Archive For 09–23–2008 and earlier

On this page…

  1. Artists, gardeners, homeowners, and lovers of beauty needed for Art in the Alleys
  2. “The Mounting Food Crisis: Global and Local Perspectives”
  3. More People seeking foods grown localy
  4. Paul Cebar rides, sings with commuters
  5. Conversations Toward an International Urban Agriculture Charter
  6. Bay View Neighborhood Association takes us for a ride
  7. County Executive Walker Seeking Funds for Rapid Bus Lines
  8. Bay View Neighborhood Association Loves Our Bus
  9. The Spirit of the Earth? Dancing!
  10. No You Can’t
  11. Peace Action/Schwartz Reading by Mark Engler Highlights Rise of Democratic Globalzation
    1. 11.1  Has High Praise for Milwaukee’s Democratic Globalization Movements & Projects
  12. Bike Ride with County Supervisor Pat Jursik
  13. Watch Your Language
  14. The Coming New Orleans Permaculture Transformation: Evolution Beyond Survival!
  16. Womens Voices Bring Iraq War Home in “Small Pieces Fly to Heaven”
  17. Community Growers Arrive in Milwaukee to Provide Food Garden Coaches, Food Garden Art, and Garage/Home/Building Rooftop Gardens for Healthy Food
  18. Worthy Citizens’ Act of the Day
  19. The KK River Bank. What we defended and why - in photos.
  20. Open letter to Milwaukee Alderpersons, members of the Zoning Neighborhood and Development Committee of the Common Council
  21. Audacious Vision of the Day: OK Players Wins Nobel Prize 2010
  22. Introducing Urban Anthropology’s Old South Side Farmers Market
  23. Milwaukee Public Allies Class of 2008 Challenged to Win McArthur Genius Awards by 2045
  24. One Public Allies Vision: Inspire Bill Moyers to Interview Will Allen With Grace Lee Boggs For “Victory Gardens—Now

Artists, gardeners, homeowners, and lovers of beauty needed for Art in the Alleys

One might expect to find parks, sweeping vistas, interesting or historic architecture, and bodies of water on a list of aesthetically pleasing locations in a city. Generally, alleys do not make such a list, but a project in Riverwest this month seeks to change that.

Work by Milwaukee artists and gardeners will soon bring color, life and visual appeal to areas generally known for storing cars and trash receptacles as part of the Art in the Alleys project.

The 3D Vision group, which is facilitating Art in the Alleys, is looking for additional artists to use their skills to beautify garage doors, walls and fences in three alleys in Riverwest. The art will be created on the weekends of Sept. 20–21 and Sept. 27–28 and showcased during the annual ArtWalk on Oct. 5–6.

For more information and to find out how you can get involved see: Art in the Alleys.
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”The Mounting Food Crisis: Global and Local Perspectives”

A Program of the United Nations Association-USA of Greater Milwaukee,
Millennium Campaign Committee *

Saturday, September 13, 2008
10:00 a.m.−12:00 p.m.


Perspectives on Global Hunger: Tom Brodd, Catholic Relief Services

Mr. Brodd has worked with Catholic Relief Services in Gambia and with the Peace Corp in Ghana.

Perspectives on the Local Food Crisis: John Janowski, Director of Advocacy for Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force

Rising food costs and inadequate food supplies have caused a worldwide
crisis. In the US food prices are rising 5 percent a year and donations to food banks are down by 9 percent.

The program is free and will be held in the downstairs Community Room of Redeemer Lutheran Church, 631 N. 19th on the corner of W. Wisconsin and N. 19th Street.

Please enter at the back of the church from the 19th Street parking lot.

Contact: Susan McGovern, Tel 414–963–9924.

  • Sponsored by the Chapter’s Millennium Campaign Committee to advance the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, Chair, Jack Murtaugh; Members: Mel Bromberg, Jim Carpenter, Ken Greening, Larry Kress, Susan McGovern, Debbie Metke, Nancy Theoharis, Anita Zeidler

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More People seeking foods grown localy

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Paul Cebar rides, sings with commuters

Milwaukee, August 25, 2008. Bay View neighbors ride the bus with Milwaukee’s (probably) most famous musician.

Paul Cebar tunes up at Svens before the bus arrives

Happy passengers

The Musician in his groove

The Bay View Neighborhood Association sponsored three community bus rides during the Monday morning commutes of August. On August 11, we had the company of representatives from County Transit, dedicated to making the buses work for Milwaukee (in spite of the foolish management handed down by County government). August 4, David Drake led a sing-along on the bus with a concertina (photos below).

Paul’s music today was charmed and fit the Monday morning bus mood. Only a great musician would take this challenge.

Buses, parks and emergency services are still on the property tax, and the burden falls unfairly on the homeowner. Businesses and visitor enjoy these benefits without paying. The referendum on November 4th will take these services off the property tax, put them on the sales tax, and give the homeowner significant relief of their tax burden.

Vote Yes.
Ride the Bus.
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Conversations Toward an International Urban Agriculture Charter

This past few months finds people all over the world sharing ideas about an Urban Agriculture Charter to advance the good food movement in every city on the planet.

Ben Reynolds of London’s Sustain, Marielle Dubbeling of RUAF, and Jerry Kaufman of the American Planning Association are this writer’s contact persons for three documents that provide worthy starting points: the American Planner’s Guidelines; the London Draft; and the RUAF paper, which I think deserves the title “Urban Agriculture Charter” Working Draft.

Click “edit” to join in this conversation, to speed the day we have a document in hand the world helped craft, toward’s this resounding “oi!”

With the increased interest in urban agriculture on both sides of the Atlantic(and many other oceans come to that), there was a feeling that an international manifesto/charter could be a useful way of bringing this interest together i.e. something that any champions of this can slap on the desk of their local Governor/Council and say oi! you need to do something about this—Ben Reynolds.
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Bay View Neighborhood Association takes us for a ride

This morning (August 4) the BVNA hosted a bus ride to call attention to the crisis that our bus service is facing. The ride was full of music, laughs, and the happiest bus driver in the system (John).

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County Executive Walker Seeking Funds for Rapid Bus Lines This STORY is a major victory for transit in Milwaukee County.

‘Green light on transit? Walker to seek funds for rapid bus lines

The Business Journal of Milwaukee - by David Doege

“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker plans to seek $50 million in federal funds for two bus rapid transit lines that could help break the long-running stalemate over upgrades to the Milwaukee area’s transit system.

“The funds would be in addition to the $91.5 million in federal funds allocated to the Milwaukee area in the early 1990s that has gone unspent….

“A bus rapid transit line would use new buses that would operate in a dedicated lane at higher speeds with fewer stops than traditional urban bus systems….”

Walker is now at the table asking for Transit improvements.

The mighty veto pen will be useless. There is only so much you can do by saying NO. He must bargain.

Which puts me in support of his effort, even though I have the following reservations:

  • It is more of the same political backsliding: Someone else will pay the taxes for Your services. We do need a courageous leader to explain that the bus serves everyone, including drivers.

  • He will fail if he cannot accept how light rail will help him run for Governor. After all, the Governor Doyle is tone deaf to mass transit.

  • Walker will still have to find operating funds for the new buses - without (he claims) raising taxes.

Raising taxes (or rather not raising taxes) was the excuse he gave for the modest improvements riders made to the County last year. Improvements that would increase rider counts for small or no cost.

“We would have time to work with the County Board to set this up,” Walker said. “There would have to be an appropriation in the budget, but it would not involve a tax increase.”

We’ll see. But Hooray!

I gotta catch a Scott Walker bus.

A statement of opinion by Bill Sell
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Bay View Neighborhood Association Loves Our Bus

Four Mondays in August Bay View neighbors will do the unthinkable. They will gather for coffee and caffeinate their minds with the intention of riding the bus downtown. Surely there are rules against this: Car owners boarding buses? Leaving the car at home? “Un-American” is what jock radio will say about Bay View.

Last August when Bay View riders rode - four Mondays at 7 a.m. - it stirred the County Board into an hour of consternation.

Now, the County Sheriff has been alerted for rowdy commuters; Milwaukee police squads will cruise bus stops for signs of unruly passengers, wearing - you know - that gangland side-ways cap.

Bay View nervously awaits these Mondays mornings and the rowdy street parties. Revelers are said to be ready to welcome the coming of Route 15 from the Deep South Suburbs.

Talk of music on the bus is unfounded, but spreading like wild-fire are rumors through the neighborhood. Will the Cactus Club open a tent kitty korner from Svens at 7 in the morning and stage The Identity Theft or The Vanishing Art.

Please, I say. Pity on the drivers. It’s Monday morning for heaven’s sake.

Have they no shame? - these well meaning people who don’t understand that the bus days of the 20th century are over.



Get a car! Get a clue.

This year the Supers have taken a pre-emptive action, calling on citizens to vote for the bus.

I’ve asked them about their referendum thing. More reports on their thinking in another blog - if supervisors answer. Or don’t answer.

Meantime, don’t miss the fun.

Join the BVNA and neighbors on the bus and help your Supervisor focus on the job of saving their - you know - Bus.

Love my bus? Do your job.

Sven’s Coffee donated by the Bay View Neighborhood Association (Yay!!) at 6:45 a.m. Bus leaves 7:03 a.m. Mondays, Russell and Kinnickinnic.

I gotta go. If I miss this bus, there might not be no more.

An invitation to ride the bus by Bill Sell.
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The Spirit of the Earth? Dancing.
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No You Can’t

As promised, Scott Walker has vetoed a Milwaukee County Board referendum. The referendum’s goal is worthy: property tax relief from parks and transit expenses. Visitors share the costs with a modest sales tax increase. The natives pocket the difference.

To explain why citizens are forbidden a vote in Milwaukee County on their property taxes — one of the most annoying and unfair taxes ever invented to siphon our wallets — he ought to step to a microphone and address the citizens with three simple honest words:

“No You Can’t.”

Laughter would be healthy. History — which is now moving in the Yes direction - makes this man funny.

There is a way to make a city work for everyone. Walker’s politics of “no” are moving against history. Look at him.

Proof of his History Deprived Mind? Well, his veto claim that “There already was a referendum on this issue….” Lena Taylor actually refused to support a new sales tax.

Nor would Scott Walker be interested in a long-term history lesson about Milwaukee leaders who challenged Milwaukee citizens. Once upon a time there were the Sewer Socialists when practical civic improvements were popular.

Involving actual people is a foreign idea to a government centralist like Walker. Totalitarian, however, is not foreign to America. We happen to worship the strong leaders we disagree with. Lena’s promise to work with the County Board may have been fatal.

Walker has, indeed, this totalitarian streak in his governance — if you can’t get your own way, stand in the way of others.

Standing in the Way? Why not Hop on Board?

The totalitarian must prevail; compromise is for losers. If he loses to the County Board he gets to blame results on the Board, and keep the sympathy of the one-issue (no new taxes) voter.

Which brings us to the other totalitarian issue - money.

Only money spent to maintain central control is money well spent. (Hence his veto of bike racks that will be paid for without County money.)

Spending on others gives power away to others. Preventing the spending of $91 million of federal transportation money is pure totalitarian politics. If the County loses the money he can blame rail advocates like Mayor Barrett (and the misguided great cities of America) for clinging to rail.

Of course that the bus system fails on his watch is irrelevant; it was the Pension debt not Scott Walker who ate the buses.

Which makes debt the perfect horse for a tyrant. Debt explains why we are not helping ordinary people. Debt gets the well-off off the hook; they become sudden fans of strong, central, burdensome and negative government. Debt re-elects anyone who “hates” debt, but defeats candidates who promise to pay off debt. Americans trust debt; nothing changes; no one challenges.

The Pension Debt was a gift to the career of Scott Walker. He loves to say No, because “No” is his the fastest horse to becoming governor.

If he ever tried to help Milwaukee fix its many woes, he would lose the vote of people who do not trust cities. Make no mistake; the city as enemy is a trusty strategy. It worked for Tommy Thompson.

But only someone ignorant of history would live in the past.

—A statement of opinion by Bill Sell
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Peace Action/Schwartz Reading by Mark Engler Highlights Rise of Democratic Globalzation

Has High Praise for Milwaukee’s Democratic Globalization Movements & Projects

Mark Engler after a Bodhisattva Pancake at the Riverwest Co-op Cafe, With Sky Schultz and Robert Murphy

Last night Milwaukee’s global citizen activists were treated to a superb reading by Iowa reared, Harvard educated, international writer policy analyst activist Mark Engler on the rise of the Democratic Globalization movements.

Mark is on a national tour introducing his excellent work “How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy.”

“Today, strains on the U.S. empire and the discrediting of neoliberal ideology create exciting spaces for new ideas to emerge.” Imperial globalists and corporate globalists and the ideology/power centers they advance are increasingly challenged by a globalization from below, offering a “guerrilla assault” on the Washington Consensus, including “boistrous national uprisings” or, increasingly important, “persistent community efforts to fuel a democratic globalization.” Grassroots networks are accelerating and granulating a “debate about the proper balance of vision, program, political strategy, and tactics needed to move forward.”

More at Mark Engler
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Bike Ride with County Supervisor Pat Jursik

Bike Ride with County Supervisor Pat Jursik

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Watch Your Language

The good news is that the Milwaukee County Board might be able to override Scott Walker’s veto. At stake is a referendum to take parks, emergency services and transit off of the property tax. The bad news is that we may be talking ourselves into a defeat at the polls.

I plead with all bus and park loving citizens: Stop and think what you are saying. Watch your language.

  • We know that reducing Property Tax is a winner.
  • We know that talking Sales Tax is unpopular.
  • So, why don’t we talk about Property Tax Relief?
  • Talk about how this referendum will deliver Relief.
  • That visitors to Milwaukee County will now help us fund our buses and parks.
  • That the County will reduce your property tax while funding parks, emergency services and transit.
  • That our bus system will have a chance to pull out of its death spiral.

This referendum will inspire oceans of vigorous conversation throughout the County. It is not merely a sales tax hike; it is more. It is a chance for County residents to grab a some relief in one smart vote.

The County Board’s press release stated the case accurately:

“The Milwaukee County Board voted 12–6 to approve a resolution calling for an advisory referendum on whether to provide property tax relief by shifting funding for mass transit, parks, recreation, culture and paramedics from the property tax levy to a small increase in the sales tax.” [emphasis added]

Notice: “sales tax” is the tail end of this smartly written press release. Sales tax is the tail, not the pony. County residents are the winners, not the losers. Language matters.

Let us phrase the discussion accurately, and win.

A statement of opinion by Bill Sell.
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The Coming New Orleans Permaculture Transformation: Evolution Beyond Survival.

It’s bound to happen.
The brothers and the sisters
Of New Orleans are calling…

“Let’s move it on!”

Viva, the embryonic New Orleans Renaissance!

Possibly featuring, God willing…

…a permaculture transformation urban farming center inspired by Will Allen and the Growng Power Movement

…a new American revolution/beloved community outlined in the essays and projects of Grace Lee Boggs and the Beloved Community Movement

…as our Detroit brothers and sisters said…Evolution Beyond Survival!

The New Orleans Renaissance to many
Across the land will become kin to

  • the Milwaukee Renaissance
  • the Detroit Renaissance
  • the Chicago Renaissance
  • the St. Louis Renaissance

For staters, not to mention…

  • the Portland and Seattle, Frisco and L.A. Renaissance

  • the New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania renaissance movements

  • and the renaissance underway in every single American city, town, and rural area

…bound to converge over the next 37 years in New Orleans, on January 20th, inauguration day… to begin work on

  • city fish farming co-ops

  • community, family, and roof-top food gardens and mini-farms

  • old building green habitat restoration/transformation

Some of the Milwaukee green transformation story can be found in the images and information at…

Some of the story of the Milwaukee contribution to the New Orleans renaissance will become available as the years go by at…

New Orleans City Fish Farms!

New Orleans City Farms, Edible Playgrounds, and Family Farms!

New Orleans Urban Agriculture University!

New Orleans Permaculture Celebrations!

These collaborative visions were expressed at…

Alice’s Garden
20th and Garfield Streets in Miwaukee
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
6pm to 8pm

Where we were invited to

to share with our partners from New Orleans

what you do related to urban agriculture and/or

to hear about what is going on in New Orleans.

Future site of rooftop garden overlooking St. Claude Ave.

To become a rooftop garden?

Time will be spent sharing information related to the ReGrowing Communities Work Event that will be held in New Orleans, October 912, 2008.


ASI building (left) pre-renovation. Next door is a cardiologist's office and two doors down is St. Margaret's nursing home.

…transorming worker homes into
permaculture inspirations

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
6pm to 8pm

Alice’s Garden
‘20th and Garfield Streets in Miwaukee

A New City of New Orleans

Good morning, America, how are you?
Don’t you know me I’m your favorite child.
I’m the people of the city of New Orleans,
I was down but now I’m back
Let’s move it on.

I was down but now I’m back
Let’s move it on.

There’s a train they call
The City of New Orleans
Stops at cities great along the way…

Detroit, Old Milwaukee, and Chicago,
St. Louie is the last stop of the day.

And on that train a rainbow throng is gathering,
With eyes fixed on the prize of freedom,
And on that train a global village’s bloooming,
Visions of the new dawn that we’re growing,
Knowing, the human race is one.

Good morning, America, how are you?
Don’t you know me I’m your favorite child.
I’m the people of the city of New Orleans,
I was down but now I’m back
Let’s move it on.

I was down but now I’m back
Let’s move it on.
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ASI building (left) pre-renovation. Next door is a cardiologist's office and two doors down is St. Margaret's nursing home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
6pm to 8pm

Alice’s Garden
20th and Garfield Streets in Miwaukee

(rain location, Cross Lutheran Church 1821 N. 16th Street)

You are invited to Alice’s Garden to share with our partners from New Orleans what you do related to urban agriculture and/or to hear about what is going on in New Orleans.

Future site of rooftop garden overlooking St. Claude Ave.

Time will be spent sharing information related to the ReGrowing Communities Work Event that will be held in New Orleans, October 9–12, 2008.

Please bring a chair, something to put on the grill (vegetarian and meat grills will be available), or a dessert or side dish to share. Beverages will be provided!

If you plan to attend, rsvp to [email protected] or 414.687.0122.

Venice R. Williams, Executive Director

Lanette Williams, garden coordinator

phone: (414)444–5950
fax: (414)444–5960
cell: (414) 687–0122
SeedFolks Youth Ministry
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church location
3617 N. 48th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53216

Kujichagulia Spirituality House
5961 N. 40th Street

A cute little corner garden in the historic Holy Cross neighborhood

Milwaukee, WI 53209
Kujichagulia Lutheran Center
3908 W. Capitol Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53216

Norma Hedrick with Willie, longtime resident and resident gardener Ed Buckner greets his peas Mural on the neighboring Ashe Cultural Center

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Womens Voices Bring Iraq War Home in “Small Pieces Fly to Heaven”

In Small Pieces Fly to Heaven, running June 58 at Off-Broadway Theatre, 342 N. Water Street, an ensemble led by Peggy Hong and Deborah Clifton shares the anguish, beauty, humor, and common ground of women in the face of the current Iraq war.

Based on Iraqi womens blogs, memoirs by US military women, and interviews with American civilian women, Small Pieces Fly to Heaven uses poetry, movement, and performance to explore the Iraq war from the back lines, where women keep life going. What is the effect of war, on the ground, for ordinary citizens, whether Iraqi or American? How are women in America impacted, far from the battlegrounds of Iraq? Do Americans even remember that we are at war? In a drawn-out war with no end in sight, how do Americans and Iraqis move forward? Small Pieces Fly to Heaven makes a distant war personal and immediate.

Small Pieces Fly to Heaven is an ensemble project led by Deborah Clifton, formerly of Theatre X, and Peggy Hong, Milwaukee Poet Laureate 20062007. The ensemble developed material through an ongoing salon of local women artists meeting for over a year. Contributors and performers include Alexa Bradley, Grace DeWolff, Erin DeYoung, Libby Amato, Maggie Arndt, Megan Kaminsky, Yvette Mitchell, Mary Lou Lamonda, and Dena Aronson. Sets by visual artist by Fahimeh Vahdat draw attention to social and spiritual issues and draw on her personal experience as an Iranian American exile. Rachel Raven Lily Sophia provides original music. Clifton directs the production.

War dehumanizes us, but this play brings us into intimate contact with full human beings: women living through the war, both civilian and military, says Hong. Through their stories, we find beauty, humor, anguish and common ground. As we realize our interconnection, we can hopefully move forward.

Small Pieces Fly to Heaven plays June 58, Thursday and Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm, at Off-Broadway Theatre, 342 N. Water St. Tickets are $20 or $16 for students and groups of 10 or more. To purchase, call 414–278–0765. Previews are open to the public and run June 2–4 at 7:30pm.
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Community Growers Arrive in Milwaukee to Provide Food Garden Coaches, Food Garden Art, and Garage/Home/Building Rooftop Gardens for Healthy Food

Urban Artisans Discover Urban Agriculture

Community Growers will help Milwaukee grow food in the backyards, lots, and rooftops of old Milwaukee and our historic suburban community partners. Send an e-mail to [email protected] if you would like a quote for roof top garden installations, garden art and structures.

Community Growers will also “grow community,” aiming to combine the best theory with the best practice, eye on the prize of city habitats and neighborhoods that nourish body and soul.

Community Growers hopes to connect “food garden coaches” with people ready to experiment with growing increasing proportions of their own food, and, for some, food for local farmers markets and grocery stores.

If you wish to be considered as a Community Grower garden coach, or if you would like to meet Stephanie Philipps and Dr. Dave, two food garden coaches ready to help out now, send an e-mail to [email protected]

Two founding members of Community Growers are Erik Lindberg and Josh Fraundorf, who will be sharing the story of this new network of artists, artisans, urban farmers, and sustainable development theorists and practitioners. Here is the start of what will be a sustained interview with Erik and Josh, starting with Erik Lindberg, co-founder of Community Growers.

Interview with Erik Lindberg, co-founder Community Growers

Milwaukee Renaissance. You recently won a couple of awards for excellence in historic restoration artisanship. And now the word is out that you have invested considerable time, money, and energy on a family farm on top of a commercial building. Why are you doing this?
What is it you hope to accomplish?

Lindberg. You flatter me by mentioning the awards. They are the city of Milwaukees Cream of the Cream City awards for historic preservation. The awards actually go to the homeowners, as they are considered the stewards of their property, which (because they are, in the end, just passing through) ultimately belong to us all. The difficult part is getting homeowners to invest the time and money to restore their homes properly. After that, my part is fairly easy.

The idea for the family farm, which I also like to call my Victory Garden has all sorts of sources, the two primary ones being Barbara Kingsolvers Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which I read about a year ago, and the work Will Allen has done at Growing Power. Kingsolvers book is a gripping combination of grave warnings about the impact of our current eating and growing habits, and of joyous inspiration about what we can individually do as an alternative. Of particular impact on me was her discussion of the great amounts of fossil fuels imbedded in our food, largely from its shipping, but also from its means of production. I read Kingsolver against the background of what Will has shown possible in both an urban setting and in limited space. When I acquired the building that houses my company, the idea of putting the roof to good use had already had a full term gestation from these sources. I also have a very good friend (wink-wink) who has been a constant source of enthusiasm, inspiration, as well as countless connections with other like-minded people.

This sort of environmentalism is certainly in the air. The victory garden is one of countless reactions to what is becoming the obviously perilous state of our planet. We have to change how we do just about everything, and were collectively finally realizing this and trying to do something about it. The sad thing, though, is that both the warnings and the technologies have been available to us for at least 30 years, but only recently has the movement gained (or begun to gain) necessary momentum. We shouldnt spend too much time bemoaning the trendy nature of this sort of thing, but it should curtail most of our self-congratulatory impulses. Although this is a time, for me, of great excitement, I really need to just put my head down and do the work. My wife, Liana, who is also my partner in this project, helps me do this, as she has a great appreciation of the particular beauty and wonder of a plant, when gazed at from a few inches away. This alone can be sufficient motivation.

Im not sure what I can accomplish through this project, as I dont know how well my process and procedures will fare. At the very least, we should be able to grow enough vegetables to supply us throughout the summer, and hopefully into the autumn and the winter. If we can achieve really good production, sharing and even selling our produce could be a possibility. But it is too experimental at this point to make any plans like that.

More generally, though, when you stand on the roof of my building, there are within view about 30 flat roofs, all of which are just sitting there, collecting heat and allowing a highly concentrated run-off after rain and snow. My larger goal is to see more business owners or their employees throughout the city install and nurture their own roof-top victory gardens. In the history of our species, many cultures (maybe most) have made use of nearly every resource at their disposal, including all available space. The idea of massive amounts of waste is relatively new and unsustainable. By necessity, I think our culture may have to rediscover this mindset, and Id like to show how easy it is to use a roof for more than one purpose.

Interview with Josh Fraundorf, Co-Founder Community Growers in next installment on Community Growers

Josh Fraundorf is the hands-on leader of Community Roofing and Restoration, which is probably by now Milwaukee’s leading roof system and exterior restoration company for our historic housing stock. Like Erik Lindberg, Josh believes growing food in the city is to become a leading green and growth industry in Milwaukee and beyond. Josh was key to his friend and associate Steve Lindner’s gift of several thousand dollars worth of excellent top soil to Riverwest and Harambee.

Here are some photos of that project.

Here is Josh Fraundorf in front of the Pabst Theatre the day Nik Kovac was sworn in. Josh had too many Community clients needing his attention to make it for the entire event. He showed up to shake Nik’s hand and let him know one increasingly important small local business appreciated Nik’s commitment to the greening of Milwaukee.

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Worthy Citizens’ Act of the Day

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

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

“Bill Moyers” <[email protected]>

and cc [email protected], por favor
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The KK River Bank. What we defended and why - in photos.
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Open letter to Milwaukee Alderpersons, members of the Zoning Neighborhood and Development Committee of the Common Council

Ald. James N. Witkowiak, Chair
Ald. Willie C. Wade, Vice Chair
Ald. Michael J. Murphy
Ald. Robert J. Bauman
Ald. Tony Zielinski

Relative to your meeting of May 13, 9 a.m, Room 301B, City Hall

May 11, 2008

Zoning Neighborhood and Development Committee
Milwaukee Common Council
City of Milwaukee
200 E. Wells St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Dear Alderperson:

I object to the Empowerment Village proposal. Without taking green space, there is a way to resolve the Empowerment Village need for housing.

Both the saving of the green space as well as a suggestion to the City how to bring these residents into our neighborhoods.

I have been part of the South East District Planning process sponsored by the Department of City Development. I write you from this position and what I have learned through the process.

I have also met with the Empowerment principals (at their invitation). Together we have searched for a resolution of the needs of their constituents. I have presented at the City Plan Commission on both February 11 and March 3. The developers have asked for compromise and I put forward at the March hearing my own opinion of a compromise (that I will repeat below).

I have not heard from the developers that they are interested in writing these gestures of compromise into their proposal which apparently they will present to you on May 13. I have received countless of personal assurances, but once the permits are pulled, construction will proceed regardless of assurances. Perhaps the Common Council could make some demands on the proposed construction.

The seriousness of selling green space is underscored in the daily press.

  • The nation is talking Green like it has never done so before. Since December when this proposal was first put forward the discussion has changed, probably because of the price of gasoline and questions about ethanol and the rise in food costs. We must act in every little way, for the sake of people much more needy than anyone in this room. Food riots in the third world are an alarm we cannot ignore.

  • The County Government has been prevented by the sheer will of our citizens from privatizing our Park assets. Recent elections have tightened that pressure. However, City government seems to be going in the opposite direction with several instances in recent years of selling green space for development.

The state of the world being what it is, if our City government plunges ahead with its old policies I would ask if you are tone deaf to what is going on in the world. It is becoming clear we must protect Green space; we must stop paving our soil with asphalt. And look to grow food locally as much as we possibly can.

Yes, there is a need for housing our less fortunate citizens. That, too, must be resolved. But it cannot be resolved in a meaningful way by pitting good citizens against one another as if we are in a zero sum game. I have three points to make.

First, the residents and their needs.

Second, my suggestions about any building on that river bank.

Third, about the failure of the City planning process the failure which brings us together today.


I grew up in a household where I’m proud to say my father was the only citizen of Hales Corners to welcome next door a group home for citizens struggling with the problems of mental health. I am proud to continue that tradition in my family by making the same offer.

Cardinal Developers is national and perhaps they did not understand that Milwaukee is full of citizens of good will who are not interested in the old fears of mental illness. Most of us have seen mental illness up close; it is not something that we need to pretend does not exist. To get appropriate housing for these residents, you need to do what every community group does. Go first to the community; to the City as a LAST resort. Find in each community a core group of neighbors that understands the need of this population and make a plan with those citizens. Then take the plan to the churches, schools, associations of the neighborhood.

If you want something from a community, just ask us, not the alderman, not the city. Touch the people who can bring their neighbors to the table. First.

I also wish to mention the comments at the Dec. 11 hearing on this matter from a MPD lieutenant who spoke eloquently of the needs of these potential residents. She said that these folks are more likely to be victims of crime than its perpetrators; so, then, why are we setting them up for victim-hood in a building nearly a half mile from its nearest neighbors? Victims of a crime - more likely even in a isolated industrial backwater far from neighbors of any kind.


Secondly, about that building on a river bank. If you feel you must do that, the building itself should answer This Question.

The same question I, as a kid, raised when I first understood that Jones Island development was a crass lurch toward the almighty buck. This question will be asked by a child who visits this site long after you and I are gone.

The question is Why? Why did you let them do that? There? Or they might not ask IF they see the building as a gift to the environment.

At bare minimum the Empowerment Village building itself should answer this question.

Require the developers to retain architects worthy of an environmental sacred place. I attach an article from the current issue of the Milwaukee Business Journal, business writers praising the work of an architect who has beautified our City and State with sustainable, working buildings, who has garnered an award or two for a zero carbon emissions building, and designed the incredibly beautiful and functional Urban Ecology Center.

Wisconsin landscape inspires architect of Legacy CenterThe Business Journal, May 9, 2008.

That same firm laid the ground work for sustainable development on the County Grounds.

The City needs to do more here than change a zoning code; it must make requirements of the building that are worthy of the CMAQ money that purchased that land. And, I say this as a bicyclist, CMAQ was not funded to increase bicycling; it was funded to keep our air clean, to discourage private gasoline-driven automobiles. 24 asphalted parking places is not an appropriate CMAQ expense. Nor is a bike path a sufficient reason to spend Air Quality funds while undercutting the very spirit of CMAQ.


About City Development’s gross failure here.

I call to mind a statement made to the Bay View Community on January 26, 2006. In front of us citizens, a 100 or so, Rocky Marcoux and Robert Greenstreet emphasized more than once to a skeptical audience, that the SE District Plan would be the work of the citizens; that the City had no hidden agenda and that our needs will be given the highest priority. The Planning process was to run 18 months, concluding the summer of 2007. In fact, the citizens took a serious interest in these meetings and became avid supporters of the process.

The plan should already have been completed on November 15, 2007, when I was sitting at a table with a Department of City Development map, magic markers, and neighbors, while consultants and city planners encouraged us to make notes on the map what we thought was appropriate development in Our Community. Specifically I recall marking places for alternative housing; we understood the need to house people of all incomes in a city. We were not trying to make the world into Bay View, but to welcome the world into our neighborhood.

One such place we marked was an undeveloped piece of land near the Target shopping center on Chase, not far from this proposed site on Rosedale, near a bus route, but not on the river. The consensus among us was then that the river is ideally left green for walking and bicycling; while we worked this map we were familiar with the river charette that was conducted about one year previously, with wide citizen participation, offering simple green spaces that support bicycling and walking, and a green space that will encourage enlightened development nearby the revitalized river, but not on the river.

This river’s reputation today is one of the nation’s ten worst. It has been sorely depleted of its beauty by the crass decisions of our great grand parents who allowed factories, dumps and parking lots to ring this stream and pollute its waters. The SE District citizen planners understand the river as an asset. Listen to them. Nudge Cardinal Developers to retain an architect with the sensitivity of the SE District planners.

Less than a month after marking the map, on Dec. 11, I learned that the same DCD that handed me magic markers had been offering that same KK River bank for sale to Cardinal Developers. I hope you can imagine my chagrin at delays in the planning process that might have been concocted to give Cardinal an opening (we are a suspicious lot, we citizens), and my astonishment that DCD which could say one thing to us and while it was making an offer to a developer the very thing that citizens originally suspected would happen when Mr. Marcoux cajoled us to believe it would not happen.

I hope that the Zoning Committee rejects this proposal as unsuitable to the long term interests of our city, and invites Cardinal to sit down with neighborhood groups. They will be meeting with friends of their constituents. We will find them a place in a neighborhood, preferably near my own home. They Are Welcome.

Bill Sell
Co-Founder Bay View Neighborhood Association
Member SE District Planning

William Butler Yeats described our rush to destruction as our passion for death:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

If we do not hold the center, if we surrender our moral highground as a civic body, we will destroy ourselves as we have given up the will to defend what is good and holy in our land.

Enc: Photos of the green space, 5th and Rosedale

Audacious Vision of the Day: OK Players Wins Nobel Prize 2010

This list serve is comprised of some of the best and the brightest of the new generations, the planetary citizens bringing us the best of the Obama movement.

Is it not possible to imagine some of the participants of the OK Players national, even international, on-line conversation, inspiring Bill Moyers, Tavis Smiley, and Amy Goodman to devote a show each to Will Allen, Grace Lee Boggs, and Michael Pollan talking about the connections between good food, beauty, and justice.

Let’s start with Tavis Smiley: [email protected]

and Bill Moyers: [email protected]

Ask them! If you have not been turned down 3 times each day, you have not asked enough of a loving universe with a benign presence. We are in the lap of an immense intelligence. It’s us when we’re inspired!

Having won a national show on the real food movement, OK Players can then inspire the Obama campaign to construct an urban farming and edible playground plank at the national convention.

What say!

Why not?

A Perfect Mother’s Day
Milwaukee, 2008
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Introducing Urban Anthropology’s Old South Side Farmers Market

Urban Anthropology is developing a new public market—one that works to define the specific culture and history of the neighborhood.

Market Features 2008


Presentation of Lincoln Village (the Old South Side) as “Milwaukee’s Premiere Immigrant Village” representing 25 nationsand most represented here among the vendors and products

Presentation of a great history of this cultural hub, through interactive features


A Latino duet featuring traditional Mexican and Puerto Rican music, with a clown for the children (Lupida Behar & partner)

A Polish combo with antique Polish instruments that also plays traditional American songs (sing-a-long group) (Ray Krawzyk and group)

Horse and carriage rides going around the Village

Tours of the Old South Side Settlement Museum (just across the street) that represent the immigrant families

Tours of the Basilica of St. Josaphat just across the street (at 11)

Ongoing puppet shows for children depicting the history of the Village and all of Milwaukee’s cultural groups (free)

Craft booth for children (not every week)

“The Old South Side” song written by UrbAn staff that will be playing over the PA system

EDUCATIONAL FEATURES on the themes (all free and ongoing)

100+ editions of a single page “newspaper” called the Old South Side News (giving the history and culture of the Village)

Over 1,000 photographs of the village that will be available for viewing on the porch of the Settlement Museum

Ongoing viewing of updated documentary (done by Urban Anthropology Inc.) on the Old South Side on the porch of the Settlement Museum

Photo display of then/now buildings of Village buildings

Photo display of “cultural back street” spots of Milwaukee, enhanced in a digital watercolor format

Etchings of that “other” Polish group on Jones Islandthe Kashubes


There are currently 40 vendors, with approximately 25 appearing each week

The vendors represent Latino and Eastern European cultures, as well as the traditional farmers market variety


Hot Latino food of every possible variety (2 vendors)

Cold drinks, including pina coladas and snow cones

Polish food from Old World Deli

Popcorn and nachos

Hot corn (not sure of this yet)

Bakery (2 vendors)


Milwaukee Neighborhoods Calendar produced by Urban Anthropology Inc.

Art from the South Side Artist and Writers Guild (and other artists)

Vegetable and fruit vendors (4)

Healing arts people from a cross cultural perspective

A cheese manufacturer

Jewelry and other accessories

Flowers and plants

Documentaries on Milwaukee’s ethnic groups and neighborhoods

Crafts and needlework

Pottery and ethnic crafts from the 25 nations


Cheese maker

Honey manufacturer

Syrup and pancake products

Knife sharpener

Information booths on local businesses and programs


The first will be June 15 and will focus on the Village residents themselves (and will include free plants given away to neighborhood people of the Village from the University Extension)

The second will be an official grand opening for city-wide exposure. We hope that the Mayor will join us there, and expect our local elected officialsPeggy West and James Witkowiakfor certain

Jill Florence Lackey, PhD

Jill Florence Lackey & Associates

Urban Anthropology Inc.
707 W. Lincoln Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53215

Phone or fax: (414) 271–9417

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
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Milwaukee Public Allies Class of 2008 Challenged to Win McArthur Genius Awards by 2045

With the power of the internet
And the visions inspired of late
By the aspect of The Movement
We call the Obama movement…

The Public Allies, Milwaukee 2008
May make enough history in their turn
As to be the first group to win
The McArthur Genius Award.

They may have committed today
To develop a web site
That tracks their individual and group
Hero quests and evolutionary experiments.

Here they are!
Milwaukee Public Allies, Class of 2008.

They may share their stories with us!
They might be among the leaders we’ve been waiting for!

I’d put my money on that proposition.

Milwaukee Elder
Bracing Spring Day, 2008

Public Allies Milwaukee 2008

One Public Allies Vision: Inspire Bill Moyers to Interview Will Allen With Grace Lee Boggs For “Victory Gardens—Now.


Send an e-mail to Bill Moyers, at [email protected], asking that he have Grace Lee Boggs and Will Allen on his show to talk about the urban, local, and edible schoolyard agriculture movement percolating in the fields, backyards, and schools of our cities!

Victory Gardensa Manifesto

Victory Gardensa Manifesto

Near the beginning of the 21st century we humans find ourselves is an urgent struggle against tremendous destructive forces of our own making. We will, in the coming years, need to fight for our health, for our community, for our habitat, for our very survival. We have poisoned ourselves and our land and must now begin the process of cleaning and renewing our polluted planet.

This struggle will take great effort from our government, our industry, our schools, and our communities at every level. Brave and creative leadership will be necessary, as this struggle must be confronted on a scale larger than the individual: we need to join together and demand this sort of leadership and action.

But we must also undergo profound individual reorientations and must take action consistently and daily. We must revise and refine our values, goals, expectations, entitlements, tastes, even our recreation. We must reorient the way we house ourselves, clothe ourselves, transport ourselves and, most fundamentally, the way we feed ourselves.

We propose to aid this struggle on an individual level by each planting a garden, large or small.

Planting a garden can help restore our health with the sorts of fresh and wholesome foods humans evolved to need. Planting a garden can help cure our alienation from our bodies and from the physical work they were made to perform.

Planting a garden can help restore our environment, because our food is currently embedded with fossil fuels from the foods production, transportation, and storage. By growing our own food, locally, in our yards and on our roofs, we can eliminate much of our foods carbon footprint.

Planting a garden can help maintain the bio-diversity that has been destroyed by the monocultures of corn and soy, with which our snacks and fast-foods are packed. It can help us rediscover the fine and subtle tastes that have been drowned by sugars, oils, and processed grains.

Planting a garden can turn idle or wasted space into productive and cleansing bio-cultures. Let every spare space become a green space! The grass lawn that is soaked with pesticides or the roof that soaks up heat can become spaces of environmental renewal. Let every flat roof become a garden or farm, a prairie or thicket.

Planting a garden can help us achieve peace, because so many of our wars are fought over the fuel needed to produce and process our food. Our demands upon the world start, daily, with the way we eat. Our wars are fought so that we can maintain the domination and affluence that allows us to ship exotic foods from all over the planet—anything we want, any time we want it, fresh, frozen, or preserved. Our caloric abundance and disproportion is safeguarded by our policies, our violence, our disregard.

Planting a garden can help us restore our communities. Culture and cultivate share the same roots, and our human roots lie in the communal production of food and shelter. A garden can become a meeting place of work and joy and health and celebration.

This struggle of our generation is, most of all, not only a struggle to save a way of life (though many parts deserve to be saved); it is equally a struggle to change the way we live our lives. We have come to see ourselves primarily as consumers and this orientation has put our health and survival at risk. Planting a garden is a step, symbolic and actual, in changing this orientationin seeing ourselves and acting instead as producers, as preservationists, conservationists and stewards, as cultivators, as growers. Without this orientation, our prospects are bleak. With this orientation, our prospects are rich indeed.

Let us call these gardens Victory Gardens and let our generation also be one that creates new freedoms and prosperity. Let it too be a great generation rather than a passive spectators of our ruin.

Photo Appendix

Reclamation Society’s Harambee Garden

Erik Lindberg and Jan Christensen at Start
Of Erik’s Victory Garden on His Building’s Roof

Erik Lindberg’s Family Farm Atop His Old Industrial Building in Milwaukee

Lindberg Proposal for Garden on Your Garage Roof

Attached is a proposal for roof top planter boxes. I envision two boxes of about 12′ long placed along the east edge of the garage roof. If kept at the edge, combined with the lightweight soil mix I’m recommending, there shouldn’t be any structural issues. You might also be able to place them along one of the other sides, but the east edge would be the most reliable.

The boxes as proposed are constructed of regular construction grade lumber and plywood. Like mine, I would line them with plastic so that the lumber isn’t soaked from the inside, but they still will get a little wet and will deteriorate over time. I expect that mine will last at least 5 years before they need significant maintenance, but that is just a projection without much solid evidence. For an increased cost they could be made from cedar. I could also make them out of pressure treated lumber. With the plastic lining, I wouldn’t expect any leaching of the chemicals, but I didn’t personally want to take that chance with my own. The other significant design detail is a drainage layer along the bottom. While it is customary to use gravel, to save weight I would use packing peanuts, which are then covered with landscape soil to keep them separate and to keep the soil from clogging the drains.

As for soil, I would make a mix of Growing Power compost, peat moss, and vermiculite, with a thin layer of topsoil on top (the compost tends to be clumpy, so a layer of topsoil helps make sowing easier. After the drainage layer and the bottom, there would be a minimum of 8″ of soil. This is enough for most vegetables and flowers, except, perhaps, beets and carrotsbut they might also do just fine.

I didn’t include any stairs because an attached set of stairs would not meet code. I would either use a small ladder or I could devise some sort of temporary, removable stairs, but they aren’t included at this time.

Finally, this can be done without addressing the existing roof. The only drawback would be that when you do get the roof replaced some day, you’d have to empty the boxes to move them so that the roof work could be performed.

I’m too new at this to guarantee any specific results, but so far I’ve seen that the boxes designed like this, with this sort of soil, drain really well. My initial plantings seem to be doing very well so far. It is also easy to build a hoop-shaped covering to extend the growing season into the spring and fall.

Please let me know if you have any questions,

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Read for local article on Tibet uprising.

Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on September 23, 2008

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