, at a forested sanctuary at Kinshasa it was recently decided to merge two groups of bonobos that had lived separately, just so as to induce some activity. No one would ever dream of doing this with chimpanzees as the only possible outcome would be a blood bath. The bonobos produced an orgy instead.

In short, so long as we call sex sex and focus on known levels of intraspecific (as opposed to interspecific) violence, there is absolutely no reason to drop the claim that bonobos are relatively peaceful, and that sexual behavior serves a wide range of non-reproductive functions, including greeting, conflict resolution, and food sharing.

I understand the frustration of field workers with the image of bonobos as angels of peace, which is not only one-dimensional, but incorrect. On the other hand, anyone who objects to the occasional hyperbole (such as chimpanzees are from Mars, bonobos are from Venus), should realize that no one would ever have heard of the species and no reporter would have considered them for a piece in The New Yorker if theyd been described as merely affectionate. Possibly, one or two decades from now a new image of the bonobo will emerge, one more complex than what we have today. This is already happening thanks to detailed studies of their socio-ecology, observations that nuance the dynamics of female dominance, and video-analyses of their natural communication. No doubt, the return of bonobo field workers to Africa will significantly add to our knowledge.

But whatever we find out, a Hobbesian make-over of the bonobo is not to be expected any time soon. I just cant see this ape go from being a gentle, sexy primate to a nasty, violent one. Japanese primatologist Takeshi Furuichi, perhaps the only scientist to have studied both chimpanzees and bonobos in the forest, said it best: With bonobos everything is peaceful. When I see bonobos they seem to be enjoying their lives.1

About the Author

Frans B. M. de Waal was trained as a zoologist and ethologist in the European tradition resulting in a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Utrecht, in 1977. In 1981, Dr. de Waal moved to the USA, first to Madison, Wisconsin, and now in a joint position in the Psychology Department of Emory University and at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, both in Atlanta. He is known for his popular books, such as Chimpanzee Politics (1982), Peacemaking Among Primates (1989, which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award), Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape (1997), and his latest, Our Inner Ape (2006). His current interests include food-sharing, social reciprocity, and cultural transmission in primates as well as the origins of morality and justice in human society.
References & Notes

1. Parker, I. (July 30, 2007). Swingers. The New Yorker: 4861.
2. DSouza, D. (2007). Bonobo Promiscuity? Another Myth Bites the Dust. AOL Newsbloggers.
3. de Waal, F. B. M. (1997). Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, with photographs by Frans Lanting. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, p. 84.
4. de Waal, F. B. M. (1998 [1982]). Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes, Revised Edition. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
5. Wrangham, R. W., & Peterson, D. (1996). Demonic Males: Apes and the Evolution of Human Aggression. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 204.
6. de Waal, F. B. M. (1989). Peacemaking among Primates. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, p. 215.
7. Idani, G. (1990). Relations between unit-groups of bonobos at Wamba: Encounters and temporary fusions. African Study Monographs 11: 153186.
8. Kano, T. (1992). The Last Ape: Pygmy Chimpanzee Behavior and Ecology. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
9. de Waal, F. B. M. (1997), p. 81.
10. Block, S. (2007). Bonobo Bashing in the New Yorker. Counterpunch. http://www.counterpunch.org/block07252007.html
11. Stanford, C. B. (1998). The social behavior of chimpanzees and bonobos. Current Anthropology 39: 399407.
12. Hare, B., et al. (2007). Tolerance allows bonobos to outperform chimpanzees on a cooperative task. Current Biology 17: 15.
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’Children’s Parliament’ Sets High Bar in Congo

Youthful Body Is a Beacon of Justice

By Stephanie McCrummen
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, August 11, 2007; Page A01

GOMA, Congo — It had already been a long day when Case No. 4, woman with delinquent husband, walked through the metal gates into the spare, concrete-floored chambers of the so-called Children’s Parliament here.

The aggrieved woman sat in front of a large wooden desk, where skinny, 14-year-old Eddy Musoke — the Honorable Eddy, to his parliamentary colleagues — recorded her story with the seriousness of a seasoned attorney.

“The case was of a woman with six children,” he explained afterward, glancing down at the fresh file. “She came to accuse her husband of being an irresponsible father. He has six children, and for three years, the father has paid no school fees.”

“We’ll write an invitation to the father and another to the wife,” he added. “Their appointment is next Wednesday.”

Life in Congo can often veer toward the absurd. It is one of Africa’s richest countries in terms of mineral wealth, but its people are among the poorest on Earth. Federal employees go to work each day, but most of them have not been paid in more than a decade.

With government institutions, including the courts, hobbled by decades of corruption and neglect, one of the few bodies still reliably administering justice is a parliament run by, and mostly for, children.

Launched in 2002, the U.N. initiative has since taken on a life of its own, with 150 members and little day-to-day adult supervision.

One recent Friday, there were no adults in sight except those pleading for help from the children. The parliament’s officers took a break from a busy schedule — lobbying to free children from prison that morning, four cases in the afternoon — to discuss their work.

“Mostly children bring cases here,” said Arthur Omar Kayumba, 16, seated at a desk on which a folded piece of paper read “Vice-President.”

“Sometimes they are accusing their parents of not taking care of them, or women are accusing their husbands of not supporting the children,” he said. “Since January, we’ve had more than 105 cases.”

He pulled a thick, blue binder from a bookshelf lined with legal texts and recounted some of them.

There was the girl whose father had accused her of being a witch; the 16-year-old boy who had been forced to serve as a militia commander’s bodyguard; the woman who accused her husband of illegally selling their compound, to the detriment of their 10 children.

Musoke, the parliament’s adviser on protection for children, usually records the unsavory details. The parties are then sent a letter including a date when they can present their stories to the parliament’s officers. The letter also includes a P.S.: “We will be obliged to contact the competent service in the matter of protecting minors if you do not respect this invitation. Sincerely, Junior Alimasi, Vice-President of Protection and Participation.”

Although the parliament cannot render legal rulings, officers do offer recommendations — “moral advice,” Kayumba called it — based on their study of Congolese law and U.N. conventions on children’s rights.

In Case No. 4, for instance, “if the father says, ‘Okay, I will take care of my children,’ he will have to sign a document promising he will,” Musoke said.

“We listen to both parties and try to assist them based on the conventions and the constitution,” Kayumba added. “And we show them the consequences of not respecting the law.”

Most adults listen to their decisions, he said, but “if not, we contact the special police.”

The police do not always follow up, but when they do, consequences can range from a reprimand to fines to jail time, depending on Congolese law, Kayumba said.

The United Nations has initiated other children’s parliaments in Africa, which are meeting at a convention later this year to discuss, among other topics, how to address the plight of children worldwide.

The original officers in Goma were selected by their teachers on the basis of their academic records. Now, officers are elected by the parliament’s members.

The precocious leaders strictly enforce rules requiring that members be younger than 17. Adults can be honorary counselors if the members agree.

“If you have ideas to dominate or manipulate the parliament, you must leave,” said Kelvin Batumike, who, at 20, has been given the title of high counselor.

Over the years, the officers have developed their own thoughts on the state of their nation. Congo, then known as Zaire, was ruled for nearly 40 years by the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who stole liberally from the state’s coffers and encouraged a culture in which government employees did the same.

Mobutu’s overthrow in 1997 triggered a decade of civil war in eastern Congo, where militia groups still roam the lush green mountains and children are often forced to become soldiers and in other ways grow up fast

Up and down the crumbling dirt roads here, it is common to see toddlers hauling heavy jugs of water, teetering under the weight. A steady stream of twig-legged boys make their way down from the surrounding mountains into Goma every day, pushing wooden bicycles twice their size and piled impossibly high with bananas.

“When I see such kinds of problems, it makes me think that in the future, I will become a man of revolution to fight against this mistreatment of children,” Musoke said. “All the world knows Congo is a big, rich country, and I would make it worthy of its name.”

Kayumba said he imagines a political career.

“I want to be president of the republic,” he said.

Musoke smiled. “When I was young, I had some thoughts like my brother here,” the younger boy said.

It was almost 4 p.m. The parliamentarians had been at Goma’s jail most of the day, explaining to the officers there that it is illegal to imprison those younger than 18 and lobbying for the youthful inmates’ release. Case No. 4 came later that afternoon, and now it was time for the parliament’s weekly radio broadcast.

Musoke and Kayumba headed toward the radio station, a 20-minute walk away at the top of a hill overlooking Goma. The long-suffering city is still covered in lava from a volcanic eruption in 2002.

They took their seats in the broadcast booth, where they were joined by special guests Merline and Dimanche, two 16-year-old girls who are also parliamentarians. Musoke sat up straight, glanced at his notes like an old pro and awaited his cue.

“Why this discrimination between boys and girls?” he began, by way of introducing the show’s topic.

“Thank you, Honorable Eddy,” Kayumba said. “This inequality is caused by traditions. In many families and tribes, they give greater importance to boys than to girls. When a woman is not educated, all the nation is in danger, because it is the woman who gives the basic education to the children.”

The show continued for half an hour, the teenagers debating the origins of gender inequality in Congo.

Then the Honorable Eddy signed off.

“We thank you all, dear listeners,” he said, and the four went back to the office to finish some work.
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Companies Turn to Prairies

Pale purple coneflowers are among the plants American Family Insurance uses in the native prairie butterfly garden at its corporate headquarters off Highway 151 between Madison and Sun Prairie. After starting with 75 acres of sustainable but nonnative grassland, the company has expanded its use of native prairie plants.

FRI., AUG 10, 2007 - 1:30 PM
Companies turn to prairies
Emilie Rusch
For the State Journal
[email protected]

The sweeping grasslands surrounding American Family Insurance ‘s corporate headquarters were not planted with biodiversity in mind.

The goal, in part, was much simpler — to save money on maintenance by planting the 75-acre grassland on the 400-acre tract of former farmland on the Far East Side.

Shaggy Hair Is Ok Here; Shaggy Grass Is Not
Runoff Threatens Arboretum
Prairie Nursery

Prairie landscaping, such as American Family ‘s smaller native prairie butterfly garden, has a higher starting cost for businesses but such habitats can eventually have lower maintenance costs. And more businesses are seeing the benefits, both financial and environmental.

“When I first started, I had to explain to many people what a prairie or a savannah was, “ said Michael Anderson of BioLogic Environmental Consulting in Middleton. “People thought if you stopped mowing your lawn, it would just turn into a prairie. “

Integrating prairie landscaping into a business environment doesn ‘t mean having to fight back tall prairie grasses to get in the doors.

When Alliant Energy, which has its corporate headquarters near American Family, moved to the site in 2002, native prairie and manicured lawns were both part of landscaping plan, spokesman Rob Crain said.

After working with Prairie Nursery, they ‘re at about a 70–30 prairie-to-turf grass ratio on the 25-acre site, Crain said, excluding buildings and parking lots. Other Alliant properties also incorporate native prairie landscaping, including those in Verona, Janesville and Mineral Point.

“It makes good environmental and business sense, “ Crain said. “We wanted something that was native to the state of Wisconsin. We wanted to have an environment that ‘s sustainable for the climate we ‘re in. Going with native plants assured that process would take place. “

In a lot of ways, the sustainability of prairies is common sense. Prairies provide habitat for birds and other animals.

Native prairie plants — including flowering milkweeds, coneflowers, sedges and various grasses — don ‘t need as much maintenance because they ‘re already adapted to Wisconsin ‘s weather. No fertilizer, watering or weekly mowings are needed to keep prairie landscaping looking attractive, even in a dry summer.

That’s in contrast, Anderson said, to the Kentucky bluegrass in his front yard, which was dormant and brown in July, while the prairie was in full bloom.

It takes patience

Seeding native prairie is not as instantaneous a landscaping process as rolling out sod. It takes patience, and in the first three to five years, dedicated maintenance to keep the soil free of nonnative weeds.

The last thing a company would want to do is not properly prepare the site, said Mark Doudlah, president of Agrecol, a Madison nursery specializing in native plants and seeds, and have to reseed the costly prairie mix, which ranges from about $500 to $1,000 per acre, the next year.

“Prairie, long term, is very low maintenance. But not in the first three to five years, “ Doudlah said. “The plant is spending its energy building its root structure. It can ‘t do that adequately if it ‘s competing with a lot of weeds at the surface. “

Most sites require a year of soil preparation, which for Agrecol includes planting genetically modified plants such as soybeans unharmed by weed killers. Chemicals are sprayed to combat four main weeds — Canada thistle, quackgrass, reed canary and clover — and soil is prepped.

After a year of preparation, the prairie seed mix, usually containing 30 to 40 native species, is planted when the ground temperature is below 50 degrees, Doudlah said.

That first year, the prairie looks pretty miserable and maintenance means frequent mowings and spot weed sprayings, said Neil Diboll, president of Westfield ‘s Prairie Nursery. In the second year, the prairie is only mowed once or twice.

Once the prairie is established, usually after the third year, the plants ‘ deep root structure — the plants ‘ way of dealing with the heat and drought of summer — locks up the soil to keep weeds out, Diboll said. That ‘s when the most strenuous maintenance ends.

From there on out, maintenance means one mowing in the fall and a prescribed burn every one or two springs.

Making the commitment and paying the additional up-front costs pays off, Doudlah and Diboll said.

“It’s a forever landscape, “ Doudlah said. “If installed correctly, it will last for a long, long time. The prairies in Wisconsin have been developing since the retreat of the glaciers. I don ‘t think they ‘ll have any issue lasting our lifetime. “

Clover and ryegrass

One challenge in a corporate setting can be helping those who make the final decisions understand the added value of native prairie restoration because of the cost of installation, said Rita Garczynski, American Family ‘s facility site maintenance manager.

The nonnative highway mix ‘ seed they have used — including tall fescue, alfalfa, clover and ryegrass — costs less than $100 per acre. But the seeds Garczynski wants to use to create 10 acres of native prairie would cost $800 to $1,000 per acre. Garczynski has already seeded a growing native prairie butterfly garden.

“Biologically you ‘re much better off with native prairie, but so often in the corporate world, it ‘s return on investment that gets your project through, “ she said. “If they see the investment only in dollars, they might not see the biological value. “

Still, Steve Cohan, an owner of Full Compass, headquartered in Middleton near Esser Pond, said the company recouped its initial investment in the first three years in maintenance savings.

For prairie landscaping, the company spent 30 percent more than it would have if it had only installed a traditional “roll- em-out grass program, “ Cohan said. With Anderson ‘s help, restoration was planned simultaneously with neighbor SACO Foods.

For a property their size, Cohan estimated the company could have spent upward of $1,000 a month to mow turf grass. Instead, the majority of the acreage — there is still a patch or two of Kentucky bluegrass — is maintained with an annual mowing and prairie burn. After the third year, in Cohan ‘s estimate, maintenance costs one-third of what it would have otherwise.

“If you just look at the economic benefit, you have a return on your investment in three years, “ Cohan said. “That ‘s pretty good. “

Many businesses say the benefit of a visually interesting place to work for employees has been worth the investment. American Family and Full Compass have paths providing employees a way to enjoy the prairie over lunch.

Employee interest, partially sparked by her strategy of restoring the areas closest to buildings, Garczynski said, has helped to get support from upper management.

“There ‘s something really interesting about having this environment right outside of your window, “ Cohan said. “You can look literally four feet out of the window and see a hawk in a tree. That ‘s something you don ‘t get with a traditional office building with traditional shrubs and a parking lot. “
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Bunzel Schroder West Bend Green Home & Garden Tour, 8/25/2007, 1:00 pm

Posted by: “[email protected]” on [email protected]

Green Home & Garden Tour Saturday August 25, 2007 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: The Bunzel Schroeder Homestead
Street: 6725 N Trenton Rd
City State Zip: West Bend, WI

Brian Bunzel is a longtime peace activist, carpenter, and green building/renovating enthusiast. He and his wife Joy Schroeder have kindly offered to open their 3-acre West Bend homestead to our group for a tour.

Some highlights:

  • Wisconsin’s first residential “living machine” biological waste treatment system (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_machines for explanation)
  • a wood-fired maple sugar shack
  • a mobile chicken coop aka “chicken tractor”
  • 2-story passive solar addition built using salvaged materials
  • organic garden where Brian grows most of his family’s veggies, plus grapes, berries, etc.
  • numerous organic fruit trees
  • learn about their plans to install solar hot water panels (which Brian is considering making himself)

If you have any plans of retrofitting your home for energy efficiency, Brian has a wealth of information about how to do it affordably.

West Bend is about 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee. It’s well worth the trip, especially if you come early for the West Bend farmers market, which runs from 7:30 to 11am, rain or shine.

Stroll the market, listen to the live music, grab lunch in town (or have a picnic in the courtyard), then head over the Brian & Joy’s for an inspiring tour!

Please RSVP to Nicole ([email protected]). Kids are welcome. Suggested donation $5/person or $10/family.


From Milwaukee, travel N on 43, Take exit 96 for WI-33 toward Saukville/Port Washington, travel W on 33 through Saukville & Newburg, then turn rt (N) on Trenton Rd. just past the West Bend airport.
If you plan to attend the farmers market first, continue W on 33 past Trenton Rd, into downtown West Bend. Turn left (S) on 7th Ave. You should soon be able to see the market on Main St (which is blocked off) to your left. Look for parking along side streets. To get from downtown to the Bunzels, travel E out of town on 33, and make a left (N) on Trenton Rd. a little over 2 mi E of West Bend.

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2007
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Subject: Award Winning Preservation Artisan “Going Green”

Erik Lindberg, owner of Community Building and Restoration, has written an inspiring essay outlining his “greening” project, for his company, his clients, and the wider world. Community Building and Restoration is an award winning company specializing in the remodeling, restoration, repair, and improvement of historic homes. This year, 3 of their projects won the Mayors Cream of the Cream City Award for work in historical preservation. Erik grew up in a house crowded by books and tools, each struggling for ascendancy. At age 14 he started roofing houses, which he did throughout high school, college, and graduate school. After receiving his Ph.D. in English from UWM in 1998, the tools again found their way to the top and Erik started honing the skills and making the contacts that would allow him to build and grow Community Building and Restoration. When asked what work he is most proud of, he instead insisted that I am most proud that 4 of my employees have been with me for 5 years. I couldnt have done anything without them and Jim Godsil, who has patiently mentored me for over 6 years.

Palmer Street Wood Factory and Community Growers: Roof-top Farming Project

This has been a “one thing leads to another” sort of project, and will continue to be so. As anyone who knows Godsil will attest, with his support and involvement, one thing will, in fact, generally lead to many things!

I’ve been an enthusiastic, though passive, environmentalism, who is, like too many (but also not enough), finally following the acute environmental zeitgeist in becoming an active environmentalist. I have been multiply inspired in the last two or so years. As the owner of a remodeling company (Community Building and Restoration), I am interested in green building. But the restoration work I generally do on old homes discourages, if not prohibits, many of the most drastic green building techniques designed for new home construction. Yes, one can be a “green restorationist” but the impact will be less than for a green builder.

Therefore I determined to think more about the production end of things, with emphasis on the carbon footprint involved with running a remodeling company. Serendipity: when inspiration is accompanied by opportunity—in this case the opportunity to buy a 4000 sq. ft. commercial building in which to house my company. The five year plan is to take the building and my company “off the grid” with photovoltaic and other renewable energy sources to power our warehouse and shop, our office, our vehicles, and our job sites. But these steps involve more money than I can generate quickly.

The building’s large, unshaded flat roof, at any rate, will be a perfect place to farm the sun. This roof, however, leaks, and needs immediate replacement. Needing a new roof is rarely a blessing. But in this case the cost of the roof had to be part of the business loan for the purchase to be approved, providing me with the opportunity and funds to install/plant a green roof, using plants and the growing medium to help control water run-off, insulate the building, absorb solar radiation that otherwise contributes to the heating of the urban environment, and of course remove some of the carbon that I’m dumping into our atmosphere.

As my green roof plans began to take seed in my mind, I had the good fortune (again, what is normally a bad thing can, with proper training, always be turned into a glass of Godsil lemonade) to watch my backyard garden suffer as our trees continue to grow and shade the yard, and to read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. My new found need to eat locally, combined with my suffering garden, and my new flat roof was dialectical magic: a roof-top garden or, in my more expansive moments, farm. Joining me in this project is my wife, and recent Ph.D., Liana Odrcic. With her dissertation now complete, Liana and I hope to develop this roof as a sort of family farm.

There has of course been great precedent for this idea, with the urban farming movement in general, and the techniques developed by Will Allen in particulargiving us confidence that this project can work. Wendell Berry and some early childhood experiences driving the tractor on my uncle’s farm have also conspired to make farming a long dream of mine.

So here’s the outline of the idea and where it stands now:

  • I have much to learn about the planting, maintaining, and harvesting of the vegetables and fruits that I hope to grow, but I plan on asking a lot of questions and diving right in.

  • I need to set up and feed a large composting system now, in order to begin planting this spring.

  • I have to determine the best sort of roof membrane and growing medium, and provide structural reinforcement to the building’s roof.

  • My strategy is a “grow it and they will come” sort of approach: while I have ambitious expectations about the quantity and quality of food I can eventually grow, for my first year I have the goal of feeding my family and friends. Any additional food can certainly be donated. From there, who knows? Enough produce to feed the families of an army of volunteers who help cultivate the crop? A non-profit organization that works as a community garden? Sales to markets or restaurants? A Capitol Ave. road-side farmer’s market? What to do with the harvest is not my main concern; that, I assume, will take care of itself.

  • Would a roof-top chicken-coop be permitted in Milwaukee?

I am eagerly inviting others to share their experience, advice, even their labor in return for some sort of stake in the bounty. I would also be interested in any grant money or loan programs that would help with either renewable energy or urban farming
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David Holmgren, Co-Founder of Permaculture Theory

The word permaculture was coined by Bill Mollison and myself in the mid-1970′s to describe an integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man[i].

A more current definition of permaculture, which reflects the expansion of focus implicit in Permaculture One, is ‘Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs. People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture.

The design system

For many people, myself included, the above conception of permaculture is so global in its scope that its usefulness is reduced. More precisely, I see permaculture as the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide the organising framework for implementing the above vision. It draws together the diverse ideas, skills and ways of living which need to be rediscovered and developed in order to empower us to provide for our needs, while increasing the natural capital for future generations.

In this more limited but important sense, permaculture is not the landscape, or even the skills of organic gardening, sustainable farming, energy efficient building or eco-village development as such, but it can be used to design, establish, manage and improve these and all other efforts made by individuals, households and communities towards a sustainable future. The Permaculture Design System Flower shows the key domains that require transformation to create a sustainable culture. Historically, permaculture has focused on Land and Nature Stewardship as both a source for, and an application of, ethical and design principles. Those principles are now being applied to other domains dealing with physical and energetic resources, as well as human organization (often called invisible structures in permaculture teaching). Some of the specific fields, design systems and solutions that have been associated with this wider view of permaculture (at least in Australia) are shown around the periphery of the flower. The spiral evolutionary path beginning with ethics and principles suggests knitting together of these domains, initially at the personal and the local level, and then proceeding to the collective and global level. The spidery nature of that spiral suggests the uncertain and variable nature of that process of integration.

The network

Permaculture is also a network of individuals and groups spreading permaculture design solutions in both rich and poor countries on all continents. Largely unrecognised in academia, and unsupported by government or business, permaculture activists are contributing to a more sustainable future by reorganising their lives and work around permaculture design principles. In this way they are creating small local changes, but ones that are directly and indirectly influencing action in the fields of sustainable development, organic agriculture, appropriate technology and intentional community design.

The Permaculture Design Course

Most of the people involved in this network have completed a Permaculture Design Course (PDC), which for over 20 years has been the prime vehicle for permaculture inspiration and training worldwide. The inspiration aspect of the PDC has acted as a social glue bonding participants to an extent that the world-wide network could be described as a social movement. A curriculum was codified in 1984, but divergent evolution of both the form and content of these courses, as presented by different permaculture teachers, has produced very varied and localised experiences and understandings of permaculture.

Impediments to the Spread of Permaculture

There are many reasons why ecological development solutions that reflect permaculture design principles have not had a greater impact over the last few decades. Some of those reasons are:

  • Prevailing scientific culture of reductionism that is cautious, if not hostile, to holistic methods of inquiry.

  • The dominant culture of consumerism, driven by dysfunctional economic measures of well-being and progress.

  • Political, economic and social elites (both global and local) which stand to lose influence and power through the adoption of local autonomy and self-reliance.

  • These and related impediments express themselves differently in different societies and contexts.

For the five billion or so majority for whom the cost of basic needs is high relative to real income, the opportunities to maintain or redevelop more self-reliant means of providing for needs are extremely limited. The depletion of local natural resources by population pressure, innovation in resource extraction technology, ethnic and migratory conflict, as well as government and corporate exploitation, have all reduced the productivity and viability of old co-evolved sustainable systems. At the same time, growth in the monetary economy has provided more opportunities for farm and factory labour, thereby increasing measured income, but failing to take account of declining well-being. The lure of opportunities in the rapidly growing cities has been like the dangled carrot , enticing country folk to move to the city. This process follows a model as old as Charles Dickens’ character Dick Wittington, who believed the streets of early 19th century London were paved with gold. At the same time, government provision of health, education, and other services have all been slashed by IMF and World Bank imposed structural adjustment. This failed system of economic and social development is extraordinary in its ubiquity and repetition.

The same system of power that extracts and exploits the less powerful, soothes the billion or so middle-class people, mostly in the North, into complacency with low, and even falling costs relative to average incomes, of food, water, energy and other essential derived goods. This failure of global markets to transmit signals about resource depletion and environmental degradation has insulated consumers against the need for developing more self-reliant lifestyles, and disabled the drive for public policies which might assist these necessary adaptations. The flood of new and cheap consumer goods has stimulated consumption to a point of super-saturation, while at the same time measures of social capital and wellbeing continue to fall from peaks in the 1970′s.

The craven acceptance of economic growth at all costs, and the powerful established corporate and government interests, which stand to lose power from such a transition, makes clear the radical political nature of the permaculture agenda.

Focus on opportunities rather than obstacles

While permaculture activists are acutely aware of these impediments to what they do, permaculture strategies focus on the opportunities rather than the obstacles. In the context of helping the transition from ignorant consumption to responsible production, permaculture builds on the persistence of both a culture of self-reliance, community values, and the retention of a range of skills, both conceptual and practical, despite the ravages of affluence. The identification of these invisible resources is as important in any permaculture project as the evaluation of biophysical and material resources.

While sustainable “production” (of food and other resources) remains the prime objective of permaculture strategies, it can be argued that permaculture has been more effective at pioneering what has come to be called “sustainable consumption”. Rather than weak strategies to encourage green consumer purchasing, permaculture addresses the issues by reintegrating and contracting the production/consumption cycle around the focal point of the active individual nested within a household and a local community.

Although permaculture is a conceptual framework for sustainable development that has its roots in ecological science and systems thinking, its grassroots spread within many different cultures and contexts show its potential to contribute to the evolution of a popular culture of sustainability, through adoption of very practical and empowering solutions.

Fundamental Assumptions

Permaculture is founded on some fundamental assumptions that are critical to both understanding and evaluating it. The assumptions on which permaculture was originally based were implied in Permaculture One, and are worth repeating:

Humans, although unusual within the natural world, are subject to the same scientific (energy) laws that govern the material universe, including the evolution of life.

“ The tapping of fossil fuels during the industrial era was seen as the primary cause of the spectacular explosion in human numbers, technology and every other novel feature of modern society.The environmental crisis is real and of a magnitude that will certainly transform modern global industrial society beyond recognition. In the process, the well-being and even survival of the world’s expanding population is directly threatened.

The ongoing and future impacts of global industrial society and human numbers on the world’s wondrous biodiversity are assumed to be far greater than the massive changes of the last few hundred years.

Despite the inevitably unique nature of future realities, the depletion of fossil fuels within a few generations will see a gradual return of system design principles observable in nature and pre-industrial societies, and which are dependent on renewable energy and resources (even if the specific forms of those systems will reflect unique and local circumstances).

Thus permaculture is based on an assumption of progressively reducing energy and resource consumption, and an inevitable reduction in human numbers. I call this the “energy descent future” to emphasise the primacy of energy in human destiny, and the least negative but clear description of what some might call “decline”, “contraction,” “decay” or “dieoff”. This energy descent future can be visualised as the gentle descent after an exhilarating balloon flight that returns us to the Earth, our home. Of course that earth has been transformed by humanity’s “energy ascent”, making the future as challenging and as novel as any period in history. In openly accepting such a future as inevitable we have a choice between fearful acquisitiveness, cavalier disregard or creative adaption.

The conceptual underpinning of these assumptions arises from many sources, but I recognise a clear and special debt to the published work of American ecologist Howard Odum[ii]. The ongoing influence of Odum’s work on the evolution of my own ideas is made explicit in the dedication and extensive references to Odum in Permaculture, Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability, as well as articles in David Holmgren: Collected Writings 1978–2000[iii].

Among the recently published works on fossil energy peak and consequent descent, Richard Heinberg’s wonderfully titled book, The Party’s Over[iv], probably provides the best overview of the evidence and issues, with appropriate acknowledgement to Campbell, Leherrere and other retired and independent petroleum geologists who, in the mid 1990′s exposed the real facts about the world’s fossil fuel reserves, and the critical nature of peak as opposed to ultimate production of oil and gas.

Permaculture Principles

The value and use of principles

The idea behind permaculture principles is that generalised principles can be derived from the study of both the natural world and pre-industrial sustainable societies, and that these will be universally applicable to fast-track the development of sustainable use of land and resources, whether that be in a context of ecological and material abundance or one of deprivation.

The process of providing for people’s needs within ecological limits requires a cultural revolution. Inevitably such a revolution is fraught with many confusions, false leads, risks and inefficiencies. We appear to have little time to achieve this revolution. In this historical context, the idea of a simple set of guiding principles that have wide, even universal application is attractive.

Permaculture principles are brief statements or slogans that can be remembered as a checklist when considering the inevitably complex options for design and evolution of ecological support systems. These principles are seen as universal, although the methods that express them will vary greatly according to place and situation. These principles are also applicable to our personal, economic, social and political reorganisation, as illustrated in the Permaculture Flower, although the range of strategies and techniques which reflect the principle in each domain is still evolving.

These principles can be divided into ethical principles and design principles.

Ethical Principles of Permaculture

Ethics act as constraints on survival instincts and the other personal and social constructs of self-interest that tend to drive human behaviour in any society. They are culturally evolved mechanisms for more enlightened self-interest, a more inclusive view of who and what constitutes “us”, and a longer-term understanding of good and bad outcomes.

The greater the power of human civilisation (due to energy availability), and the greater the concentration and scale of power within society, the more critical ethics become in ensuring long-term cultural and even biological survival. This ecologically functional view of ethics makes them central in the development of a culture for energy descent.

Like design principles, ethical principles were not explicitly listed in early permaculture literature. Since the development of the Permaculture Design Course, ethics have generally been covered by three broad maxims or principles:

  • Care for the earth (husband soil, forests and water)

  • Care for people (look after self, kin and community)

  • Fair share (set limits to consumption and reproduction, and redistribute surplus).

These principles were distilled from research into community ethics, as adopted by older religious cultures and modern cooperative groups. The third principle, and even the second, can be seen as derived from the first.

The ethical principles have been taught and used as simple and relatively unquestioned ethical foundations for permaculture design within the movement and within the wider “global nation” of like-minded people. More broadly, these principles can be seen as common to all traditional cultures of place, although their conception of “people” may have been more limited than the notion that has emerged in the last two millennia[v].

This focus in permaculture on learning from indigenous, tribal and cultures of place is based on the evidence that these cultures have existed in relative balance with their environment, and survived for longer than any of our more recent experiments in civilisation.

Of course, in our attempt to live an ethical life, we should not ignore the teachings of the great spiritual and philosophical traditions of literate civilisations, or the great thinkers of the scientific enlightenment and since. But in the long transition to a sustainable low-energy culture we need to consider, and attempt to understand, a broader canvas of values and concepts than those delivered to us by recent cultural history[vi].

Design principles

The scientific foundation for permaculture design principles lies generally within the modern science of ecology, and more particularly within the branch of ecology called ‘systems ecology’. Other intellectual disciplines, most particularly landscape geography and ethno-biology, have contributed concepts that have been adapted to design principles.

Fundamentally, permaculture design principles arise from a way of perceiving the world that is often described as ‘systems thinking’ and ‘design thinking’ (See Principle 1: Observe and interact).

Other examples of systems and design thinking include:

The Whole Earth Review, and its better-known offshoot the Whole Earth Catalogue, edited by Stewart Brand, did much to publicise systems and design thinking as a central tool in the cultural revolution to which permaculture is a contribution.

The widely known and applied ideas of Edward De Bono[vii] fall under the broad rubric of systems and design thinking.

As the academic discipline of cybernetics[viii], systems thinking has been an esoteric and difficult subject, closely associated with the emergence of computing and communication networks and many other technological applications.

Apart from the ecological energetics of Howard Odum, the influence of systems thinking in my development of permaculture and its design principles has not come through extensive study of the literature, but more through an osmotic absorption of ideas in the cultural ether which strike a chord with my own experience in permaculture design. Further, I believe many of the abstract insights of systems thinking have more easily understood parrallels in the stories and myths of indigenous cultures, and to a lesser extent in the knowledge of all people still connected to land and nature.

Permaculture principles, both ethical and design, may be observed operating all around us. I argue that their absence, or apparent contradiction by modern industrial culture, does not invalidate their universal relevance to the descent into a low-energy future.

While reference to a toolkit of strategies, techniques and examples is the way most people will relate to and make use of permaculture, these are specific to the scale of systems involved, the cultural and ecological context, and the repertoire of skills and experience of those involved. If principles are to provide guidance in choosing and developing the useful applications, then they need to embody more general systems design concepts, while being in language that is accessible to ordinary people and resonates with more traditional sources of wisdom and common sense.

I organise the diversity of permaculture thinking under 12 design principles. My set of design principles varies significantly from those used by most other permaculture teachers. Some of this is simply a matter of emphasis and organisation; in a few cases it may indicate difference of substance. This is not surprising, given the new and still emerging nature of permaculture.

The format of each design principle is a positive action statement with an associated icon, which acts as a graphical reminder and encoding some fundamental aspect or example of the principle. Associated with each principle is a traditional proverb that emphasises the negative or cautionary aspect of the principle.

Each principle can be thought of as a door into the labyrinth of systems thinking. Any example used to illustrate one principle will also embody others, so the principles are simply thinking tools to assist us in identifying, designing and evolving design solutions.

The 12 Permaculture Principles

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch & Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-regulation & Accept Feedback
  5. Use & Value Renewable Resources and Services?
  6. Produce No Waste?
  7. Design From Patterns to Details?
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate?
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions?
  10. Use and Value Diversity?
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal?
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change?


Sustainable development to provide for human needs, within ecological limits, requires a cultural revolution greater than any of the tumultuous changes of the last century. Permaculture design and action over the last quarter century, has shown that revolution to be complex and multi-facited. While we continue to grapple with the lessons of past successes and failures, the emerging energy descent world will adopt many permaculture strategies and techniques as natural and obvious ways to live within ecological limits, once real wealth declines.

On the other hand, energy descent will demand real-time response to novel situations and incremental adaption of existing inappropriate systems, as well as the best of creative innovation applied to the most ordinary and small design problems. All this needs to be done without the big budgets and cudos associated with current industrial design innovation.

Permaculture design principles can never be a substitute for relevant practical experience and technical knowledge. However, they may provide a framework for continuous generation and evaluation of the site and situation specific solutions necessary to move beyond the limited successes of sustainable development to a reunion of culture and nature.


B. Mollison, & D. Holmgren, Permaculture One, Corgi 1978 and since published in 5 languages (now out of print).

H.T. Odum, Environment, Power & Society, John Wiley 1971 was a book which influenced many key environmental thinkers in the 1970s and was the first listed reference in Permaculture One. Odum’s prodigious published output over the three decades since, as well as the work of his students and colleagues, has continued to inform my work.

David Holmgren: Collected Writings 1978–2000, (e-book) Holmgren Design Services 2002. Article 10 The Development of The Permaculture Concept and Article 22 Energy and EMERGY: Revaluing Our World are especially relevant in explaining the influence of Howard Odum’s work on permaculture. For a recent evaluation and comparison of Odum’s Emergy concept to other sustainability tools see Ecosystem Properties and Principles of Living Systems As Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture: Critical reviews of environmental assessment tools, key findings and questions from a course process by Steven Doherty and Torbjrn Rydberg (editors) Jan 2002.

Richard Heinberg The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies New Society Publishers 2003.

For an exploration of the evolutionary limitations of tribalism in the modern world see Article 26 Tribal Conflict: Proven Pattern, Dysfunctional Inheritance in David Holmgren: Collected Writings 1978–2000.

For a current articulation of the value of indigenous culture and value in eco-spiritual response to energy descent see Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Waking up to personal and global transformation by Thom Hartmann 1999 Harmony Books.

Best known for coining the term “lateral thinking”.

Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, 1948, is the foundation text. John Gall, General Systematics, Harper & Row 1977, provides an accessible and useful guide for permaculture designers. Back to Top

See F. H. King, Farmers of Forty Centuries for a description of Chinese agriculture at the turn of the 20th century as an example of a sustainable society dependent on maximum use of human labour.

This is a rephrasing of Lotka’s Maximum Power Principle. Howard Odum has suggested the Maximum Power Principle (or at least his EMERGY-based version of it) should be recognised as the fourth Energy Law.

The return of part of an output of a circuit to the input in a way that affects its performance.

See J. Lovelock, Gaia: A New Look At Life, Oxford University Press 1979.

B. Mollison, Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, Tagari 1988.

B. Mollison, Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, Tagari 1988.

Charles Darwin’s emphasis on competitive and predatory relationships in driving evolution was based on some excellent observations of wild nature, but he was also influenced by his observations of the society around him. Early industrial England was a rapidly changing society tapping new energy sources. Predatory and competitive economic relationships were overturning previous social norms and conventions. The social Darwinists used Darwin’s work to explain and justify industrial capitalism and the free market. Peter Kropotkin was one of the first ecological critics of the social Darwinists. He provided extensive evidence from both nature and human history that co-operative and symbiotic relationships were at least as important as competition and predation. Kropotkin’s work had a strong influence on my early thinking in developing the permaculture concept. See P. Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, 1902.

See E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: A study of economics as if people mattered. 1973

Polyculture is the cultivation of many plant and/or animal species and varieties within an integrated system.

Walnut Way Wins Wisconsin Idea Award!

Grass-roots Environmental Stewardship…

Community Building…

Social Entrepreneurship


We have received wonderful news. Walnut Way has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 Wisconsin Idea Award for improving the quality of life in Milwaukees central city through grass-roots environmental stewardship, community building and social entrepreneurship. We will formally accept the award at the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension Chancellors Awards Banquet on Thursday evening, September 20, in Madison.

August 16 Wisc. Public TV Film Crews at Walnut Way. Join Us!

On Thursday, August 16, Fred Wessel, Producer, Wisconsin Public TV, will be coming to Walnut Way with two video crewmembers to document the youth activities and some of the other neighborhood projects. They will arrive around 8:30am, and will stay as long as necessary to talk to some of the neighbors.

Please let me know if you would like to visit on Thursday and express your views on community development. Of course, this is a collective recognition of the good will and efforts of all who move toward socially responsible communities.

The banquet is September 20. A social hour will begin at 5:30pm in the first-floor lounge of the Lowell Center, 610 Langdon St, Madison. If you would like to attend, please call me (264–2326).


Sharon Adams
2247 North 17th Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“Peace is not the mere absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.”
Martin Luther King,Jr.

Grace Lee Boggs on Detroit’s August Garden Tour

Six Buses and a Bike Tour Cross Generational and Identity Group Boundaries

By Grace Lee Boggs
Michigan Citizen, Aug. 12–18, 2007

It was amazing to see so many youth proudly explaining the work they had done on their garden and interacting with elders who are still excited about learning!

Its three years since Ive been on the August Garden Tour. At that time we only needed two buses. This year there were so many
participants and so many gardens that it took six buses, some visiting gardens on the west side of the city and others on the east side. It also included a bike tour.

The Westside garden tour , according to a young woman who has lived
here only one year, included a lot of the city’s newer gardens that
really showcased the growing trend in community gardening, the
different aspects of organizing that are incorporated into gardening, and the involvement of everyone across racial and ethnic lines and across age groups. It was amazing to see so many youth proudly explaining the work they had done on their garden and interacting with elders who are still excited about learning! The entire experience was truly inspiring and served to remind many of the tour participants why we love Detroit.

Growing Potatoes in Stacks of Tires!

The first stop was the Brightmoor Community Garden, which was started just one year ago in the Northwest corner of the city. Tour
participants were in awe of the gardener’s own expansive personal
garden, with everything from bees and melons to tomatoes and flowers,but even more impressed by the positive transformation of vacant land into a space where community members beautified abandoned houses adjacent to the garden and have successfully deterred criminal activity. The “D-Town Farm” garden is also new, just under two months old! The gardeners of this Black Community Food Security Network Garden seek to address food insecurity issues in Detroit’s black community by providing fresh vegetables and fruit. It was here that I learned from another tour participant about unique ways to grow potatoes in stacks of tires!

Romanowski Farm Park is an amazing collaborative effort between the
Greening of Detroit, MSU Extension, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, American
Indian Health and Family Services, Latino Soccer League, and two
neighboring public schools! An Americorps volunteer who coordinates theeffort remarked that some youngsters recalled that just three yearsago,there was nothing there. Now there are apple and pear trees, beautiful sunflowers, and vegetables and fruit ranging from okra to collards! One girl who lives in the neighborhood and attends the nearby school gave a few of us an informal mini-tour of some of her favorite parts of the community garden. She proudly informed us that anyone can help and eat from the garden! She remembers when she was just in third grade and, through her class, started to help out with the garden.

We drove by the garden at American Indian Health and Family
Services,which features berries used in coming-of-age ceremonies and tobacco used to educate youth about health issues. Our final stop was the Birdtown Garden in Cass Corridor, where we were greeted by chickens, samples of honey, and yet another inspiring story of community members coming together.

A Detroiter who retired recently from her job in the City County
Building was on an Eastside bus. I got a sense, she told me, of how important community gardens are to our city and how we need toreplicate them all over the city. They reduce neighborhood blight, build self-esteem among young people, provide them with structured activities from which they can see results, build leadership skills, provide healthy food and a community base for economic development, People, especially young people, not only learn where food comes from but how to prepare healthy food.

We drove down one street where the residents had contacted the Detroit Agricultural Network about the vacant lots on the block. Now, after planting a community garden, the grass is cut on every lawn. There is no litter on the street. People have become more neighborly The garden brought the children together and the adults together. They had discovered a new use for the Land.

One community garden, grown without pesticides, provides enough
healthy food for 25.families. There were a lot of young people on our bus and I thought of the many young people who say they have nothing to do and who only eat fast food.

I see this as the Quiet Revolution. It is a revolution for

self-determination taking place quietly in Detroit.

Brief Review of “Dreams of an Undemolished Home,”

A play written by Deborah Clifton and Peggy Hong

Last night I attended this excellent play of juxtaposed vignettes at Peggy Hong’s Riverwest Yogashala above the Tai Chi Center on Locust and Fratney. I was profoundly moved, especially by the group’s presentation of the Bagdad Beauty Salon conversations, derived from their reading of blogs currently written by internet empowered women of Iraq! The play is in part of satire of the “blue and red nation we’ve become” but also a compelling theatrical performance of very, very individual stories, with the focus on women surviving war and abuse, and seeking the power to forgive and overcome. Here is a note sent out to promote this worthy cultural creation by some of Milwaukee’s brilliant women.

“Dreams of an Undemolished Home” is a work in creation that will be played many times in many places over the years. If you would like to contribute whatever to this project, please send an e-mail to;

[email protected]
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Asian Fest Returns to Milwaukee

Silver Citys Asian Fest: East Meets West National Ave

Silver City Main Street District announced today that it is bringing the East to West National Avenue with an Asian Festival on September 22, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Silver City District, located on National Avenue from 31st Street to Miller Park Way, will host Milwaukees new festival to celebrate the citys Asian cultural heritage. Milwaukee, the city of ethnic festivals, has lacked an Asian festival for two years since the cancellation of Asian Moon Festival.

Silver Citys melting pot district is the perfect location for an Asian festival, said Ald. Robert Donovan of the 8th aldermanic district. Home to 17 Asian-owned businesses, including five restaurants, the area offers a variety of authentic Asian food and retail. Silver Citys Asian Festival will feature vendors and entertainers of Hmong, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, and Laotian descent.

Silver City is one of four Main Street Milwaukee Districts, a program launched by Mayor Tom Barrett to revitalize the citys neighborhood main streets. The goals of the program are to boost businesses, create jobs and attract customers.

Main Street Milwaukee is about promoting the unique cultural mixes found in some of our older, traditional main streets, said Mayor Tom Barrett. The mix of businesses in Silver City offers an international experience on National Avenue, which is why more Milwaukeeans are discovering this hidden gem.

A parade at 10 a.m. kicks of the festival, with participants representing a variety of nationalities. Silver City has invited several Asian and American Vietnam War veterans groups to march. The parade will lead to a cultural stage featuring Laotian dancers, Hmong American Friendship Association (HAFA) dancers, demonstrations by Rising Dragon Martial Arts, Chinese Lion Dancers, and Japanese Kendo (fencing). A fashion show with traditional apparel and singers will also bring an Asian flair to the stage. Food tasting and cooking demonstrations by Silver City restaurants lend a taste of Asia to the festival.

The event planning committee for Silver Citys Asian Festival is chaired by Pa Britney Xiong, of Western Bilingual Employment Services. The committee is composed of a dedicated group of volunteers, many of which are Hmong, as well as a former member of the Asian Moon Festival planning board.

For more information about the Silver City Asian Festival, check out the website www.silvercitymainstreet.org To learn more about Main Street Milwaukee, see the Department of City Developments webpage at www.mkedcd.org

The Silver City Main Street works to build a positive image that encourages customer growth and community development, in conjunction with the City of Milwaukees Main Street Milwaukee, and Layton Boulevard West Neighbors.
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Main Street Milwaukee Projects:

The Mosaic on Burleigh, SOHI on N. 27th, Lincoln Village, and Silver City

Silver City is one of four Main Street Milwaukee Districts, a program launched by Mayor Barrett to revitalize the city’s traditional neighborhood main streets. The goals of the program are to boost businesses, promote the cultural mixes that influence the neighborhood businesses, create jobs and attract customers.

For more info about Main Street Milwaukee: www.mkedcd.org

We’ve got four districts designated so far under the program:

The Mosaic on Burleigh
SOHI - South of Highland along N. 27th Street
Lincoln Village
Silver City

Boundaries are listed on our Main Street Milwaukee webpage.?
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Bill Sell Report: Lanterns, Hiroshima memorial - last Saturday

I never miss this event. I remember the day the atomic bomb was announced, as having devastated a part of Japan. As a boy, I was wide-eyed with wonder that everything can be gone in a flash. A perfect bomb. As time went on, I learned of the tragedy underneath all that power. And that it did not have to happen. The war was over and overtures of peace were being heard in Washington. I learned how General Leslie Groves, who was in charge of developing the bomb, worked feverishly to make sure the bomb was used on a city pristine and untouched by previous bombings. I took his meaning that he wanted a laboratory of people not mice. Leaders listened to him, and they favored the arguments that the bomb was “necessary” even while they were listening to the code talkers report that the emperor was ahead of his warlords, but trapped in an archaic system of decision making that prevented the Japanese government from doing what it was really discovering it had to do. We knew. Our Secretary of State knew. Our Secretary of War knew and objected to the use of this bomb, but he was apparently outflanked in the presidential circle by cries to bomb.

Today we feel distant from all that.

We are repairing a major bridge connecting two major cities.

Milwaukee is trying to save an archaic bus system, and to find a political road on which to build a modern transit.

But how distant are we?

Like Japan then, we are trying to end a war that we should not have started. We are beginning to feel like we are stuck in an archaic system of decision making where no one part of our government is willing to take the next practical step to end the war which America has lost but is unable to admit that it has lost. The Japanese had the common sense to surrender, to admit defeat. This is a country where defeat is accompanied by harikari. And some warlords did that. But we pride ourselves on being so modern that we would not commit to such brutality as to fall on a sword. But the children of Iraq continue to fall, and our face is saved.

Our punishment for this crime seems to be that we are condemned to use military force to prove to the world that we are a moral people.

But Saturday we settled for innocence not moralism, with our hands…

We built and colored lanterns.
Lit candles, and floated the lanterns on the beautiful Milwaukee River.
We folded origami.
I learned from a child: how to make a star; and a young teen woman showed me a cool shortcut in folding the crane, that peace bird symbol of elegance and long life, icon of Sadako, a child who died a slow death from the black rain that fell after the bomb.

It rained on us a bit, not as much as it is raining now (11:25 pm August 6) - this with the music of the clouds is a clean soft rain that brings us life. Sadako would be my age. She would teach me how to do the frog.
Bill Sell
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Photos from Morogoro Tanzania, Milwaukee USA sister city ceremony at African World Festival

Here are some photos from the inspiring ceremony last Friday night celebrating the sister city relationship betweeen Morogoro Tanzania and Milwaukee USA. Mayor Barrett, President Hines, Alderman Davis, Fire Chief Doug Holton, and Ryan Scaiffe, director of Project Hope in Tanzania, were given gifts from the mayor of Morogora, Ishengoma Romanus, the Minister Plenipotentiary, Audifax Choma, and the Director of Municipal Affairs, Raphael Ndunguru. This ceremony perfectly embodies an important part of the essence of the Milwaukee Renaissance, i.e. imaginative openess to and exchange with the wider world.

All Ceremony Pictures
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Growing Power Tour and Solar Oven Demonstration for Tanzanian Delegation and Dr. Gay Reinartz

Will hosted Tanzanian delegation here in Milwaukee to ceremonialize the historic sister city bond between Milwaukee, USA, and Morogoro, Tanzania along with Dr. Gay Reinartz, director of the Bonobo Congo Bio-diveristy Initiative of the Milwaukee Zoological Society.

The mayor of Morogora, Ishengoma Romanus, the Minister Plenipotentiary, Audifax Choma, the Director of Municipal Affairs, Raphael Ndunguru, Americans Marty Payne, Dr. Gay Reinartz, Ryan Scaife, Nik Kovak, and others I’ll add over time, enjoyed a Will Allen tour of Growing Power as well as a demonstration of solar ovens by Paul Munsen of Sun Ovens International. This is the first draft of this great story!

Paul Munsen, President of Sun Ovens International, provided the demonstration, which included baking cookies and rice while the delegation enjoyed a Will Allen Growing Power “awakening” tour. Marty Payne has been the Milwaukee promoter of the sun oven concept for Africa, starting out with S. Africa.

The family sun ovens cost about $250 for U.S. customers. Mr. Munsen and Sun Ovens International hopes to dramatically reduce that price in the African market by helping countries either manufacture or assemble components.

Ishengoma Romanus, the mayor of Milwaukee’s Tanzanian sister city, Morogoro, was very impressed with the potential of the sun ovens.
Widespread use of the sun ovens would dramatically reduce the despoilation of Africa’s forests for cooking charcoal. A micro loan program is being developed that would enable people to pay the same amount toward the purchase of a sun oven as they would pay for their kerosene or charcoal fuel sources.

A collaboration between Will Allen’s Growing Power team and Dr. Gay Reinartz’ Bonobo Survival team in the U.S. and Congo could be exactly what is needed to help the people of the Solanga National Forest transition from a hunting to a more diversified economic base, which could include Growing Power farming methods, sun ovens, and, perhaps eco-tourism.

All Pictures
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Reclamation Society Launches Its First City Farm in Harambee.

Here are some pictures to mark the occasion for the start of a city farm and garden in Harambee at 3342 North 5th St.

This project is with the leadership of Reclamation Society’s Stephanie Phillips, Mary Beth Driscoll of Groundwork Milwaukee, the neighboring homeowners (names to be provided0, the Green Initiative of the Harambee North Planning Group, the Riverwork Development Corporation, and UW-Extension Farming Project.

Pictures include nearby buildings and street scenes, including a parking lot for over 20 cars, along with leader Stephanie Phillips and writer/activist Nik Kovac.

Lots of good food, music, and dancing at planting and harvest celebrations forthcoming.

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Eddee Daniel’s beautiful photos of Mke Central Park

Hey everyone. This message is all about enjoyment. No thinking. No responsibilities. Just enjoy. Check out the link to Eddee Daniel’s page dedicated to Mke Central Park.


Ann Brummitt, Coordinator Milwaukee River Work Group
c/o Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers
1845 N. Farwell Ave, Suite 100
Milwaukee 53202

414–379–5680 (cell)
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Nice “Shepherd” Review of Olde Godsil’s “My Milwaukee”

Picture by Tess Reiss

My Milwaukee (Backpocket), by Olde Godsil
by “Dave Luhrssen” <[email protected]>

August 02, 2007

Jim Godsil is someone everyone in Milwaukee meets sooner or later. The intellectual roofer and soulful artisan has conducted countless campaigns by e-mail and in person on behalf of bettering local social and cultural lifecalling out the treasures hidden in the city’s history, the potential of the present and the promise of the future. In a booklet of poetry that catches his visions in short, lyrical phrases, Godsil addresses his thoughts to “We Sons and Daughters/Of the Sweet Inland Seas,” the Great Lakes bioregion that might function quite well outside the orbit of Washington, D.C. Godsil’s human preoccupation with his homeland, Milwaukee, has universal resonance at a time when globalization has become the engine of global catastrophe. Gracing My Milwaukee’s cover is a painting of a local landmark, Soldier’s Home, by Shelby Keefe, another artist filled with the unique spirit of our Great Lakes city.


The poems in “My Milwaukee” can also be viewed on line at


  • “The Harlem Renaissance Is Moving to Milwaukee”
  • “Zen Peddlers in the Noosphere”
  • “When Milwaukee Becomes the Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas”
  • “You’re Delicious!”
  • “Good Food and Beauty”
  • “You’re Golden”
  • “Poison Arrows”
  • “Athenians Contra Spartans”
  • “Out of the Closet”
  • “My Milwaukee”
  • “This Is How It Looks!”
  • “Let Us Gentrify Milwaukee”
  • “Let’s Fix Our Eyes”
  • “The Sweet Politics of Savannah Baboons and Forest Bonobo”

Here’s a link to the poems and my second vanity publication by the Holy City Press…


On this page

  • The Mouse and the Worm Transformed Milwaukee
  • Dreaming of Life as an Avant Guard City Worm Farmer
  • When Milwaukee Starts Feeling Like Some Kind of Holy City
  • City Farmers
  • When Milwaukee Becomes The Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas
  • Confessions of a Sissy Roofer
  • And Milwaukee Evolved into a Permaculture City With 10,000 Rain Barrels for 10,000 Kitchen Gardens
  • Milwaukee’s Homeland Security Threat: No Food Self-Sufficiency
  • Milwaukee’s Resurrection
  • Is America’s Resurrection.
  • The Marriage of Art, Preservation, and Urban Agriculture
  • Thank God Plants Eat Sun and Make Bugs High
  • Red White and Blue Are Now Green
  • Best and Highest Use
  • My Brain’s Euphoria Circuits
  • My Milwuakee, cont’d
  • Our Family’s Destiny
  • Good Food and Beauty
  • Let’s Fix Our Eyes

Architects Without Borders Work in Malawi.

Architects of change target child poverty

July 31, 2007

For the AIDS orphans of a Malawi border town, local clay and sand are the building blocks of a sustainable future, Steve Meacham writes. Construction workers in southern Malawi have a traditional way of building homes. They’ll dig a big pit, shape bricks by hand, cover them with wood - and set fire to the primitive kiln.

It’s simple and it works but unfortunately, says a Sydney architect, Sam Crawford, it’s also environmentally unsound.

“The kilns use a huge amount of timber, so they have to cut a lot of trees down. And it is really unnecessary,” he says. “Timber and firewood are scarce resources in Malawi. Deforestation and soil are major problems throughout the region.”

That’s why Crawford, a board member of the Australian volunteer group Architects Without Frontiers, was keen to use another brick-making technology in his design for an educational youth centre in Thyolo, an AIDS-afflicted town near the border with Mozambique.

The centre’s three pavilions, serving about 1100 children, will instead be built using bricks made from clay and sand that is readily available near the site and dried in the sun.

The locals were reluctant at first, even when Crawford told them research showed sun-dried blocks were more durable than wood-fired bricks. But they came around when they realised their centre would not only save trees but be a monument to sustainability.

“One of the directors over there said he was very excited about the building being not just an education facility, but an education in the way it is built,” Crawford says.

The Malawi project is one of 12 being developed in 10 countries by Architects Without Frontiers. Based on the highly regarded Medecins Sans Frontieres, the non-profit organisation was set up by Dr Esther Charlesworth in 1998 and now has about 120 members. Three of the latest schemes - including Crawford’s Malawi centre - feature in a new exhibition, Without Frontiers, which opens in August at Customs House. Many - like the biodegradable waste pits being built in Nepal - have a green dimension.

Crawford joined Architects Without Frontiers last year, having already committed himself to helping the photographer Claude Ho develop the educational youth centre in Thyolo.

Ho had spent three months in Malawi documenting the medical work being done by Medecins Sans Frontieres and thought something should be done to relieve the grim existence of children orphaned by AIDS.

Crawford, 35, a father of four, had flown to Malawi and been shocked. “I’ve travelled the world a lot, but it was my first time in sub-Saharan Africa. I had never seen poverty like it.”

About 23 per cent of Thyolo’s adult population have AIDS, leaving vast numbers of children without fathers (in Malawi “orphans” may still have mothers). “Where an orphan once would have gone to live with relatives, now those relatives don’t exist any more,” Crawford says. “They’re often left destitute.”

One journalist asked Crawford why poor children should get an architect-designed building when what they really needed was food or money. His answer? “Poor people need art and poetry just as much as rich people. Not that what we are doing is poetry, but we are providing them with something more than just the basics. Architecture has as much to offer poor people as it does to rich people.”

Yet from the beginning Crawford’s team realised “that a building designed for a small community based organisation in a very small rural town should not draw attention to itself. Cutting-edge design produced by someone from an alien culture seeking to bolster his or her reputation is not called for”.

Instead “we’re not going to use any technology that is not available in town. Local materials save on transport costs and emissions. We’re not importing anything, except for the tin roofing. That’s a key thing that is often missed when people talk about the environment.”

At first Crawford wanted to use thatch for the roof. “But the tradition of making good quality thatch has been lost, and the locals weren’t keen for us to use thatch because that is associated with the rich tourist resorts on Lake Malawi.” Instead, they have agreed to use thatch as the insulating material beneath the tin roof.

So far, about $145,000 has been raised towards the project, which will eventually cost up to $200,000 - “about a tenth of what it would cost in Australia”, according to Crawford.

The centre will include the region’s best library, training rooms and a youth club. Nothing fancy, says Crawford. “Just somewhere the orphans can go at the weekend to escape their misery and play table tennis.”

Without Frontiers shows at Customs House, Circular Quay, from Thursday to September 23. www.architectswithoutfrontiers.com.au.

The mission of the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, a non-profit organization, is to create a strong and vibrant community by:

  • Demonstrating the link between historic preservation and viable economic development by engaging elected officials, developers, and business leaders;
  • Strengthening our neighborhoods by preserving and promoting their unique cultural spaces including architectural assets and public art;
  • Promoting the proper stewardship of our shared historic assets;
  • Stimulating awareness of the value of Milwaukee’s cultural and architectural heritage.

These goals will be supported by community outreach efforts including advocacy campaigns, educational programs, and collaboration with other organizations working to preserve the city’s history and its cultural and architectural heritage. (adopted 6/03)
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Washington Bark Dog Day - A Fundraiser for Washington Park

This event is really fun. Please come (even without a dog) or consider volunteering. This event takes a tremendous amount of work and set-up so, if anyone would be interested in volunteering please call Pat at 933–5589

Otherwise come and Enjoy!

Washington Bark Dog Day A fundraiser for Washington Park!
Sunday, August 12, 2007 Noon-4pm
Washington Park Band-shell, 45th & Vliet
Dogs: $5/each (includes Harley bandanna & goodie bag), Humans FREE!
For more information call 414.475.9072

This exciting event will feature a parade of participating pooches, a blessing of the pets, and much more. The event features Amy Ammen & Able the Dancing Dog, lure coursing, contests, displays, music, food and fun! New for 2007 will be photos with the Brewers/Klements Racing Hot Dog, and the Pup Tent, a kids’ activity area.

Celebrity judges will determine the best of show, best costume, best trick, cutest dog and a dog/owner look-alike competition among others. Author and owner of Amiable Dog Training Amy Ammen will do a presentation with Able the Dancing Dog. Local businesses will offer information on dog training, breed clubs and the latest in canine products and health services. For an additional fee, dogs can enjoy the thrill of the chase as they zigzag through one of two fully fenced lure courses or have their picture taken with the Brewers/Klements Racing Hot Dog. There are also a variety of “games” for the dogs to play (for a small fee) where they can win fantastic prizes. Dog-loving kids will enjoy the Pup Tent where (for a small donation) they can engage in various crafts.


Pat Mueller
Heritage West Properties
[email protected]
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Why are the Honeybees Dying?

By Belle Bergner

Q: Ive heard that our honey bees are dying. What is killing the bees and is this going to affect our crops?

Its true: bees are critical for the fertilization of many of our agricultural crops and we might have to figure out an economical surrogate fertilizer if current rates of bee colony deaths continue.

Researchers are scrambling to find answers to whats causing the affliction recently named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) - which has decimated commercial beekeeping operations across the country. United States Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said that the mysterious malady affecting honeybees already threatens nearly $18 billion in pollinated crops and could cause $75 billion in economic losses in the United States.

The disorder has been found in 35 U.S. states, one Canadian province and parts of Asia, Europe and South America. Its origin remains unknown.

Johanns said the Department plans to spend $7.4 million researching colony collapse this year and noted that USDA would allocate an additional 2.7 million for pollinator projects from state extension service offices and other parts of the department.

Preliminary work has identified several likely factors that could be causing or contributing to CCD, says Dennis van Engelsdorp, acting state apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Among them are mites and associated diseases, some unknown pathogenic disease and pesticide contamination or poisoning.

Another possible culprit is cell phones. Initial research has focused on the effect of cell phone radiation on the neurological mechanisms that control learning, memory, and communication among bee colony members.

U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), John Thune (R-SD) and Bob Casey (D-PA) on July 26 introduced legislation, the Pollinator Protection Act, that would authorize $89 million in federal funding for research and grant programs at the USDA over five years to help research, protect and maintain Americas bee and native pollinator population and ensure the viability of crops that rely on them for pollination.

Send your ecological inquiries to [email protected]
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Notes From Greenfolks Garden

by Sarah Moore
July and August are busy times for most of us, and even busier for those of us who love to garden.

Here at the Greenfolks Garden we have figured out a few things that help us make good use of our time and community. This year we have nine individual and family plots, plus our community strawberry patch, perennial gardens, rain garden and neighborhood kid plot.

When it comes to watering, a person can spend hours trying to catch up to what a good downpour would do. A few years ago we realized it was silly for all of us to be running to the garden every few days to water our own plots when it was dry each lugging out the hose, standing around watering just our own area, then dragging the hose away again.

At first we thought of each person having a day for watering, but soon realized that a week would make much more sense.

Now in the spring we pass around a calendar and sign up for one or two weeks. Then each week one gardener or couple is in charge of making sure everyones plots, plus the community plots, are getting at least two good deep soakings. We try to imitate mother nature by giving deep waterings less often rather than light watering every day, so plants grow deep roots and are more drought-tolerant.

Yes, this does take a very good chunk of time when its your week. When it was my week (a very dry week) I watered by hand and swore next time I will hook up the sprinkler and bring a good book instead.

Another time-saver we have in place is weeding, laying down a thick layer of newspaper and then chipping our paths each spring. We have the chips delivered by the city for free by calling the department of forestry: 286–3594.

This helps keep the weeds out of both our plots and our paths. However, maybe we didnt put down the newspaper layers as thick as in past years because already weeds have been coming up in the path.

But help has been coming our way. The mayors kids from the Mayors Youth Employment Program have been helping in all sorts of ways, moving rocks for paths and edging, pulling nails from recycled wood for a retaining wall and, of course, weeding. Thank you, kids and Mayor Barrett!

Another plus to adding wood chips to our paths is that after five years the paths are full of beautiful rich hummus. This year as we re-chipped we talked of moving all the plots over just to take advantage of the rich soil we have created in our paths!

To keep us calm and grounded in this busy time we have been doing yoga on Friday mornings at 9 am. Come join us. Its a great way to start the day!

Contact us at 374–1458 or [email protected]
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Summer youth internship program in riverwest

Getting Paid to Dream

by Jacob Hey & Jan Christensen
Take seven kids between the ages of 16 and 19, add the usual suspects of Riverwest activism, put them all to work on neighborhood projects for the summer, and youve got some interesting alchemy. You can be sure youre going to break boundaries, expand viewpoints, and clash cultures.

Thats just whats going on in Mayor Tom Barretts Summer Youth Internship Program.

The program was started in 2006, when it helped place close to 1,000 young people in summer jobs. They included more than 200 paid internships at City Hall for high school juniors and seniors and 435 jobs with 84 non-profit and faith-based organizations. The remainder are with Milwaukee companies in the private sector.

This summer, state money is allowing the summer youth program to continue. These jobs last for six weeks in July and August, and pay $6.75 per hour for 20 hours of work each week.

Every Monday, seven of the mayors kids working on projects in Riverwest (see sidebar) meet to set individualized work schedules, planning around summer school and other summer jobs. Overseeing this organizational task falls to crew leader Lisa Spencer, AmeriCorps worker Michelle Jones, and community organizer Jan Christensen. The mixture of strong women in authority and young male workers occasionally strikes sparks.

As 17-year-old Matt puts it, Sometimes I think Im working for a secret society of feminists. Theres a lot of tension. He says he sometimes feels like theyre downgrading males, and they dont understand what theyre saying and I dont like it. Matt keeps it in perspective, however. Its OK because its just a summer job.

For their part, the crew leaders know that it is more than just a summer job. They probably dont even realize how much theyre learning, said Christensen.

Sixteen-year-old Ivory likes working at the Riverwest Co-op. He said, Im learning a lot about vegan foods, and Im meeting lots of new people, nice people.

How has the job affected him this summer? Its keeping me occupied and out of trouble.

And will it affect him in the future? I want to volunteer at the Riverwest Co-op in the future, just because of the people at the store its a nice place. I can learn more by volunteering after the job is over.

Vegan food is not universally popular, however. Mark, a 17-year old who was born in East St. Louis, has this to say: [People at the Coop] are vegetarians and vegans they dont eat no meat which I found difficult because I love meat. On record I love meat.

Mark has had other experiences to expand his horizons. One of the health-related team-building activities involves joining neighbors for an hour of yoga on Friday mornings in Greenfolks Garden.

You know, he said, I tried to do yoga it hurts! It hurts like hell! But when I was there, I saw the wonderfullest thing in the world. This lady, she just started breastfeeding her son.

Marks favorite part of the job, and learning about the neighborhood of Riverwest? The girls! I want this on record the girls.

And how has it changed his life? I work in the community now. I care about how the community looks somewhat. I mean, Im not a tree-hugger or nothing, but I learned a lot about invasive plants and all that.

This program is viewed by both Mayor Tom Barrett and Governor Jim Doyle as important to our community. At a July 23 public discussion of the City Budget in Miller Parks Uecker Room, Mayor Barrett spent much of the time complaining that the city cant spend its money until it knows how much the state has allocated. In the case of the summer youth program, however, the two levels of government were able to cooperate even while Madison legislators continue to fight over this years budget. On the strength of a letter from Governor Doyles office guaranteeing that the funding would eventually be there, the city decided to front the money.

Not every kid is going to love the job, Barrett said, but everyone in this room, Im sure, has had jobs they liked and jobs they didnt like. We tell the kids, We want you to experience working, put a few bucks in your pocket, and keep you out of trouble.

As a community, he concluded, its part of our responsibility to allow kids to dream.

Jacob Hey is an employee of the Summer Youth Employment Program in Riverwest. He is working on several creative projects to document the program.
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Teenagers Summering Near You

This summer, as part of the Mayors Youth Employment Program, the YMCA Community Development Center hired ten youth workers and one crew leader.

Two of the students work with Melissa Herguth, community organizer at the John C. Cudahy YMCA, and one works
with Mario Hall, community organizer at the Northside YMCA. The remainder work with Jan Christensen, community organizer at YMCA Holton Youth Center.

The program in Riverwest includes a variety of community projects. Marina Lee of Beginning Dreams Forever helped design a program to care for Snails Crossing park at Burleigh and Bremen Streets. She has also created a public art project called Scattered Truths that will involve the youth workers and others in the community.

Greenfolks Garden volunteers are working with the students to maintain and water the garden, as well as work on the rain garden and the creation of a new stone wall.

Sister Clara is working with the group to plant and maintain a garden at the Gingerbread House at 1st and Center Streets.

The students also work at the food pantries at St. Casimirs Church and Gaenslen School. They help out at the Riverwest Food Co-op and Caf. They are creating artwork for an antilitter campaign spearheaded by the Riverwest Neighborhood Association. In addition, some of the students work on projects to document the program, and on office work. Team-building, self-improvement and health awareness activities are also on the agenda..
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Story and Photo by Nik Kovac
Two summers ago, the city announced that $3.6 million was available to help revitalize the stretch of North Avenue between King Drive and I-43. The working title of this civic investment was the Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District.

Since then, two major real estate developments have been announced in the area, and the city hopes that many more retail, entertainment and residential projects will fill some of the gaps along the major travel corridor.

Are there any developers in the room? asked DeShea Agee, a recently hired economic development specialist for the city, on June 6, at the first of six weekly, open-to-the-public visioning workshops held at Americas Black Holocaust Museum. We need your help to bring retail in. That is the face of the district.

There has already been some movement on that front. The Just Jazz and Blues Lounge at 634 E. North Ave. opened its doors in September 2005. That same month the city approved grant and loan programs to improve existing facades, and declared that empty lots were available for development. Since then, several other nearby locations like Garfields 502, as well as Soche and Gees Clippers on King Drive have hung out shingles.

There is more to come. Last December, the city announced that a development team headed by former NBA player and Bucks coach Terry Porter was planning a 5-story building on the vacant land between 7th Street and the westwardcurving interstate just south of North Avenue. It will include a sports bar on the ground level, with loft and condominium space above.

I believe Terry Porters project at the gateway to Bronzeville is going to generate excitement and boost our efforts to create an African- American cultural and entertainment district, said Mayor Barrett at the time.

Sheila Payton, who works in local Congresswoman Gwen Moores office, attended the visioning meetings and described the Porter project as the yeast in the bread that will serve as a catalyst for other developments.

Back in November 2005, Congresswoman Moore had already secured $200,000 of federal money for another big project, the Bronzeville Cultural Center, now tentatively slated for the old Garfield Street school, just south of Americas Black Holocaust Museum.

Plans for a cultural center were first advanced by a group of local African-American leaders back in 1997, according to Tyrone Dumas, board chairman for the African-American World Cultural Center, Inc. When we first planned it, he explained, the budget was $40 million. Then we redesigned it five times over the last ten years, and now its been scaled down to $2.7 million.

The cultural center will provide high-tech space for local arts groups and non-profits, as well as some permanent exhibition space. Whatever we do will have to complement the Black Holocaust Museum, reasoned Dumas. We see it as a synergy. There are no egos here. When people get off that freeway, they are going to see a lot of opportunities in the center of the city.

The Cultural Center, explained Congresswoman Moore, will ensure that the talents of neighborhood arts organizations can be showcased to the wider community. In turn, these new visitors will expand the potential
customer base for surrounding businesses.

Representatives of local arts organizations showed up and expressed specific concerns at the visioning meetings. In June, at the first meeting, Evelyn Terry of African-American Artists Beginning to Educate Americans About African-American Art (ABEA) distributed a statement which read, in part, While ABEA feels that the creation of public art in Bronzeville is a good first step, we have concerns due to previous incidents regarding inclusion and exclusion of African-American arts professionals. Exclusion has resulted in
economic disparity in the African American arts community.

In July, at the last meeting, Denise Crumble of the African-American arts collective known as Arts Village, expressed other doubts. When planners instigate the process, she cautioned, and dont include artists, its usually unsuccessful. I live in Riverwest, where you have a lot of artists and a lot of people of mixed income. Where is the affordable housing in this project?

Agee directly responded to Crumbles concerns. A development that included a combination of affordable housing and market rate rents, he told the room, would likely be supported.

If you would like more information about the citys plans for Bronzeville and how to get involved, go to www.mkedcd.org/Bronzeville/index.html or call DeShea Agee at 286 0793.
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Urban Ecology Center Creates Washington Park Facility

By Andrea Brouer
In 1991, a small group of community members founded the Urban Ecology Center as a way to combat the high crime rate in Riverside Park. This forwardthinking group had a simple idea: increase the number of visitors to the park and the criminal activity will decrease. And it worked! Today, the crime rate in the park is lower than the city average.

Situated between Riverwest and the eastside, the Center serves 50,000 visitors annually and provides educational opportunities for 30 neighborhood schools. Community gardens, guest speakers, and educational programs are a few of the offerings the Center now has for its community.

The Centers Director of Education, Beth Fetterley, writes, If we could create the best possible scenario for urban environmental education, every city in the world would have an ecology center in its community. City dwellers walking from their homes could explore a healthy green space. Within these communities, hordes of environmentally responsible adults would serve as mentors to thousands of children, encouraging free play and nature exploration.

This fall, the Center will get the chance to expand its innovative programming to another Milwaukee community. The Urban Ecology Center at Washington Park is set to provide educational programs to eight area schools in September. Just as the neighborhood rallied to revitalize Riverside Park, preserving it from crime and neglect, the community at Washington Park has invited the UEC to join their team working to revitalize Washington Park.

Neighbors of the park have united in an amazing effort to revitalize the area. From bringing concerts back to the band shell to Washington Bark Dog Day, there is a true sense of camaraderie surrounding the park. [email protected] will add one more component to Washington Parks revitalization; using the natural oasis as an outdoor classroom, writes Joey Zocher, the Washington Park Program Manager.

Thanks to $600,000 in start-up funds donated by Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Miller Brewing Company, The Greater Milwaukee Foundation - Trinity Foundation and Windhover Foundation, Urban Ecology Center at Washington Park has become a reality. If you would like to volunteer or have any questions regarding this new satellite location at Washington Park, contact Joey Zocher at [email protected] or (414)344–5460
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Darrell Smith’s pesticide free organic landscaping

Earthcare natural lawn and landscapes

By Janice Christensen,
Photo by Vince Bushell

Its about 7 pm on a warm summer evening, and Darrell Smith is driving around the East Side, dropping off plants that he just picked up from a nursery in Waukesha. At this time of year, the only way to talk to a landscaper is to ride along in the pickup truck.

First stop is in the 2900 block of Fratney Street. It has the usual postage stamp front lawn Darrell has removed overgrown shrubbery that took up the whole space and created space to set out a couple of lawn chairs with some nice plants along the edges. The back yard is the real gem. It features a patio of recycled stone set in sand. Each piece is unique, and the effect is striking a real work of art.

Darrell doesnt do as much as hed like in Riverwest, but hopes to do more. Many of his clients are on the East Side. Thats where were heading next.

On the way, we talk about two big pilot projects hes working on in Shorewood and Whitefish Bay. They are experimenting with pesticide-free forms of lawn care on public grounds. He uses organic fertilizers like compost tea and corn gluten for weed prevention. In Shorewood hes doing an area around the Village Hall and some boulevard medians. In Whitefish Bay, hes doing projects in Big Bay Park overlooking the water, and in Schoolhouse Park, across from the library.

The Whitefish Bay jobs were motivated by the Healthy Communities Project, a citizen advocacy group thats trying to increase healthy lawn care in public places. He has a three-year commitment from the Whitefish Bay Village Board to work with these methods.

Not everyone is happy about the Boards decisions. There are some homeowners who are seeing dandelions in the boulevard medians, and theyre not happy about it, Darryl admits. We try to explain that these areas have been neglected for years, and its going to take a while to get them back under control.

Its amazing how contentious weeds can be.

Next stop is the home of Paul Miller, one of the owners of Alterra Coffee. Were dropping off a white fringe tree and some elderberry bushes. This kind of tree isnt used very often, Darrell remarks. But were using a lot of them at the Alterra building on Humboldt Blvd.

The Alterra project is the one that has Darrell most excited right now. There are going to be lots of native plants around the parking lot on the north side of the building. About 95% of the landscaping is going to be native plants. Thats unprecedented in an urban setting very cutting edge.

The building is very large, and has very little land between it and the sidewalk. Well be using lots of climbing plants to soften the lines of the building, plus tall prairie perennials in short boxes filled with a premium custom blended soil mix. We should be starting the project in mid-August.

Darrell does other work for Alterra as well. Theyre a favorite client. One of the things that I really enjoy about this is that its not just about plants, he points out. Its about meeting new people, networking and finding common interests. Alterra has an interest in using ecological methods for their landscaping and lawncare. We do all their weeding at their lakefront store by hand. Theres a financial commitment, but its nice, too, that people who eat there arent sitting in the midst of things being sprayed.

Back to our plant delivery ride on the East Side were now at Mario Costantinis house.

This is a barter job, Darrell explains. Hes trading landscaping work for the use of space in Marios Riverwest property to store one of his trucks. One of the things I like best is collaborating with like-spirited neighbors people who are fun to work with.

Darrell has a history of working with like-spirited people. He moved to Milwaukee almost 11 years ago, after
graduating from Davidson College in North Carolina. His first job was with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. He
helped start, then coordinated a youth program on the near south side for about five years. The programs focus was conflict resolution and the arts.

He continues this interest with his winter job, working with the Peace Learning Center. He teaches conflict
resolution techniques in an elementary school program.

And theres more to Darrell. Music is another side of my life, he says. I play improv violin and hand drum
and do harmony vocals. Im in a band called Embedded Reporter. We played Summerfest this year.

Were heading back to Riverwest, and Darrell has a few more thoughts. There are two prongs to my business natural lawn care and landscape installations.

He loves to use native plants in landscaping. He was introduced to them at the Urban Ecology Center, where he worked for almost three years as Community Program Coordinator.

Of course, native plants are perfectly suited for our soil type and climate. They require very low maintenance and little fertilizer or water. Even during a drought summer like this you get beautiful flowers because the root systems go down three feet.

Not everyone likes a wild look, though. Sometimes we sneak them into designs, while keeping an organized, manicured appearance. People dont necessarily want a jungle in their front yard.

He refuses to let himself be a native plant snob, however. Im not convinced were doing a ton of good for the ecological world by using native plants, he admits. Its good if people use less fertilizer and less watering, and rain gardens to absorb water. But as far as restoring the whole ecological system that was here before? The impact is negligible.

Its more about helping people understand that this is where they live. Its about people having a greater connection to the landscape.

Learn more about Earthcare Natural Lawn and Landscapes at http://www.earthcarelawns.com/. For more information on natural lawn care strategies and research about pesticides and your health, check out www.healthycommunitiesproject.org
Visit the riverwest currents here.
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Seminar on Islamophobia for Educators

A friend is working to promote a seminar for educators on islamophobia, its causes and cures.

Combating Islamophobia
August 16, UWM Union

click here for the brochure.
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Stories About Bio-Diesel Co-op Underway in Milwaukee

Bay View co-op offers earth-friendly fuel

[email protected]
Posted: July 27, 2007

Milwaukee’s newest spot to fuel up the family car has wood chips on the ground, black walnut trees overhead and a bring-your-own can policy.

At as much as $3.68 a gallon, the biodiesel fuel that soon will go on sale there isn’t cheap, but it’s clean and green.

“We can free you from big oil,” Jason Haas, whose business card identifies him as “Biodiesel Evangelist” for the newly launched “Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op,” proclaimed jokingly - sort of.

The co-op will formally open today in the backyard of Future Green, a pleasant shop at 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. that sells fair-trade and eco-friendly products such as organic cotton linens, bamboo dresses and flooring made from linseed oil and jute.

The co-op was started by Haas, Future Green co-owner Swee Sim, and others who have been running their diesel cars on fuel made from vegetable oil.

An informal group of fewer than a dozen such folks has been burning about 300 gallons of the stuff every other month. Now they’ve organized and are looking to supply new converts to the anti-petroleum corps.

They got ahold of an old, 275-gallon heating oil tank, cleaned it (“This black goo came out,” Haas said. “It was evil.”), fitted it with a 20-gallon-a-minute solar-powered pump and prepared to do business.

The fuel the co-op will sell is commercial-grade biodiesel purchased from Rote Oil, of Lake Geneva. Co-op members (membership costs $125 a year) will pay $3.20 a gallon, non-members, $3.68.

The latter figure is a hefty premium over the cost of petroleum-based diesel, which can be purchased at several area gas stations for $2.95 to $2.99 a gallon, according to gas-price monitor milwaukeegasprices.com.

“It’s not a cost advantage,” Haas said. “But it is a huge environmental advantage, and the money from biodiesel stays at home.”

The fuel, he said, produces fewer carbon emissions than regular diesel, and no soot or carcinogens.

Biodiesel has been getting an increasing amount of attention, including from President Bush, who has touted it and other alternative fuels to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Haas has been burning biodiesel in his Volkswagen Jetta for about two years. Sim and his wife, Lisa, have one old Mercedes that runs on biodiesel Swee processes it himself from used cooking oil he gets from a restaurant, and another converted to run on grease.

“A big motivation of the group was to have biodiesel readily available in Milwaukee,” Haas said.

Go here for the original article.
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Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op opens at Future Green

By Julie Lawrence
OMC Staff Writer
Published July 25, 2007 at 5:36 a.m.

With gas prices leaping and bounding and global warming heating up as a prominent political issue, it’s no wonder more and more people are ditching their gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Some hail the hybrid car as a possible answer to our environmental crisis. Others, like Milwaukee’s Jason Hass, remain fuel focused. Haas has been running his Volkswagen Jetta TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection) on biodiesel for almost two years now, and he’s hardly alone. Still, the idea of putting vegetable oil into a gas tank is, for most people, slightly mystifying.

“Many people have heard of biodiesel; they think it’s something good, but they’re not quite sure exactly what it is,” says Haas.

Here’s the short answer: Biodiesel is a renewable, environmentally safe energy source produced from agricultural products, rather than petroleum. It’s made from soybeans, canola oil, sunflowers or fryer grease and can be used in any diesel engine.

For a more in-depth look at the alternative fuel and how some Milwaukeeans are using it, the grand opening of the Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op this Saturday promises a bevy of information on the issue.

The co-op’s president, Swee Sim, co-owns Future Green, a self-sustaining, organic living retail store at 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View. Utilizing the shop as headquarters, it is here that the seven board members — all biodiesel users — have met for the past year with virtually one major goal in mind: provide a local source of commercial-grade biodiesel to Milwaukeeans.

“It was not easy to procure the stuff,” says Hass, a co-op board member. “It was never readily accessible in Milwaukee — people drove to Madison to a co-op called PrairieFire BioFuels where they sell it at the pump. But that’s all about to change.”

Sim’s idea for the co-op came after a lot of reading and some serious hands-on experience. Two years ago he started homebrewing fuel in the basement of his store by using old grease he picked up from a friend’s Chinese restaurant.

“Store customers were intrigued that fuel can be derived from old grease, and they started to regularly to help me make biodiesel. After a few months we bought a diesel Benz and started to test the fuel that we made. The rest is history — we have been running on biodiesel ever since.”

The Milwaukee biodiesel Co-op does not make its own biodiesel on site — it is shipped in from a refinery in Lake Geneva — but, thanks to board member Marshall Nickelson, it is able to re-sell it to customers at cost. Marshall, a Milwaukee diesel mechanic, donated a 20 gallon per minute fuel pump, which Sim now runs on solar energy from panels he installed on the roof of Future Green. There is enough leftover energy to run the lights in the shop’s bathroom.

Due to space limitations, customers are not able to drive their cars up to the biodiesel tank as they would at a gas station, but they are, however, welcome to fill up as many five-gallon fuel totes as they wish. This is Milwaukee’s only commercial grade, ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) certified biodiesel pump, which achieves one-third of the co-op’s mission.

“A long term goal of ours is to have a gas station, but instead of selling gasoline, we’d sell biofuel,” says Haas. “Part of the licensing for gas stations requires an underground fuel tank, but the good part about biofuel is that it’s non-toxic and biodegradable, so you can have it above ground and not worry about it contaminating anything. If it leaks, you wait a month and it degrades into fats.”

In addition to being a biodiesel provider, the co-op wants to educate the public about biodiesel and renewable energy as well as encourage the use of biodiesel in the public and private sectors.

With negotiations in progress for the proposed Jones Island biodiesel refinery — which would produce 24 million gallons of fuel a year and be the first of its kind in Milwaukee — biofuel is assuming a stronger role in the plan for a greener city.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic recently pushed for the use of biofuel and green cars in her “green print” initiative, stating in her legislation to “direct the Director of Transportation and Public Works to purchase, when applicable, new cleaner technology fleet vehicles that use alternative fuels such as biofuels, hybrids and plug-in hybrids.”

The City of Milwaukee already uses a biodiesel blend in its fleet and the co-op hopes for increased percentages as the fuel becomes more readily available.

Obsessed as we all are with fuel economy, it’s no secret that diesel engines get better mileage — about 30 percent higher — than gasoline engines, clocking in between 40 and 50 miles per gallon. Co-op board member Kyle Capizzi has been using biodiesel in his Passat since 2004 and got similar mileage, but says that he noticed about a five percent hit when he started using B100, 100 percent biodiesel, last year.

Like anything, everyone agrees there is a flip side to using biodiesel. First, its use is restricted to diesel engines only. For a sedan in the U.S., that means buying a Volkswagen — the Jetta, Passat, Golf and Beetle all make TDIs — or a Mercedes Benz. Haas says General Motors has plans to introduce a diesel Saturn, Honda will have one by 2010 and that Peugeot is working on a diesel hybrid car.

Additionally, although the demand is increasing every year, it still hasn’t reached the point where biodiesel prices are lower than that of petrolium gas or diesel. Currently, the Milwaukee biodiesel Co-op charges $3.20 per gallon for members, $3.68 for non-members. Haas says the non-member price includes the delivery fee and storage costs that are paid by the co-op.

“That number could go down. If we get a better deal, we all pay less.”

And, like all cars, there are still emissions.

“There’s no such thing as a perfect fuel,” says Haas. “As great as biodiesel is, the one minor drawback is that is does have slightly higher — about two percent — nitrous oxide omissions, which contributes to smog. It’s not that much higher than what comes from petrol diesel, but the good news is that it does not emit any soot or carcinogens into the air like other fuels. The next round of cars from Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz will have technology that traps the nitrous oxide and cleans it.”

For the co-op’s grand opening at Future Green this Saturday, July 28 is open to the public and features food, live music, an educational presentation by Capizzi and, of course, biofuel for the selling.

For original article, go here.
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Some fuel for thought

By Tim Cigelske
Posted: July 26, 2007

Biopower has arrived in Milwaukee. On Saturday, the city’s first biodiesel station holds its grand opening in Bay View.

For environmentalists, this means filling the tank with a little less guilt. “It doesn’t have the pollution of dino-diesel,” said Swee Sim, president of the Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op.

Biodiesel, made of vegetable matter (usually soy) and sometimes animal fats, burns cleaner than petroleum and comes from renewable sources. Most diesel engines can run on biodiesel with little or no modifications.

Last year, 250 million gallons of biodiesel were sold in the United States, more than a threefold increase from the previous year. Distributors are heavily concentrated in the Midwest, yet most of Wisconsin - and Milwaukee - has been the glaring exception until now.

Sim, who owns two biodiesel-powered cars, is the co-owner of eco-boutique Future Green, home of the biodiesel tank. One of his cars also runs on grease that he picks up from a Chinese restaurant in South Milwaukee. Sim covered the basics of biodiesel with MKE.

How the co-op works “Co-op membership is $75 for a half-year, and that entitles you to buy fuel at cost. Right now it’s $3.20 a gallon, and it changes every time we buy. Biodiesel is a few cents more than regular diesel. Our storage tank is about 250 gallons. To fill up, you come to our co-op location and bring a five-gallon container.”

Where it comes from “We go to a couple of commercial suppliers that are approved to sell the fuel. It’s not hard to make it on your own, but you can’t make it as consistently and as pure as the commercial producers.”

Performance “In the winter, it gels up. You can’t use 100 percent biodiesel in winter.”

For beginners “Run a little bit of biodiesel at first, maybe 20 percent, because biodiesel will clean your system. Let’s say you have a 10-year-old car, you’ll have a lot of gunk built up in your tank. If you run all biodiesel at first, it might clog up. You have to run a little bit through to flush it out. The next time, you can add a little more until you get to 100 percent biodiesel.”

For original article, go here.
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Biodiesel Fuel Driving Its Way to the Mainstream

WITI-TV, MILWAUKEE — Gas prices are all over the board, but here may be a solution on the way. FOX 6′s Vivika Vergara has more.
Go here for the video
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Sustainable S.E. Wisconsin to Film “Gimme Green,” re American Obsession w. Lawns

We’ll be screening a film on the topic of America’s obsession with lawns on September 20th, by the way. It’s called Gimme Green, and it has been winning awards at various film festivals around the U.S. and beyond.

To learn more about natural lawn care locally and the organization these women represent, see www.healthycommunitiesproject.org. Do you have one of these wonderful yellow signs yet, letting your neighbors know there is an alternative to spraying toxic chemicals on their lawn? These are made by a woman in Shorewood who lost family members to cancer. The signs are now being sold at Urban Ecology.

Nicole Bickham
Paths to a Sustainable Future
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Grace Lee Boggs Detroit Update…”Remember 1967″

Hope That The Present Has Brought Us
By Grace Lee Boggs
Michigan Citizen, July 29-Aug.4, 2007

I was very moved by the spirit of determination and self-determination rising up during the July 21 Detroit-City of Hope meeting to Remember 1967 and to ask ourselves Where Do We Go From Here?

The meeting convened at the Joseph Walker Williams Community Center in the Virginia Park neighborhood where Detroit erupted in July 1967.

Moderating the discussion was Charles Simmons, a member of the League for Revolutionary Black Workers in the 1960s and now a journalism professor and activist in the west side neighborhood where he was raised.

The stories told by the panelists were so energizing that the multi-generational and multi-ethnic Detroiters who filled the hall burst into applause repeatedly and during the discussion period stood up to share their own stories, After the meeting ended, people lingered to talk with one another, especially about the school crisis and how to educate our children.

The first speaker was 50 year- old Julian Witherspoon, vice-president of the Virginia Park Citizens District Council, who was 10 and living on LaSalle and Linwood near the Shrine of the Black Madonna when the city exploded in 1967. His father, whom I had known in the 60s, had been shot in the 1943 race riot when blacks and whites battled one another but survived to become a community activist.

Mrs. Wiley, 86, then told the story of moving to the Virginia Park neighborhood in the early 1950s after she and other blacks had been removed by Urban Renewal from their downtown east side homes. In their new neighborhood they organized block clubs to demand that the merchants on 12th St. provide better goods and services. To improve their schools they struggled for and won the right to choose principals. In the early 1960s they forced Mayor Cavanagh to appoint Detroits first Citizens District Council.

Weusi Olusola, 36, of Pioneers for Peace brought us civilized greetings at an uncivilized time. After having been shot four times, he said, he was lucky to be still here and struggling to bring about change in our communities. Every day in this country we are losing 32 people to violence. Yet a lot of people are still paralyzed in their minds. We have to stop waiting for someone else to lead us and start organizing our own resources. We have a long way to go, but we are not powerless.

Ron Scott, a Black Panther in the 60s and now host of For My People and spokesperson for the Coalition Against Police Brutality, described the Coalitions new plans for bringing churches and other neighborhood organizations together to create peace/safety zones in our communities. He reminded us of the Black Panthers community-building activities, e.g. their Breakfast for Childrens program, and urged us to build on that legacy. Our childrens education, he said, should be based on solving the problems of our communities and preparing them for Work in our communities, not for upward mobility out of our communities.

In my remarks I recalled that one of the roots of the 1967 uprising was the concern of young people that Hi-Tech and the exodus of plants from Detroit was turning them into outsiders by making their labor expendable. In the last 40 years untold millions of these outsiders have been criminalized and incarcerated because we have not created a new kind of economy that needs their participation.

In order to keep our sons, brothers, husbands, lovers out of prison, I said, we need to create new programs of Restorative Justice in our communities. We also need to get rid of the myth that there is something sacred about large scale production for the national and international market and begin creating small local enterprises that will provide Work for Detroiters, keep money in our communities, and also combat global warming by reducing the need for transporting goods from long distances.

As Weusi said,We are the leaders we have been waiting for.

The program closed with Will Copeland performing his poem As I grow older.

Weve been singing songs of healing since Swing Low Chariot Whether its NAFTA, war on terror, or urban redevelopment Im the little known Harriet, the voodoo in the voice box So grab a note and carry it, whatever makes your throat rock Coz most rap on radio is blankets filled with smallpox For grannys who dont call cops or call docs, May these small jots thats buried in a beat beneath all hearts Reach your thoughts.
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Come to a fundraising party at the home of Cate Deicher on Wednesday, July 25, 7:30pm, featuring excerpts of “Dreams of an Undemolished Home,” a play written by Deborah Clifton and Peggy Hong.

In a seemingly endless war, how do American and Iraqi women live day-to-day? How do we survive, imagine a new society, and move toward forgiveness? Dreams of an Undemolished Home will include excerpts and gleanings from Iraqi womens blogs as well as material developed by a salon of talented Milwaukee women.

The Milwaukee womens salon, which includes Ellen Amster, Dena Aronson, Rachel Raven Borouchoff, Alexa Bradley, Tonit Calaway, Cate Deicher, Ravenna Helson, Mary Lou Lamonda, Jackie Lalley, and Yvette Mitchell, began meeting a year ago to explore and embody the themes of this play. Using experimental methods developed from the former Theatre X, Deborah and Peggy have created a program of juxtaposed vignettes involving movement, poetry, puppets, and more.

Deborah Clifton is an actor and playwright. She has performed with most of the major theaters in Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago. She was a member of the Theater X collective, developing over 100 plays in the span of 2 decades.

Peggy Hong is Milwaukees current poet laureate. She is the author of poetry collections Three Truths and a Lie and The Sister Who Swallows the Ocean. She is also a certified Iyengar yoga instructor, a founder of Riverwest Yogashala, and a peace activist. This is her first foray into playwrighting.

The party and fundraiser for the play will be held at 2015 E. Newberry Boulevard in Milwaukee. RSVP to Deborah Clifton, [email protected], 414–967–8737.

Peggy Hong
[email protected]

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6–0 vote advances higher environmental and conservation standards


Milwaukee, WI Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic updated reporters this morning on the progress of her Green Print legislation, a proposed conservation ethic and plan for Milwaukee County to become more environmentally responsible. A coalition of 13 citizen groups representing approximately 10,000 residents joined Supervisor Dimitrijevic at today’s news conference and Committee meeting to show their support.

“I thank my colleagues for their solid support. This is the first step in adopting the Green Print for Milwaukee County,” Supervisor Dimitrijevic said. “The status quo is no longer acceptable. After years of abandoning our infrastructure, it’s time to make an investment, modernize the way we provide services, and preserve our resources for future generations. By passing the Green Print, Milwaukee County can lead by example.”

Shortly after the news conference, the County Board’s Parks, Energy & Environment Committee voted 6–0 to endorse Supervisor Dimitrijevic’s initiative. The Transportation, Public Works & Transit Committee will consider the Green Print Wednesday morning. The Green Print incorporates many important points, including:

  • Utilizing more renewable energy sources and modernizing our infrastructure to increase performance and lower energy consumption, benefiting taxpayers and the environment.

  • Updating the County fleet with hybrids and alternative-fuel powered vehicles.

  • Turning unused parkland back into native grasslands, managing storm water runoff and studying the use of “gray water” where appropriate.

  • Requiring that all County-supported construction projects meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) standards by 2008.

  • Creating a new cabinet-level position to oversee implementation of the Green Print.

“Each and every dollar invested will result in several dollars worth of benefits to Milwaukee County,” Supervisor Dimitrijevic said. “As high energy costs put a major strain on departmental budgets, we can certainly use these financial and environmental advantages.”

Supervisor Dimitrijevic was joined by representatives from the Sierra Club, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, the Good Jobs and Livable Neighborhoods Coalition, The Parks People, Milwaukee County Conservation Coalition, the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, IBEW Local 2150, Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers, Groundworks Milwaukee, Urban Open Space Foundation, Wisconsin Green Building Alliance and One Wisconsin Now, Institute for Wisconsin’s Future

“I would like to thank the members of this grassroots coalition for their support of the Green Print,” Supervisor Dimitrijevic added. “As a member of the Sierra Club, I’ve seen first hand the fruits of the labor that groups in our community can produce.”

Harold Mester
Public Information Manager
Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors
[email protected]

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New York Times Call for U.S. “To Leave Iraq.”

July 8, 2007

The Road Home

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.

Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a sign that President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of the disaster he created by invading Iraq without sufficient cause, in the face of global opposition, and without a plan to stabilize the country afterward.

At first, we believed that after destroying Iraq’s government, army, police and economic structures, the United States was obliged to try to accomplish some of the goals Mr. Bush claimed to be pursuing, chiefly building a stable, unified Iraq. When it became clear that the president had neither the vision nor the means to do that, we argued against setting a withdrawal date while there was still some chance to mitigate the chaos that would most likely follow.

While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

The political leaders Washington has backed are incapable of putting national interests ahead of sectarian score settling. The security forces Washington has trained behave more like partisan militias. Additional military forces poured into the Baghdad region have failed to change anything.

Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation’s alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles.

A majority of Americans reached these conclusions months ago. Even in politically polarized Washington, positions on the war no longer divide entirely on party lines. When Congress returns this week, extricating American troops from the war should be at the top of its agenda.

That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.

The administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress, the United Nations and America’s allies must try to mitigate those outcomes and they may fail. But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse. The nation needs a serious discussion, now, about how to accomplish a withdrawal and meet some of the big challenges that will arise.

The Mechanics of Withdrawal

The United States has about 160,000 troops and millions of tons of military gear inside Iraq. Getting that force out safely will be a formidable challenge. The main road south to Kuwait is notoriously vulnerable to roadside bomb attacks. Soldiers, weapons and vehicles will need to be deployed to secure bases while airlift and sealift operations are organized. Withdrawal routes will have to be guarded. The exit must be everything the invasion was not: based on reality and backed by adequate resources.

The United States should explore using Kurdish territory in the north of Iraq as a secure staging area. Being able to use bases and ports in Turkey would also make withdrawal faster and safer. Turkey has been an inconsistent ally in this war, but like other nations, it should realize that shouldering part of the burden of the aftermath is in its own interest.

Accomplishing all of this in less than six months is probably unrealistic. The political decision should be made, and the target date set, now.

The Fight Against Terrorists

Despite President Bush’s repeated claims, Al Qaeda had no significant foothold in Iraq before the invasion, which gave it new base camps, new recruits and new prestige.

This war diverted Pentagon resources from Afghanistan, where the military had a real chance to hunt down Al Qaeda’s leaders. It alienated essential allies in the war against terrorism. It drained the strength and readiness of American troops.

And it created a new front where the United States will have to continue to battle terrorist forces and enlist local allies who reject the idea of an Iraq hijacked by international terrorists. The military will need resources and bases to stanch this self- inflicted wound for the foreseeable future.

The Question of Bases

The United States could strike an agreement with the Kurds to create those bases in northeastern Iraq. Or, the Pentagon could use its bases in countries like Kuwait and Qatar, and its large naval presence in the Persian Gulf, as staging points.

There are arguments for, and against, both options. Leaving troops in Iraq might make it too easy and too tempting to get drawn back into the civil war and confirm suspicions that Washington’s real goal was to secure permanent bases in Iraq. Mounting attacks from other countries could endanger those nations’ governments.

The White House should make this choice after consultation with Congress and the other countries in the region, whose opinions the Bush administration has essentially ignored. The bottom line: the Pentagon needs enough force to stage effective raids and airstrikes against terrorist forces in Iraq, but not enough to resume large-scale combat.

The Civil War

One of Mr. Bush’s arguments against withdrawal is that it would lead to civil war. That war is raging, right now, and it may take years to burn out. Iraq may fragment into separate Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite republics, and American troops are not going to stop that from happening.

It is possible, we suppose, that announcing a firm withdrawal date might finally focus Iraq’s political
leaders and neighboring governments on reality. Ideally, it could spur Iraqi politicians to take the steps toward national reconciliation that they have endlessly discussed but refused to act on.

But it is foolish to count on that, as some Democratic proponents of withdrawal have done. The administration should use whatever leverage it gains from withdrawing to press its allies and Iraq’s neighbors to help achieve a negotiated solution.

Iraq’s leaders knowing that they can no longer rely on the Americans to guarantee their survival might be more open to compromise, perhaps to a Bosnian-style partition, with economic resources fairly shared but with millions of Iraqis forced to relocate. That would be better than the slow-motion ethnic and religious cleansing that has contributed to driving one in seven Iraqis from their homes.

The United States military cannot solve the problem. Congress and the White House must lead an international attempt at a negotiated outcome. To start, Washington must turn to the United Nations, which Mr. Bush spurned and ridiculed as a preface to war.

The Human Crisis

There are already nearly two million Iraqi refugees, mostly in Syria and Jordan, and nearly two million more Iraqis who have been displaced within their country. Without the active cooperation of all six countries bordering Iraq Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria and the help of other nations, this disaster could get worse. Beyond the suffering, massive flows of refugees some with ethnic and political resentments could spread Iraq’s conflict far beyond Iraq’s borders.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia must share the burden of hosting refugees. Jordan and Syria, now nearly overwhelmed with refugees, need more international help. That, of course, means money. The nations of Europe and Asia have a stake and should contribute. The United States will have to pay a large share of the costs, but should also lead international efforts, perhaps a donors’ conference, to raise money for the refugee crisis.

Washington also has to mend fences with allies. There are new governments in Britain, France and Germany that did not participate in the fight over starting this war and are eager to get beyond it. But that will still require a measure of humility and a commitment to multilateral action that this administration has never shown. And, however angry they were with President Bush for creating this mess, those nations should see that they cannot walk away from the consequences. To put it baldly, terrorism and oil make it impossible to ignore.

The United States has the greatest responsibilities, including the admission of many more refugees for permanent resettlement. The most compelling obligation is to the tens of thousands of Iraqis of courage and good will translators, embassy employees, reconstruction workers whose lives will be in danger because they believed the promises and cooperated with the Americans.

The Neighbors

One of the trickiest tasks will be avoiding excessive meddling in Iraq by its neighbors America’s friends as well as its adversaries.

Just as Iran should come under international pressure to allow Shiites in southern Iraq to develop their own independent future, Washington must help persuade Sunni powers like Syria not to intervene on behalf of Sunni Iraqis. Turkey must be kept from sending troops into Kurdish territories.

For this effort to have any remote chance, Mr. Bush must drop his resistance to talking with both Iran and Syria. Britain, France, Russia, China and other nations with influence have a responsibility to help. Civil war in Iraq is a threat to everyone, especially if it spills across Iraq’s borders.

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans’ demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.

This country faces a choice. We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose. Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading.

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Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op Grand Opening Event

Biodiesel fuel now available in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin Monday, July 16, 2007 The grand opening of the Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op will be on Saturday, July 28 from 5 PM to 9 PM at Future Green, 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave in Milwaukee.

The event is free and open to the public, and will feature food, live music, and an educational presentation about biodiesel.

“Biodiesel is a renewable, environmentally safe fuel,” said Swee Sim, President of the Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op. “It is made from vegetable oil rather than petroleum oil, and can be used in any diesel engine.”

About the Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op

The Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op is a member-owned, non-profit corporation.

Fuel Purchase: Price is $3.20/gal for members, $3.52/gal for non-members. The nonmember price reflects a delivery fee and storage costs that are paid by the co-op. Bring a suitable container; 5 gallon diesel totes are available at area hardware stores.

Co-op Membership: Co-op members are able to purchase biodiesel at cost. A one-year membership in the co-op is $125. Six-month memberships are $75. Members may join the co-op at the event.

The Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op’s mission is:

1. Educate the public about biodiesel and renewable energy.
2. Encourage the use of biodiesel in the public and private sectors.
3. Provide a local source of commercial-grade biodiesel.

Contact Information:

Milwaukee Biodiesel Co-op
Phone: 414–294–4300
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.mkebio.org

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Esperanza Unida’s 1st annual “Fiesta del Barrio 2007″ to be held on Saturday July 14, 2007

Esperanza Unida’s first annual “Fiesta del Barrio 2007″ will join the list of ethnic festivals to be held in Milwaukee this summer. The festival will take place in the parking lot of the Esperanza Unida building located at 611 West National Avenue on Saturday July 14, 2007 from noon until eight o’clock pm and is free and open to the public.

“Fiesta Del Barrio” when translated means celebration of the neighborhood. The festivities will highlight the Latino community, its music, food, crafts, vendors and traditions of many of Milwaukee ‘s families of Latino decent. The festival’s entertainment line-up includes music from local bands, local DJs, local non-profit agencies and local art organizations.

Esperanza Unida was founded in 1971 as a non-profit community organization. We provide counseling, representation, job training, and job placement to minority, injured, and unemployed workers in the Milwaukee area. The focus is on jobs that pay family-supporting wages. This is done through training businesses and support services. Through these programs, jobs are created and unemployed workers are trained and placed in the work environment with competitive wages. We serve people from the entire Milwaukee area, placing an emphasis on the social and economic concerns of the local Latino community.

Thank you for your interest in our event. We hope to see you there. Any questions or comments please contact Festival Coordinator Cecilio Negrn Jr at 414–628–2649 or send an email to [email protected]

How I home-built an electricity producing Wind turbine

It was easy. You can do it too

Several years ago I bought some remote property in Arizona. I am an astronomer and wanted a place to practice my hobby far away from the sky-wrecking light pollution found near cities of any real size. I found a great piece of property. The problem is, it’s so remote that there is no electric service available. That’s not really a problem. No electricity equals no light pollution. However, it would be nice to have at least a little electricity, since so much of life in the 21st century is dependant on it.

One thing I noticed right away about my property is that most of the time, the wind is blowing. Almost from the moment I bought it, I had the idea of putting up a wind turbine and making some electricity. This is the story of how I did it. Not with an expensive, store-bought turbine, but with a home-built one that cost hardly anything. If you have some fabricating skills and some electronic know-how, you can build one too.

I started by Googling for information on home-built wind turbines. There are a lot of them out there in an amazing variety of designs and complexities. All of them had five things in common though:

   1. A generator
   2. Blades
   3. A mounting that keeps it turned into the wind
   4. A tower to get it up into the wind
   5. Batteries and an electronic control system

I reduced the project to just five little systems. If attacked one at a time, the project didn’t seem too terribly difficult. I decided to start with the generator. My online research showed that a lot of people were building their own generators. That seemed a bit too complicated, at least for a first effort. Others were using surplus permanent magnet DC motors as generators in their projects. This looked like a simpler way to go. So I began looking into what motors were best for the job.

For the rest of the article and instructions visit here

For further resources, visit here

Detroit and Milwaukee: Holy Cities of the Sweet Water Seas

This essay came from Grace Lee Boggs for the people of Milwaukee!

I am attaching an essay that Jackie Victor, co-founder of Avalon Bakery, read recently on Detroit public radio. I may reprint it in my column. Jackie and Ann Perrault were inspired to start Avalon by Jimmy”s 1988 speech: Rebuilding Detroit: An Alternative to Casino Gambling. Rebecca Solnit quotes from it in her article on Detroit in the July Harpers.

In love and struggle,


Detroit is a spiritual city. For no place else that I have visited or lived, cultivates the strength to see the divine within, in quite the same way as Detroit.

This claim might seem counter-intuitive, because we do not live in great beauty or have access to expansive natural resources, And it is true: on a day to day basis it’s hard to see divinity amidst despair, vacant houses, empty lots and lost dreams.

This is not New York City, where one can draw inspiration from thousands of artists and successful entrepreneurs and be dazzled by the fineries that wealth attracts; nor San Francisco, where like-minded people converge, each pushing eachother further to create newer, more exciting art, food, products, and ways of living. This is not Portland nor Seattle, surrounded by natural inspiration.

No, this is the most basic of cities, as my dad would say in “Yiddish, “tuchus aven tish: ass on the table. It is here for all to see: the poverty, neglect, disappointments, contradictions. We can see the cracks in American Society and the broken promises of capitalism. We understand the degradation of industrialization and the disease of racism.
This is not a city for those who want to hide from the truth and therein lies the gift.

Living in Detroit, running a business in Detroit, raising a family in Detroit forces me- to create a positive reality every day. I have few social structures to support my vision of a sustainable, healthy and happy life in Detroit; most of those have been stripped bare and have left with the resources of the middle class that have flowed out over the past 4 decades. But so too have much of the distractions that come with that life. My daughter does not grow up at Target; she doesn’t walk down the street looking for things to buy; our conversations are about the people, the struggles and the questions that emerge from our environment. With so little to distract us, we notice each blossoming daffodil and delight in the erupting lilac bushes; they not only enhance the beauty; they give us beauty.

And so too, the people. There are many Detroiters who choose to stay despite the daily hardships of stripped-down urban living, crime, poverty, the comedy of grocery shopping of buying clothes for our kids; of going to a decent restaurant or finding a vibrant park for our children to play. There are many who stay because every day they are able to find the beauty and strength that inspire them to live a good life

They find it from looking into the soul of their neighbor and their children’s teacher at every possible interaction; they find it at the corner store and the bakery, where the smallest positive connection can fuel the day; they find it at the Rievera Court in the DIA- where,we can be reminded of the transformation of art; they find it the Riverfront; They find it creating visionary futures together out of seemingly impossible todays: Mosaic Youth Theater, Greening of Detroit, Alternatives for Girls. Recently, I found it watching young children-black and white-chase eachother, giggling with abandon, between the raised beds of a community garden that they had just helped to plant in the Cass Corridor. Mostly, we find it in each other.

Because one thing that Detroiters share is our intimacy with the truth. This can cause great despair, but also some comfort. We know what the bottom looks like and we know that we can bring ourselves out of it every day; on a great day, we can even lift someone else’s spirit and bring them out as well.

As a business owner, having co-founded Avalon International Breads, known in the city simply as “the bakery”, I have experienced the power of this intimacy first-hand. No customers in the world could have supported a dream the way our customers have supported ours for the past 10 years. In fact, they taught us most of what we know. When, in our early days, we would open at 6 a.m. and the prized baguettes weren’t baked yet, a loyal customer patiently reminded me, “When you open at 6 a.m, you really should have all your products ready then” and continued to support us when they finally were ready at sunrise.. When our oven broke down on our busiest day of our first year, the night before Christmas Eve- our customers gave us money for raw dough that they baked off at home, so that we would have the finances to stay open; When my partner and I, both women, had a child together, even the most sceptical and conservative customer, celebrated with us and welcomed our beautiful daughter into our city. And on and on.

Detroiters can see beneath the surface. They can see beneath the illusions of wealth, physical beauty and consumerism. They can see truth, inner beauty and do whatever they can to cultivate it. Detroiters live on a diet of love: homegrown in the barest of soil. But therein lies the preciousness. And therein lies G-d.

By: Jackie Victor
4835 Second Avenue, Detroit 48201
313 806 1934
[email protected]

Alabama Looks To The Great Lakes For Water

An Alabama newspaper carries the case for the deep south getting Great Lakes water.

A well-crafted Great Lakes Compact could make that impossible; a weakened or defeated Compact could help the water flow south.

Note: Michigan may add some qualifying language to its version of the compact, with changes found here, as legislators there cite potential demands for Great Lakes from faraway states.

Lots of Web Links to Many Stories on Emerging City Farming Movements

Because we here at Plenty keep our green little ears close to the ground, we’ve heard rumblings of a new movement. It’s happening in cities across the nation, and its guiding principle is simple: Everyone should have access to fresh, local food. And it’s big: Local foods activists are changing the contents of city shoppers’ carts from Philadelphia’s tony Society Hill to the gritty edges of Oakland, California. Each Friday for the next six weeks, we’ll bring you a new profile of one of one of these activists.

This week, we bring you the very first From Soil to Stoops profile, Motor City Harvest:
In the heart of Detroit, gardening guru Ashley Atkinson gets urbanites excited about growing food. By Tracie McMillan

Worms in Space:
Creepy crawlers help scientists understand how space radiation affects DNA. By Susan Cosier

Chemicals on the Brain:
Scientists are close to discovering how environmental factors could cause some people to develop Parkinson’s disease. By Sarah Parsons.

And later this week, look for a Q&A with green business blogger Joel Makower…

The Current:
The Fish and Wildlife Service removes the bald eagle from the endangered species list, the EPA funds alternatives to make nail salons healthier, and more.
Green Gear:
Usable art made from dollar bills and jar lids, rugs made from flip-flop rubber, and lights that use the package they come in.
The Dirt:
Eco-friendly stars might be creating a whole new genre of film-making: cinema verde.
Extinction Blog:
The endangered Galapagos, a project to protect giant, freshwater fish, and more.
A Farmer’s Notebook:
http://x.jngo1.net/y.z?l=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.plentymag.com%2Fblogs%2Fnotebook%2F&e=982809445 What do farmers produce? Crops, milk, meat, and… time?
In the Garden:
Officials in Bloomington decide which plants are acceptable and which are considered weeds
On the Beat:
Giving some space to Barry Commoner, a veteran environmentalist.
Political Climate:
What Nader could do to the 2008 presidential election.

[email protected]
Plenty magazine is a bi-monthly publication.

Creative Portland Intersections as Neighborhood Hubs of Activity

Is Milwaukee Becoming the Portland of the Sweet Water North Coast of North America?

Two great videos about neighbors using art to create public spaces, traffic calming, etc.

I’ve seen some of these places when I lived in portland. we could do that here.


Submitted by Sura Faraj

Bonobo Survival Project Gathers at the Riverwest Co-op, July 2 and July 8

The Bonobo Survival Project Sunday Morning Gatherings at the Riverwest Co-op;

8 a.m. to 10 a.m., at Fratney and Clarke, Just North of North Ave., Just West of Milwaukee’s Central Park Through the Milwaukee River Valley

The Bonobo Survival Project Sunday Morning Gatherings at the Riverwest Co-op,
8 a.m. to 10 a.m., at Fratney and Clarke,
Just North of North Ave.,
Just West of Milwaukees Central Park
Through the Milwaukee River Valley

It is becoming obvious to many that we dont stand a chance
Of adapting to the enormous challenges of our time
Without paying careful attention to the animals,
Especially the adaptation strategies of those animals most like unto us, i.e.
The Great Apes.

No evolutionary psychology,
No evolutionary biology,
No self-awareness,
No understanding of self,
No understanding of other,
No understanding of us,
No understanding of them.
No understanding of we.
No understanding.

The most important Great Ape to learn from these days
i.e. to support our study of evolutionary psychology and evolutionary biology,
Is the species called Bonobo.(Google the works of Frans De Waal and Frans Lanting for your beginning Bonobo research efforts. Wikipedia would alsos be a good place to look.)

These forest dwelling primates, along with the chimpanzees, the gorillas, the Orangutan, and the Gibbon, are our closest animal relatives. We share over 98% of our genetic structure with the bonobos and the chimpanzees, for example. We all look and act very much like one another, in many ways. We humans and apes split off from the old world monkeys, e.g. the baboons and the Macaque, about 30,000,000 years ago. Thirty million years ago we shared the same ancestors. We were family. Brothers and sisters. Our lineage came to be called, by we humans, the hominoids. We humans split off from the gorillas, the chimps, and the bonobos about 6,000,000 years ago. The bonobos and the chimps evolved apart about 3,000,000 years ago. DNA molecules, i.e. carriers of genetic information,* have been studied by professional researchers to ascertain these connections fine grained. Anyone who has ever seen our cousins the gorilla, the chimps, and/or the bonobos, can quickly intuit a deep and profound similarity among we primate brothers and sisters.

The Milwaukee Renaissance, the Great Lakes Renaissance, the American Renaissance, no renaissance of any world historic significance for the good, will occur without the appropriate diffusion of information about, and the wisdom of, the bonobos of Mother Africa, and the humans who have shared space with them for millennia, and humans who are part of the African Diaspora.

The acquisition of this information will be a chaordic process involving people, and bonobos, from all over the planet. With the power of the internet we can all become printing houses devoted to the diffusion of

information about the bonobos and our other primate cousins
information about the humans who are working on the bonobo survival project
information about the humans who are working against the bonobos survival project.
information about things we need to do to insure the survival of the bonobos and the development of understandings about what we must do, based upon a deeper understanding of our origins and genetic “hard-wiring.”

Bonobo Survival To Do List?

The Stories of the Bonobo Survival Projects?

A key first step in the bonobo survival project is to gather conversations by people about their efforts to advance the survival of the bonobos. Please let your friends, family, and colleagues know that the power of the internet and wiki web software affords us an opportunity to partner with people across the planet on the bonobo survival project.

Pleased join in this conversation, on-line, and at gatherings similar to those which will hopefully occur every Sunday morning in 2007 at the Riverwest Co-op on Fratney and Clarke, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., in Riverwest, Milwaukee, in one of the Holy Cities of the Sweet Water Seas, destined, perhaps, to win a Nobel Peace Prize by the year 2020, in part because of its trailblazing role in the Bonobo Survival Project.

Lets bonobo in Riverwest!
At the Riverwest Cafe!
Every Sunday in 2008, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Let us aim for the emergence of a myriad of bonobo survival gatherings and projects in the wider world!

Next gathering in Milwaukee: July 8, 8 to 10 a..m.
Riverwest Cafe

Viva, los bonobos!

Viva the Riverwest Cafe Co-op!

Toward a Soap Box Moment for the Bonobo Survival Project at St. Pat’s and St. Brigid’s Celebratlon at Timbuktu!

Toward a Major Milwaukee Event, a Grand Alliance, for the Bonobo Survival Project
For the integration of bio-diversity with sustainable development
For planetary bio-diversity and sustainable development
For a permaculture movement, for agriculture and culture, that lasts through
Appropriate adaptation strategies, i.e. the many ways that constitute…
The Way of Nature and
The Ways of Life.

Let’s bonobo in Riverwest!
At the Riverwest Cafe!
Every Sunday in 2008, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Viva, los bonobos!

Historic Preservation: The Ultimate in Recycling

Submitted by the Committee to Save St. Paul’s

The Committee to Save St. Paul’s was encouraged by the number of residents who stopped by its table at the Belmont Festival on Seventh Street. Volunteers distributed t-shirts that showed a photo of St. Paul’s with the words, “GC’s DNA,” emphasizing St. Paul’s symbolic imprint in time, the essence of what makes the Garden City community what it is today. Buildings often outlive the purpose for which they were built. Adaptive reuse is a process for adapting old buildings for new uses, while retaining their historic features. The progressive concept of adaptively reusing historic buildings followed on the heels of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and was a precursor of the more recent emphasis on “smart growth” and “sustainable development.” The basis for the adaptive reuse philosophy is four-fold: environmental benefit, energy conservation, economic stimulation, and social advantage.

Preservation, restoration and rehabilitation are much less destructive of natural resources than new construction. Statistics show that building construction consumes 40% of the energy and raw material consumption in the global economy each year. In 2001, new building accounted for 25% of wood harvest, 16% of fresh water supplies, 44% of landfill debris, 45% of carbon dioxide production and up to half of the total greenhouse emissions from industrial countries. Conversely, in adaptive reuse, an older building is stabilized and historic materials are saved and strengthened - holding down the need for natural resources and ameliorating the effects of production.

Energy conservation is brought about through the recognition and harnessing of a building’s “embodied energy.” In the architecture and development industries, embodied energy refers to the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the acquisition of natural resources to product delivery, including mining, manufacturing, transport and administrative functions. By reusing buildings, their embodied energy is retained, and the wasteful process of demolition and reconstruction is avoided.

Both federal and state governments have recognized the value of historic preservation and have tax-credit programs in place. These programs can assist in the restoration of historic aspects of rehabilitation. Embodied energy savings through the “light touch” approach to rehabilitation will increase as energy costs rise. Additionally, revenue is realized through the building’s reuse.

Keeping and reusing historic buildings has long-term benefits for the communities that value them. Sympathetically recycled historic buildings can continue to be used and appreciated. Additionally, old buildings tend to preserve the local culture and identity and create a sense of belonging. Their adaptive reuse respects and retains the building’s heritage, bringing alive the past to be a part of the future, and creating important connections through time. Adaptive reuse is sometimes the only way that an historic building’s fabric will be properly cared for, revealed and interpreted, while making better use of the building itself.

Nonprofit beginnings

After the enactment of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF), a pioneer in the adaptive reuse movement, was founded in Boston, MA. The nonprofit organization worked on feasibility studies for the Faneuil Hall Markets, leading to the successful redevelopment of the landmark marketplace. At the same time, the Foundation challenged calls for the demolition of Boston’s Old City Hall, turning the tide and leading to its redevelopment in 1969 as conventional office space and a first-class restaurant. AHF’s commitment to finding the best solution often includes partnering with a variety of groups, both for- and non-profit, providing unique paths to funding and long-term stewardship plans.

Present day preservation

News articles tell the stories of preservation and adaptive reuse of historic structures. Last October, Newsday reported the establishment of a partnership between Nassau County and the Friends of Sands Point Preserve in the preservation of Hempstead House, a monument to the Gilded Age that was landmarked in 2006 and awaits listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The New York Times reported the restoration of the Roslyn clock tower after 11 years of setbacks. Many Garden City residents are already familiar with the Landmark on Main Street, Port Washington’s successful restoration of a former school building.

In May 2006, the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation held a grand opening of the Montauk Playhouse, the preservation and restoration effort of the circa 1928 Carl Fisher resort in Montauk. The immense building originally held 2 standard-size tennis courts and locker and lounge facilities. The new facility, operated by the Village of South Hampton Recreation Department, offers a child day care center, serves nutritious meals for seniors (serving 60 daily) and operates senior disabled day care.

New York City has hundreds of restoration and preservation projects. Two outstanding examples of historic preservation and adaptive reuse are Cobble Hill Towers in Brooklyn, the rehabilitation of nine inter-connected 1876 National Landmark buildings into 187 dwellings units, and the Jefferson Market Library, circa 1877, the original Third Judicial District Courthouse on Sixth Avenue and 10th Street. Restored and adapted in 1967, the courthouse now serves as a regional branch of the New York City Public Library. Its High Victorian Gothic architecture has similar features to St. Paul’s, most notably its clock tower.

In nearby Rhode Island, The Times reported in December 2006 the restoration of a neo-Classical Masonic temple (circa 1920) in Providence. The developers received a federal tax credit equivalent to 20% of the main costs of rehabilitation and a Rhode Island state tax credit worth an additional 30% on the $87 million project. In August 2006, the newspaper reported efforts by Montclair (NJ) Township to stop the demolition of older homes and create a preservation board.

This article has been compiled from information provided by a member of the Committee to Save St. Paul’s consulting team, as well as source material from Canal Corridor Association, Lockport, IL, www.canalcor.org/gaylord/about_reuse.html, and “Ethic of Adaptive Reuse,” a May 2005 article in ArchitectureWeek, an online magazine, www.architectureweek.com/2005/0518/building_1-1.html. Online research turns up many examples of adaptively reused structures within the US and Canada and around the world.

At this unique point in time, the Village of Garden City has an historic opportunity to stand out as a model for other communities in recognizing the importance of preserving such an important part of our culture and of being in the forefront of towns that have protected and recycled valuable assets. The Committee to Save St. Paul’s hopes that residents will explore this topic and clip this article for reference, as the fate of St. Paul’s unfolds.

Seeking the Integration of Permaculture Concepts with New Urbanism Theory

Dear Mike(Alderman D’Amato),

It was not that long ago that people(not you!) ridiculed the coupling of “renaissance” with “Milwaukee.” The proposition that Milwaukee was at the dawn of some kind of renaissance was met in many quarters with considerable scepticism, if not outright derision.

It was also not long ago that the notion of “new urbanism” was confusing and bizarre to many of our fellow citizens. Today, like the concept “Milwaukee renaissance,” the body of theory we call “new urbanism” has become de rigeur for our political class.

Now that the Inconvenient Truth has become one of the ruling ideas of our age, I believe new urbanism will better serve the good cause with the incorporation of many of the major concepts of “permaculture theory.” I think there will emerge an elaboration of new urbanism into what might be labeled “permaculture urbanism” or “urban permaculture theory.”

I first heard the concept “permaculture” at either some meetings or on-line discussions of the Sustainable S.E. Wisconsin Yahoo Group, where I was told someone wanted $35 for a 3 hour workshop at the Urban Ecology Center. Rather than spend that kind of money on a concept I knew nothing about, I googled “permaculture” and discovered an immense body of theory and information about 30 years of social practice organized by permaculture principles. The “permaculturalists, “ starting from Australia and then spreading to the entire planet, not only anticipated just about all of our Inconvenient Truths, they developed a myriad of projects, tested and refined them, and built an impressive theory of society that readily found imaginative social practice guided by theory, and theory informed, elaborated, and changed by that social practice. Theory practice. Practice theory. Adaptation. Sustainable develoment!

It is my hope that permaculture theory will become part of the agenda of Milwaukee’s renaissance. There are many projects underway that reflect, if not are explicitly derived from, permaculture theory, e.g. the Mayor’s Green Team, Milwaukee’s Central Park, the entire project of the Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee’s Urban Agriculture Network(MUAN), Growing Power, the Zoological Society’s bio-diversity and save the bonobo projects, the anti-freeway movement, and much more.

Toward an acceleration of Milwaukee’s leading national role in responding to Inconvenient Truths, I hope to stimulate a discussion of permaculture and new urbanism, on-line, in our mainstream media, forums involving town and gown, and more new urbanist permaculture projects.

I am hoping you will conribute to this effort by allowing us at the Milwaukee Renaissance to upload your power point presentation delivered last month, or portions of it, and use that text to stimulate discussion and debate around the challenge of applying these theories to concrete issues in Milwaukee urban design and development.

What say?

Why not?



Seek Photo Essays of City Farms and Gardens

Milwaukee Will Advance the Bonobos’ Cause

Work has begun that will find Milwaukee’s citizens supporting Dr. Gay Reinartz’s efforts to advance the understanding of and protection of the bonobos in captivity and in nature. The bonobos are threatened with extinction. Their loss would be a profound tragedy for all time. Would it not be a good thing for Milwaukee, blessed with as much knowledge of and experience with the bonobos in captivity, at our zoo, and in their natural habitat in the People’s Republic of the Congo, as any city of the U.S.A, to become a great contributor to the well being of the bonobos and the people who are working to protect them?

Please send an e-mail to [email protected] if you would like to hear more about our efforts to advance the cause of the Bonobos.

Information about this project will be stored at the Bonobos home at the Milwaukee Renaissance.

Bonobo Conservation Talk by Dr. Gay Reinartz: “The Fourth Great Ape-Rare and at Risk was Milwaukee’s introduction to the Bonobos at the Urban Ecology Center, June 7. This press release is a good introduction to this important subject.

For the past decade, Dr. Gay E. Reinartz has ventured into the heart of Africa, braving bugs, heat, and thick rain forest to help conserve and protect the bonobo, an endangered great ape. Hear the Zoological Society of Milwaukees conservation coordinator talk about her work-and see photos she took in the field-at a presentation called The 4th Great Ape-Rare and at Risk. This one-hour talk is on Thursday, June 7, at 7 p.m. at the Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E. Park Place.

Dr. Reinartz will discuss her efforts to save the bonobos and other wildlife-and help the people who live near their habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Bonobos are rare great apes that share 98% of their genetic identity with humans and show empathy for other creatures. Yet they face threats of poaching and habitat destruction in the conflict-riddled Congo, the only place in the world where they are found in the wild. Dr. Reinartz and the Zoological Society have been working to survey the bonobo population and its habitat; develop anti-poaching measures; build schools and provide agricultural and literacy training to the Congolese; and hire Congolese as researchers and park wardens.

In addition to her efforts in Congo, where the Zoological Society has a research station in the worlds second largest rain forest, Dr. Reinartz is coordinator of the North American Bonobo Species Survival Plan for captive animals. The Milwaukee County Zoo has 20 of those bonobos, the worlds largest group in a zoo environment. Dr. Reinartzs work also was featured in the Zoological Societys just-published book Bonobos: Encounters in Empathy, written and donated to the Society by Jo Sandin. For more information about the Zoological Societys bonobo conservation program, visit www.zoosociety.org or call 4142582333.

For more information, contact:
Julia Kolker at (414) 2582333
May 30, 2007

Denise Dee Showing at Starbucks

At the Starbucks on Downer on July 1rst, Denise Dee will have 12 pieces up. 2 have already sold!
Come check out the exhibit and say hello!

Denise Dee is a playwright, poet, photographer and prose writer. She was in punk bands in the 70′s and edited the seminal punklitzines “Lobster Tendencies” and “The Closest Penguins”. Her play “The Family Tree” got “Best New Drama” and “Best of the Fringe” at the S.F. Fringe Festival. Her book “Sowkins” sold out of it’s first printing. Denise wrote the lyrics for the title track of The Bad Cassettes forthcoming CD “Cellophane Country”. Some of her favorite places she’s been published are Thieves Jargon, Monday Night Magazine, All Things Girl, The City, Zyzzva, and The Awakenings Review. Ms. Dee is thrilled to announce some of her poems were translated and published in Poland in 2006.

Denise was one of the editors and publishers of Nerve House based in Milwaukee.

Her photos have been published in F-Stop Magazine, Ink, and Tattoo Highway.

Visit her Myspace Site: http://myspace.com/deniseszubadee

And visit her Photo a Day Site: http://www.pbase.com/denisedee/photo_a_day

Grandmothers with a mission

Milwaukee-based organization plans event to fund efforts in Uganda

[email protected]

Posted: June 22, 2007

Grandmothers Beyond Borders is hosting A Taste of Uganda on June 30 to help fund its efforts to link grandmothers here with grandparents in Uganda who are struggling to raise AIDS-orphaned grandchildren.

If You Go

A Taste of Uganda, featuring ethnic dance and a buffet, will cost $25 and run from 1 to 5 p.m. June 30 in the hall at All Saints Church, 4051 N. 25th St.

For more information, see www.grandmothersbeyond.com or call (414) 750–1005.

The group has raised $28,000 for African villagers since it was founded in Milwaukee last year.

Recently, 11 people from the Milwaukee area made a nine-day visit to three Ugandan villages, where the group’s efforts have sparked a resurgence of hope, said Amy Peterson, founding co-director.

“They had a parade for us with hundreds of grandparents,” said Peterson, who led the trip with co-director Yvonne Ssempijja, a native Ugandan who immigrated to Milwaukee nearly 20 years ago. “Prior to our visits, most of these grandmothers felt really abandoned and alone.”

Each person on the latest trip brought 50 pounds of items ranging from vitamins and water purification equipment to school supplies.

Grandmothers Beyond Borders, which is non-sectarian, channels donated money through Caritas, a Catholic charity that is active in the villages’ area, about an hour’s drive from Kampala.

Among other things, scholarships are being provided for three university students and 20 students in primary and secondary schools. Soccer teams for boys and netball teams for girls have been started in each village, with the kids getting shorts and shirts imprinted with their village’s name and the Milwaukee group’s logo.

Money has been deposited in an account at a hospital in the area, and several grandparents have been given health cards in a pilot program to give them access to health care.

Caritas also has helped people, mostly women, create grandparents organizations in the three villages. And people have begun making and trying to market baskets, hats and craft items again after long inactivity, Peterson said.

The Milwaukee group is working with 34 Ugandan grandparents, mostly women, who are caring for more than 250 grandchildren.

All of that is a start in an area where one village school can have 550 students, only some of whom have the money to get a daily porridge lunch. It would cost $3,000 a year for a school to feed everyone, Peterson said.

“When you ask the grandparents what they want, many of them say please keep my grandchildren in school,” Peterson said, adding that many cannot afford school fees. “If the children have the financial support to remain in school, they have a chance of surviving after the grandparents die.”

“We would love to find some big funders to sustain us,” she said. “Keeping this going is not easy, especially since we are all volunteers.

“But the biggest joy was to see the grandparents excited and acknowledged, not just from our side of the world but locally. Our paying attention, listening and sharing with them has ignited something.”

Grandmothers Beyond Borders was founded in March 2006 as Grandmothers Without Borders. Also open to men and younger adults, the group sends e-mail reports to about 75 supporters.

For The original article, with pictures and other stories, visit the Journal Sentinel Online

Nice Journal Article On Milwaukee West Side!

Reaching SoHi
Owners, residents aim to bring vibrance back to 27th St.
[email protected]
Posted: June 23, 2007

Every morning, Victoria Kapustin steps out in front of the building at 958 N. 27th St. to sweep the sidewalk and pick up litter.

It’s a small thing. But for Victoria and her husband, Yuri, this apartment and commercial complex is more than just a building.

It’s their home, their business, the investment into which they have poured, not just money, time, toil and sweat, but also their dreams for the new lives they’re building in Milwaukee.

They are part of the effort to revitalize the area along N.27th St. from Highland Blvd. to St. Paul Ave. dubbed SoHi - for South of Highland.

The area has gained a Main Street Milwaukee District designation, which brings extra resources from the city and elsewhere to redevelop and revitalize the business district.

For years, N. 27th St. has been a hodgepodge of stores and businesses on a grimy street traversed by more than 40,000 cars a day, mainly on their way to someplace else.

The SoHi Main Street District, created in 2005, aims to work with residents, businesses and property owners to create “a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban area for all to enjoy,” according to its vision statement.

Committees work on safety, streetscape designs, organization and promotions.

“The goal is to revitalize and rehab the buildings, recruit new businesses and create a diverse, urban area where residents can live, work and shop,” said Keith Stanley, the district manager for SoHi, which operates under the sponsorship of the West End Development Corp.

He and others believe the area is ideally situated for commercial and residential revitalization.

Many anchors

More than 34,000 people work in and around the SoHi area at Marquette University, AT&T, the Milwaukee County City Campus and local businesses.

About 85,000 people pass through the district daily, according to Department of City Development statistics, and it has 6,000 households.

The area is near downtown, the Menomonee Valley and I-94.

The Penfield Children’s Center, which works with children with developmental delays and disabilities, has been on N. 27th St. since 1975.

It has invested more than $5 million in additions, play yards and remodeling, said Todd Honeyager, director of operations.

“The street changed to the point where there were a lot more absentee owners over the course of time and that lead to decline in the neighborhood,” he said. “This area has one of the highest densities of apartment buildings in the city because they were built to house those who worked at the many hospitals that were in the area, many of whom closed.”

Homeowners moved away, workers lost their jobs and crime moved in.

Honeyager credits recent improvements to Avenues West and other groups that battle crime.

June Moberly, executive director of Avenues West, said in her 14 years on the job she’s seen a lot of changes.

The adjoining areas of Concordia and Merrill Park have stabilized.

“People are willing to invest in their homes and older properties,” she said. “There’s an energy and excitement that’s happening on the west side.”

The Kapustins both immigrated from Russia as teens and met in suburban Detroit. He was a tailor who worked on wardrobes of Kid Rock and she bought abandoned homes in Detroit, fixing them up and selling them.

Victoria remembers her reaction to Milwaukee when they came to visit her sister three years ago: “Wow! There was so much charm - the old buildings, the lake, the diversity and the people were so friendly. We felt we had discovered America. Two weeks later we moved with our 2-year old son.”

It was a year before they found the property they wanted to buy.

When they learned about the plans for the SoHi Main Street District, they were intrigued.

The Kapustins paid of $320,000 for two buildings.

One they have refurbished into nine apartments upstairs and three commercial spaces at street level.

They live in one of the spanking new units that has exposed brick, a wood laminate floor and an energy efficient hot water systems in the bathrooms.

The building next door with eight apartments and two commercial offices is next to be redone, a job Victoria said she’s looking forward to.

“Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, but I love it,” she said.

“We like living in the city with the noise. I hate grass. I think this will be the next hot area.”

Their neighbor across the street, Shaah Haqqi, shares their enthusiasm.

He is rehabilitating a nearly block-long red brick building that will have 10 condominium units and six storefronts when he’s done.

So far “the little developer on the corner,” as he calls himself, and his company, S&L Global, has poured $1 million into installing new windows, plumbing, electrical, sandblasting the brick, tuck-pointing and other improvements.

“Initially, I felt SoHi was a lot of talk and no work, but now I see a lot of progress,” he said.

Sure progress; a lot of fun

He’s a member of the district’s economic committee.

“It’s moving forward slowly, but surely. I think any neighborhood can be cleaned up and made to look nice, but you have to believe in the neighborhood. If you believe you can change it.”

Chuck Hausmann grew up in the nearby neighborhood of N. 38th and State streets and views the SoHi environs with nostalgia.

He’s redeveloped a building on N. 27th that houses his investment business.

He figures there are now seven or eight major redevelopment projects in the neighborhood under development worth about $8 million.

That includes the West Point condominium project at N. 27th and Wells that will include some condos for low income buyers.

It’s a project of the West End Development Corp., the non-profit that sponsors the SoHi Main Street District .

In 2010, when N. 27th St. is to be rebuilt, Hausmann and others hope to add plants, benches and other amenities to attract pedestrians and slow down traffic, he said.

“Yes, this is in the embryonic stage, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

A mural that his stepdaughter, Kate Madigan, painted on the side of his building at Highland Ave. and N. 27th St., vividly illustrates his hopes.

On one side are dilapidated buildings with dark clouds looming, but on the other appear flowers, classic buildings and a sunny sky.

In the middle of the picture, a bright blue phoenix soars from fiery red flames of ruin.

For The original article, with pictures and other stories, visit the Journal Sentinel Online

American Museum of Natural History Exhibit Merges Paleontology and Genetics To Support Our Quest for Self-Understanding

Our ancestors have arrived at the American Museum of Natural History. They are very old, and we are only beginning to recognize them and ourselves in them. They remind us of our origins long ago and how we have emerged as modern humans in the fullness of time.

by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The museums new permanent exhibition on human origins, which opens tomorrow, merges notable achievements in paleontology and genetics, sciences that have made their own robust evolutionary strides in recent years. Each introduces evidence supporting the other in establishing a genealogy extending back to protohuman species that arose in Africa from earlier primates some six to seven million years ago.

These two scientific threads run through the exhibition like the strands of the DNA double helix.

Ellen V. Futter, the museums president, said the mutually reinforcing evidence was organized in the exhibition to address three fundamental questions: Where did we come from? Who are we? And what lies ahead for us?

Continued at…
New York Times

Bay View Four Season Organic Kitchen Garden Tours & Rasberry Picking

Dear All,

It has been my privilege to closely witness the “magic” of Will Allen’s Growing Power project at Milwaukee’s last city farm on 55th & Silver Spring for the past few years.

I am also blessed with the help of gardeners Sky Schultz and Charlie Behnke, and Bob Graf and Andor Horvath, who have been experimenting with Growing Power methodologies and developing structures for organic crops in small spaces

And now my Euclid House Four Season Kitchen Garden Project has the help of two “new generation” urban farmers, Meghan McCabe and Mark Caldwell, who have been working on the project and giving me rules to follow.

If anyone would wish a 15 minute tour of this small project, and some free rasberry picking time in the very near future, please send an e-mail to [email protected]

Mark and Meghan might also be available to help you launch your own four season organic kitchen garden experiment. Or, they could assist you in creating meals with fruits and veggies taken directly from your own garden. Send an e-mail to [email protected] if you would wish a meeting around this idea.

Toward increased local food production ASAP,


Dreamtime Village Wisconsin: An Intentional Community of Artists

Into Middle America but Staying on the Fringe

Driving the back roads, you sometimes cross state borders unknowingly. Without the enormous Welcome to …! signs you see on the Interstates, all you have to identify your new surroundings are subtle clues in the landscape knobbier pine trees, say, or highways named for local heroes.

Wisconsin, however, announced itself with no such subtlety. After a weekend in Chicago, Id driven west across Illinois, finally turning north amid the big estates near Forreston. Once I was over the state line, hills swelled up from the prairie, the sweet smell of manure wafted from dairy farms, and advertisements urged me to indulge in Cheddar cheese and frozen custard, bratwurst and ButterBurgers.

By the time I drove through New Glarus a surreal town modeled on a Swiss village complete with chalet-style buildings and street signs in German I knew I hadnt simply entered a new state, but a new state of mind.

As culturally distinct as Wisconsin is, I was heading for a place that sat at yet another remove from mainstream America: Dreamtime Village, an intentional community of artists situated in the driftless hills of southwest Wisconsin (so called because they escaped the rough, cold touch of ice age glaciers).

Once known as communes, until the word became overly associated with hippies and other cultural relics of the 1960s and 70s, intentional communities have a long history in this country, going back to the Shakers and even, I suppose, the Pilgrims. Id long wanted to visit one, to see how utopian ideals were surviving in the more cynical America of today, and so I logged on to www.ic.org and searched for intentional communities in Wisconsin and Iowa. At first, I found what I had expected: devout Christians, pagan farmers and a polyamorous family (my wife, Jean, vetoed that one). Almost all, however, wanted serious members, not casual visitors like me.

But for $8 a day and the understanding that I would put my meager skills to work in the community, Dreamtime Village (10375 County Highway A, West Lima; 608–625–4619; www.dreamtimevillage.org) was willing to have me. I didnt know what I would find there: men wearing burlap sacks? an all-groundnut menu? But last Wednesday evening, after following ever-smaller county roads as they arced up, down and around the hills, the Volvo climbed one final ridgetop and arrived in the middle of nowhere the tiny village of West Lima (population 65, or so).

A century ago, West Lima was thriving. But as the economy changed, its citizens relocated, and by 1990 the public school and the post office lay empty, and the gas station and hat shop were fading memories. Then mIEKAL aND and Elizabeth Was artists, as you can tell by the wacky names showed up from Madison and founded a hypermedia permaculture eco-village, in other words, a small, sustainable farm where they and other like-minded individuals could create art and music. On 80-odd acres donated by an eccentric benefactor, Dreamtime Village grew to 25 members and became a fixture on the anarchist circuit, attracting visitors like the doctor-clown Patch Adams and the writer Daniel Pinchbeck.

When I got there, mIEKAL was standing in West Limas main intersection, and the sun was warming the towns sole remaining business, a Pepsi machine (50 cents a can). Bright-eyed and sporting a bushy mustache, he greeted me, expressing surprise that Id actually come. A lot of people, he said, get cold feet, apparently put off by the idea of an intentional community.

But from what I could see, Dreamtimes residents were pretty normal: mIEKALs 19-year-old son, Zon, had just graduated from the Waldorf School in Viroqua, a couple of towns west; Camille, whom mIEKAL had married after he and Elizabeth divorced, was a cheerful, inquisitive filmmaker who had moved there from Romania only a few years earlier (Elizabeth, who had renamed herself Lyx Ish, died in 2004); and Ken, a handyman whod been in West Lima longer than anyone, was quieter than the others but so what.

At first, I couldnt quite see how they constituted a community. Camille and mIEKAL lived in the P.O., the towns former post office, while Zon, Ken and I had bedrooms in the rickety wood-frame hotel (it had been the teachers hotel back when the public school was open). Apparently, another person, Kirk, lived on a far-flung piece of property, but he and I never even met.

All seemed to be on their own trajectories. Zon slept till noon, and mIEKAL worked days as the Web master for the food distributor Organic Valley, based nearby in La Farge. Camille tended to her pet parrots and film projects. Ken was often parked in front of his computer (we had dial-up Internet at the hotel, wireless DSL at the P.O.). No one seemed to share meals. It hardly felt communal.

Nor was the community particularly isolated. To the west is a big park, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, and to the south is Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wrights home and school (www.taliesinpreservation.org). Between West Lima and these obvious tourist destinations were dozens of the swooping, swerving roads that I longed to cruise. (Nothing picks you up in its arms and so gently, almost lovingly, cradles you as do these southwestern Wisconsin hills, Wright had written.)

The Volvo, however, had been leaking coolant badly, and I was afraid to take it out for long. At a readers suggestion, Id mentioned the issue on www.brickboard.com, but still didnt know where to take the car for service.

Instead, I quashed my restlessness and tried to adapt to Dreamtimes rhythms. The heat meant no gardening until late afternoon, so I spent the day reading a Chinese mystery novel, picnicking among the 19th-century tombstones of the West Lima cemetery Id spent almost $20 on rye bread, aged Cheddar and weiss beer in New Glarus and chatting with whoever happened to pass by. Camille showed me the visual poetry zine she and mIEKAL had just published, I shared my beers with the quiet Ken, and Zon told me about a run-in with neighbor kids when he was 9.

Hey, he said theyd asked him, not realizing he was a Dreamtimer, so have you met the Satan-worshipers who live over there? They sacrifice virgin animals to Satan!

Oh, really, Zon said hed responded with a smile, how does that work?

And around 7 oclock, we would all migrate toward the gardens. Id rake grass clipping to use as mulch or spray garlic water on eggplant leaves to keep bugs away, and mIEKAL would tend baby plants in the greenhouse. Margarita, the pet goose, would nip at Camilles leg, and the whine of the lathe would echo from Kens woodshop. We were each in our own orbit I was still preparing my own dinner, penne in a tomato sauce made with ingredients from the garden but I was starting to sense the gravitational forces that drew us individuals together.

On Friday morning, mIEKAL took me to Organic Valley (www.organicvalley.coop) for a tour of the offices. The building was impressively green (for insulation, it used old jeans), but more astounding was the size of the operation: more than 300 employees and a network of organic growers stretching from southwestern Wisconsin to Maine, Florida and California. Suddenly, mIEKALs devotion to permaculture and organic living didnt seem so oddball, but more like the crest of a rising wave.

After the tour, we ate lunch in the cafeteria (organic meals for $5 a pound) with Daisy, a young woman whod once hitchhiked across the country. As we chatted about travel, I mentioned my car troubles, and she asked, Why dont you take it to Paul, the guy who fixes Volvos?

Why not indeed? With mIEKAL kindly escorting me, I took the car to Paul Schlicht of Schlicht Automotive (741 South Main Street, Viroqua; 608–637–6766), who quickly diagnosed the problem. The heater core hoses had ruptured from rubbing the dipstick. Because he knew I was in a hurry, Paul agreed to fix it by Saturday morning.

As Paul tinkered, his friends sat around drinking beer while heavy metal played on the radio. This is your truest Wisconsin experience, mIEKAL said, hanging out in an auto garage in the middle of nowhere.

Back in West Lima, mIEKAL, Camille and I spent the afternoon drinking homemade plum wine and talking about an odd cemetery in Romania, Zons future and how the once-reclusive Ken had slowly opened up. Occasionally, a horse and buggy would clip-clop down the road, a reminder that Amish farmers, too, had found the driftless hills a perfect fit for their own intentional communities. Then, at last, we ate dinner together a weirdly good stir-fry of organic hot dogs and mushrooms over saffron rice, with a fresh spinach salad from the garden and I returned to my breezy corner bedroom.

The next morning, I knew, I would be leaving West Lima to visit Taliesin, itself an experiment in living closer to nature, then drive west to Decorah, the reader-recommended heart of Norwegian-American Iowa. And for a moment, I felt terrible. In these few days, Id just begun to find my place in Dreamtime Village, and now I was abandoning it. But community, Id learned, exists independent of geography, and the bonds that linked me to these not-so-isolated dreamers would stretch across the hills of Wisconsin and beyond. Margarita the goose clucked out in the yard; my cellphone, with no signal, lay dormant on the nightstand; and I fell soundly asleep.

Next stop: South Dakota and Nebraska.

For Photos, video, and more, visit the article here: http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/06/20/travel/20frugal.html?pagewanted=all

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Post Traumatic Stress, and Stigma of Mental Health Care

Yesterday, a U.S. military vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. Another was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. We hear reports like these coming out of Iraq almost every day. But what happens to the soldiers who survive these attacks? Are those who suffer the psychological wounds of war getting all the care they need?

Not according to the Department of Defense. Not even close.

According to a disturbing new report1, troops are still reluctant to seek counseling because of the stigma of mental health care, and the military’s mental health professionals are often inaccessible to service members and their families. That means the troops who need help most aren’t asking for it, and the military isn’t reaching out to make sure they get treated.

There is no excuse for failing to provide soldiers suffering from PTSD and other mental issues with all the care they need. This month, IAVA has been focusing on Mental Health issues in Washington and in the media. And with your support, we’ll continue the fight. But in order for real change to happen, people need to understand the problems.

This is where you can help, by spreading awareness of these crucial issues. Check out “Without a Scratch” - a two-part series published in the Washington Post this week, authored by the same reporters who wrote the watershed articles on Walter Reed. The series gives detailed and deeply personal accounts of soldiers trying to seek out mental health care, and shows how the DoD and VA failed to account for this long-term cost of the war.

Then take a minute to tell three of your friends about these articles. You can forward this message or use our Tell-A-Friend tool.

Thank you for your continued support.
Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq Veteran, Executive Director; Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
1. You can get the full report here:

Diversity Work Needs Elaboration

Shahanna McKinney-Baldon, a new contributor to the Milwaukee Renaissance, hopes to expand diversity work in our schools, communities, and workplaces, to include attention to(these are my summary terms):

  • the rainbow backgrounds of people of color
  • “cross-over whites”

Please send an e-mail to [email protected] if you would like to join this discussion.

A new study finds that “Americans’ definition of diversity places white people at the neutral center and all other groups of people as outside contributors.” (see http://www.huliq.com/25081/americans-couch-feelings-about-race-in-happy-talk-of-diversity-speak )

  • You know, I have good training in social justice issues and in infusing the social justice paradigm into education across the curriculum for all age levels; however, I came to realize a while back that the traditional perspective of “diversity work”white people trying to make sense of oppression and learning to treat people of color a little betterdoes not meet my needs as a teacher in the hood in Milwaukeeor as a Black person, for that matter.
  • I am trying to think through what it would look like if Black people created our own social justice paradigm and our own materials for doing diversity, social justice, multiculturalism education. Is this a way to push the envelope in Black liberation work? To reframe diversity work so that it isn’t so white-centered? To redirect the social justice paradigm so that it is from all of our points of view?
  • I have two thoughts: the first is that I have seen the power of claiming our many ethnic, cultural, racial, etc. heritages as Black people. There is a way that expanding the definition of Blackness by recognizing our diverse heritages clears the way for claiming my Black identity in a more empowering waya way that falls outside of putting ourselves into that box and agreeing that we are all the same, which has never, ever, ever been the case!
  • The second thought is that I have run into roadblocks when doing the traditional diversity lesson plans (crossing the line, the level playing field, black/white caucus work, etc. etc.) in groups that are mostly Black, with only a few white people or others. Overlaying the traditional diversity work paradigm onto their experience makes only the tiniest bit of sense. There ARE white people who aren’t of African descent who live, work, love, and play primarily among African Americans. Yes, if they are white they have more access and white privilege in the societybut their experience is NOT the same as living in a white world and trying to include a few people of color, which is where this “diversity work” comes from. How do we create a new paradigm to include their experience when we use diversity work / multicultural education / the social justice paradigm in the fight for equity?
  • More later. Thanks for reading. Is anyone reading? email me at shahanna[at]mckinneybaldon dot com

Sustainable SE Wisconsin: Paths Discussion: Renewable Energy, 6/26/2007, 6:30 pm

Title: **Paths Discussion: Renewable Energy

Date: Tuesday June 26, 2007
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Urban Ecology Center
Street: 1500 E. Park Place
City State Zip: Milwaukee, WI
Phone: 964–8505
Notes: Members who attended the Midwest Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair will share what they learned about new developments in renewable energy.

Free, donations to UEC appreciated. Child care is also available for a fee; please register.

Just Who is Sustainable SE Wisconsin??

Creating Sustainable Pathways to the Future

Recognizing that both local and global communities will face tremendous challenges in transitioning from an era of abundant, cheap energy to a post-hydrocarbon era, sustainability will no longer be an option, rather it will be an absolute necessity.

We plan to encourage the development of community-based sustainable pathways through education, community outreach and cooperative endeavors.

Meetings are held twice Monthly at the Urban Ecology Center of Milwaukee. Persons wishing to join are welcome to reqest admittance. Enjoy, network, learn and grow. Together we can!

For more, visit their Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sustainable_se_wisconsin/

Sustainable SE Wisconsin: free films online

Below is a list of FREE (for now!) documentary films and programs available on the internet…

Crude Impact
Crude Impact is an award-winning documentary film which Chris Vernon of TheOilDrum.com called “ a terrific film… the best documentary I have seen on the subject.” This feature film explores the interconnection between human domination of the planet, and the discovery and use of oil.

(The film is divided into 10-minute segments. You can find all the segments by searching for “Crude impact.”)

Climate Chaos
David Attenborough draws on his life-long insights into our planet and presents his personal take on climate change.

Part 1: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/640x480/xmq0n
Part 2: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/640x480/xmy11

Strange Days on Planet Earth (with Ed Norton)
Trailer: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/640x480/xmj1j
Part 1: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/640x480/xmje7
(Invaders)Part 2: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/640x480/xmkei
(The One Degree Factor)Part 3: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/640x480/xmmvv
(Predators)Part 4: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/640x480/xmolm (Troubled Waters)

The Denial Machine
The documentary shows how fossil fuel corporations have kept the global warming debate alive long after most scientists believed that global warming was real and had potentially catastrophic consequences. The Denial Machine also explores how the arguments supported by oil companies were adopted by policy makers in both Canada and the U.S. and helped form government policy.


FYI, Many other shorter videos can be found by searching for terms like “peak oil” on YouTube or Daily Motion.

Thanks Nicole!

Testimony to Value of Bay_View_Matters Yahoo Group: Should All Neighborhoods Be Encouraged to Yahoo?

In reading the posts from the past few days I am reminded of my image of Bay View….why I chose (and choose) to live here. Images are just that: some reality, some fantasy, and some wishful thinking. I grew up in a small town in central Wisconsin and my father was a small business owner; he worked long hours, was a good citizen and neighbor and taught me to buy local rather than driving to Madison for a deal. Sometimes it cost more: a tie for Father’s Day at Lee’s Toggery was pricey compared to what I would spend in Madison. But I rode my bike there and stopped at the corner store for milk on the way home.

So here I am in Bay View. I will go to Groppi’s to buy anchovies in a tin, tilapia on sale, bulk sausage and a bottle of wine for under 10 bucks. I will also take my bike to Value Village on half price clothing day and buy several pieces of clothing also for under 10 bucks. I will buy my book club book at Schwartz’s but will also stop at the BayView Library to pick up other reads and a movie for the night. I am thankful for the development of the past few years and also appreciate people on this list who are working to be stewards of our community. I may disagree with some of the opinions and thoughts but I sure do admire the personal investment in our ‘town’.


Last edited by tyler schuster.   Page last modified on August 03, 2008

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