On this page…

  1. City Repair: Social Permaculture in Portland
    1. 1.1  Transforming Streets into Active Commons for Creating Community
  2. Vertical Farms Discussed on Colbert Report
    1. 2.1  Stephen asks Dickson Despommier if growing food in vertical towers is an elitist way to farm.
  3. London Urban Farmer’s Projects and Book “Edible Estates”
    1. 3.1  proposes the replacement of the domestic front lawn in cities with “an edible landscape”.
    2. 3.2  Edible Skyscrapers Become “Sky Farms”
  4. Cuban Urban Farming a Great Success Story
  5. Sacred Soil from Sacred Grounds
  6. San Francisco Victory Garden Initiative…
  7. ”Cheap Food in the City? Grow Your Own” ABC News Business Unit
    1. 7.1  City Dwellers Seeking to Save Money on Food Flock to Community Gardens
  8. The Rise of the ‘Locavore’ in “Business Week
    1. 8.1  How the strengthening local food movement in towns across the U.S. is reshaping farms and food retailing
  9. Michael Pollan on the Farm Bill USA 2008 and Deb Eschmeyer Summary of the Same
  10. Where Industry Once Hummed, Urban Garden Finds Success
  11. Learn About Growth of Farmers Markets
  12. Green Gulch Farm Zen Center: renowned for its pioneering role in California’s food revolution
  13. Letter In Hopes of Tracie McMillan Reports on U.S. Urban Agriculture 2008-2010
  14. What Is a “Food Policy Council?”
  15. Save Remaining KK River Greenspace by Founder of Milwaukee Earth Poets Jeff Poniewaz
  16. The Milwaukee River: Paradise in Our Own Back Yard
  17. Church has plot to tackle food prices
  18. Bucketworks Victory Gardens and Edible Playgrounds
  19. Great Lakes Water Institute & 10,000 Yellow Perch to Growing Power
  20. MBA’s Discover “Agriburbia”
  21. Entrepreneurs See Opportunity Down on the Yard Farm
  22. Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture & Food Security’s Asian, African, S. American Partner Cities and Annotated Bibliography
  23. Why Are Presidential Candidates Silent re Industrial Food System’s Devolutionary Implications?
  24. Youth & Elder Summer Hostels in the Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas
  25. The Agora and Green Weekly Web Platforms at the Renaissance Are Your On Line Bulletin Boards & Kiosks
  26. ”Bushmeat Hunting” Reduced When Fish Supply Plentiful
  27. Journal Article on Growing Power Fish Industry Breakthrough
  28. Making Green the New Black - Video of Talk by South Bronx Activist, Majora Carter…
  29. The GREEN Issue (NYTs Magazine)
  30. Earth Poet Peddler Thanks Alderman Kovac for City Proclamation!
  31. Green Collar Jobs: An Analysis
  32. Great Lakes WATER Institute,
  33. Toward A Planetary Real Food Movement
  34. Tucson Citizens Build Garden In Path of Proposed Roadway
  35. Reclaiming Vacant Lots: A Philadelphia Green Guide
  36. Meeting to Plan for 220 Vacant Lots Hopefully Transformed into Urban Food Gardens, April 24
  37. Call for Artists - Rain Barrel Exhibit & Auction
  39. Red Wrigglers From Growing Power Thrive Inside and Outside, Winter 2007/2008
  40. International Urban Agriculture Yahoo Group Project
    1. 40.1  Invitation to Chaordic Connections Among Oganic/Urban/Schoolyard Farmer/Gardener/Agrarians
  41. Brydie Godsil’s Great Lakes Urban Agriculture/Organic Farming/Edible Playground Google Search Web Site List
    1. 41.1  Milaukee
    2. 41.2  Chicago
    3. 41.3  Detroit
    4. 41.4  Cleveland
    5. 41.5  Toronto
  42. Introducing the Renaissance Project of New Orleans
    1. 42.1  Re Growing Communities Service Event in New Orleans, April 30th Milwaukee Informational Meeting
  43. ”Growing Your Community Food System: From the Ground Up” Workshop April 19 & 20
  44. Seeing Green: Art, Ecology, and Activism: Digital Arts and Culture at UWM
  45. ”Human Urine As A Safe, Inexpensive Fertilizer For Food Crops” ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2007)
  46. Young Intellectuals and Activists Becoming Organic Farmers
  47. Ideas for S. African Horticulturist Seeking Help/Ideas Setting Up Community Garden
    1. 47.1  Response
  48. Clyde’s Vegetable Planting Slide Chart
  49. ”Growing Power 2008 Highlights”
  50. Local Food Local Fish
  51. Northeast Side Area Plan Open House
  52. National/Local Guests: 4th Street Forum_FARMERS IN THE CITY: BACK TO THE FUTURE?
    1. 52.1  People in cities are planting gardens again. It’s called Urban Agriculture.
    2. 52.2  Some think the gardens might help alleviate poverty and other social problems. Do they?
  53. Sweet Red Cherry Tomatoes From Your Harambee Garden
  54. Please join us for the Northeast Side Plan Open House
  55. Does Obama Yet Know That Madison Wisconsin Citizens Can Now Legally Raise Chickens!
  56. Milwaukee’s Northeast Area Plan Adopts Urban Farming Plank!
  57. Looking Like Bridie’s Found Her Harvard
  58. Urban Farming, Our Broken Health System, and The Western Diseases
  59. Rally the Locavores
  60. WEBCAST - 1/29/08 Financing Green Infrastructure
  61. Renewable energy sourced power plants vs. old coal dinosaurs!
    1. 61.1  Public Service Commission to decide
  62. An Open Letter to Milwaukee Preservation Alliance Calling for the Marriage of Urban Farming, Internet Empowerment, and Historic Preservation
  63. Conserving the Bonobo: a struggle between two worlds
  64. Best Selling Real Food Writer, Michael Pollan, Devestating Critique of Industrial Agriculture for 600 At Alverno College Who Braved the Cold
    1. 64.1  Says Only Obama Campaign Has Contacted Him to Learn About “The Human Omnivore,” “An Eater’s Manifesto” and Local, Organic Food Movements
  65. Kelners Co-Op Organizing Underway.
    1. 65.1  30 Riverwest residents meet at Polish Falcons Hall and create organizing work teams.
  66. Renowned Poet/Naturalist Poniewaz UWM Course: Literature of Ecological Vision
  67. Milwaukee to Host North American Urban Agricultural Conference
  68. Re-enchantment of Agriculture project meeting
  69. Bonobo Benefit at Coffee House, Jan 13, 7 p.m., 19th & Wisconsin, east basement entrance to Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church
    1. 69.1  Music by Embedded Reporter: “Low Brow Music for Smart People”
  70. Literature of Ecological Vision
  71. NYT Thomas Friedman on Imperative of Biodiversity w. a Focus on Indonesia’s Gibbons
  72. Friends of Mke’s Rivers Cheryl Nenn “Flabgbergasted” by KK Development Project
  73. Milwaukee Green Collar Jobs Corps Update
  74. Our Growing Power, a poem by Kt Rusch
  75. Dare to Dream of Three Generation Households
  77. ”Father of American Participatory Architecture, Karl Linn, “Building Commons and Community”
    1. 77.1  Insiration for Urban Barnraising and Community Gardens
  78. Interview with Barbara Bell, World Renowned Bonobo Trainer/Keeper at Milwaukee County Zoo
  79. Reenchantment of Agriculture Gathering at Amaranth Bakery on 34th & Lisbon, Wed. Dec. 12, 5:30 p.m.
  80. Greening Shorewood Charrette to Transform 2 Acre Parking Lot into Demonstration City Farm
  81. Naming the digester
  82. Growing Food & Justice for All
  83. 5-year-old chimp beats college kids in computer game
  84. What Should Milwaukee Do With Its Leaves?
  85. Heffernan’s/Growing Power’s Anaerobic Digester Project Seeks Volunteer “Thoughtful Shovelers”
  86. The Gift that Keeps on Giving
  87. Science Channel 30 Minute Feature On Growing Power Miracles, Including Its Anaerobic Digester, This Monday, Dec. 3
    1. 87.1  Dirt Rules!
  88. Urban Ecology Center’s Library of Sustainability and Solterra Studios Get Nice Article in Milwaukee’s “Business Journal”
  89. Growing Power Benefit at the Coffee House, Basement of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church at 19th & Wisconsin
    1. 89.1  Sunday Night, December 9, 7 p.m.
  90. Sharecropper and Yeoman City Farm Co-ops
  91. Godsil/Hinterthuer On-Line Interview: Hinterthuer, a Happy Green Warrior
  92. Growing Power Training Programs to Help Grow Urban Farmers, Winter 2008
  93. Green Terraced Park/Building in Japan
    1. 93.1  Milwaukee Voices in Response to An Architectural Design for the New Millenium in Milwaukee
  94. Greenstreet, City Architect, Present McArthur Square Vision as Urban Agriculture Center, Dec. 11, 4 p.m., Turner Hall, Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network(MUAN) Meeting
  95. Greening Shorewood Committee Design Charrette re Shorewood H.S. Urban Agriculture Demonstration Project, Dec. 4, H.S. Band Room 278, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  96. Urban Farm Co-ops Seek Members
  97. Growing Power in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
    1. 97.1  The age of eco-dining
  98. Interview w. Ann Brummit, Coordinator Milwaukee River Work Group
  99. Urban Aquaculture Center Press Release
  100. GodsHill City Farm News
    1. 100.1  One Quarter Green(Nitrogen), Three Quarters Brown(Carbon) Yields Warmth For Your Worms This Winter!
    2. 100.2  A Thousand Bucks and Up Can Get You 4 Season Greenhouse, 2 Rainbarrels, & Serious Compost Set-up
    3. 100.3  November 19th, 2007
    4. 100.4  Cover Your Black Growing Power Garden Soil w. Neighbors’ Leaves of Green and Gold
    5. 100.5  Stephanie Philipps’ Reclamation Society Prototype Four Season Kitchen Garden Greenhouses, $400 and up!
    6. 100.6  Front Lawn of Euclid House Mini Farm Has No Grass
    7. 100.7  Award Winning Green Builder’s Gateway to Grace Stephanie Philipps’ Reclamation Society’s Harambee Demonstration Urban Village Garden
    8. 100.8  Reclamation Society Seeks Salvaged Wood, Windows, Fencing, Posts, etc. For Harambee Demonstration Urban Village Garden

City Repair: Social Permaculture in Portland

Transforming Streets into Active Commons for Creating Community

Posted by Jonathan Rowe <http://onthecommons.org/user/6> on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 3:06pm

The drive from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland Oregon, up Highway 5, passes through a splendid natural landscape and a diminished human one. There are islands of local particularity, yes. But along the highway one encounters an endless succession of Best Westerns, Taco Bells — you know the list. You drive six hundred miles and stay in the same place. After all those billions spent to defeat the Soviet Union, we have embraced its numbing uniformity, only with a higher entertainment quotient and a better paint job.

Then there’s Portland, which is trying to resist this commercial Sovietization and the social pathologies that go with it, Downtown there is Pioneer Square, which set a new standard for urban commons, and a host of kindred spaces. In the neighborhoods, meanwhile, there is the City Repair project, which is resurrecting a commons consciousness block by block. “Turning spaces into places,” is how the people there put it.

City Repair is not about fixing structures. It is about the life that flows through and between structures when they are intelligently designed. Mark Lakeman, one of the founders, calls it permaculture in an urban setting. “We empower local, urban communities (neighborhoods) to creatively interrupt the city Grid in order to transform streets into active, social commons,” he wrote with Lydia Doleman, his partner.

The typical urban grid was designed for the ease of marketing individual lots - that is, for turning space into real estate. It is a geometric dictator that makes little provision for the contours of the landscape or the needs of human interaction. In Portland, however, someone had the foresight to modify the grid in ways conducive to neighborhood. Streets dead-end for a block or two, thus deterring through traffic. Small traffic circles at many intersections deter traffic further.

City Repair takes that thinking to the proverbial next level. It starts with intersections, which today are dominated by automobiles, and reclaims them for human intercourse. Neighbors get together and build cob structures, paint bright murals on the pavement, and generally conjure life out of what now are social dead zones.

Lakeman took me on a tour of several City Repair sites last week. (There are about fifty now and growing.) One featured a Poetry Plaza, with a cob bench, a solar-powered lighthouse, and a box into which people can deposit their own poems and read those of others. Elsewhere there were cob benches, tea houses, kiosks, bulletin boards with solar lighting, even a memorial to a young bicyclist who was hit by a truck that ran a stop sign at the corner (see photo.)

The latter was on a private yard. When people get into the spirit of community place-making the boundaries between the private and the common - the /me/ and the /we/ — begin to soften. Residents have commented on how the structures, and especially the process of creating them, have been lubricants to community. People are meeting neighbors they never talked with in ten years of living across the street. Strangers have become neighbors; and not surprisingly, some neighborhoods have seen a measurable drop in crime.

We need etiquettes of introduction in order to talk with strangers, and settings in which approach is okay. City Repair is providing those; and it is extending the concept to a larger scale. It helped to create Dignity Village, for example, which is a community of formerly homeless people. People there have built straw bale houses, a kitchen, solar/gas showers, and a garden. Lakeman says it costs three dollars a day for someone to live there, as opposed to sixty a day at a typical shelter.

Deal with people as capable rather than defective, and as community builders instead of as isolated integers, and sometimes they will surprise you.

City Repair also helped establish the Rebuilding Center, which is a kind of Home Depot for salvaged building materials, fixtures and the like. (It is built largely of such materials itself.) The Center employs some fifty people, all of whom live within a ten minutes’ walk from the store, in a neighborhood where people need these jobs. There are cob benches outside for meetings or just hanging out.

This kind of social permaculture is as infectious as its opposite can be. Once people start doing it the idea just spreads. In the Sunnyside neighborhood, which is City Repair’s most active, the local elementary school decided that it wanted to get into the act and become an environmental model. Kids there learn about ecology at each grade, and practice it through the plantings on the school grounds. Other schools have gotten involved as well.

There is a belief in America that everything depends upon personal virtue. Virtuous people will create communities, regardless of the physical setting. Megamalls, sprawling suburbs, the isolation booths calls cars - virtue will prevail over all. Virtue certainly can help. But community is not hydroponic. It does not grow in the gaseous air of speechifying about community, or in the virtue of isolated individuals.

Community needs settings in which to take root in flourish; it needs commons structures, just as market behavior needs market structures. Some settings are more hospitable than others. Even healthy plants cannot grow in concrete. City repair is creating a new model for breaking up the concrete.

If you are in the area and would like to take a look, an ideal time would be the annual Village Building Convergence, when neighbors undertake repair projects all over town. The VBC this year will be May 19–28. For more information check out www.cityrepair.org <http://www.cityrepair.org/wiki.php> and its VBC page <http://www.cityrepair.org/wiki.php/projects/vbc>, or call 503–235–8946.


Julie Ristau
On the Commons
[email protected]
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Vertical Farms Discussed on Colbert Report

Stephen asks Dickson Despommier if growing food in vertical towers is an elitist way to farm.


London Urban Farmer’s Projects and Book “Edible Estates”

proposes the replacement of the domestic front lawn in cities with “an edible landscape”.

Edible Skyscrapers Become “Sky Farms”

“The urban farmer: One man’s crusade to plough up the inner city”

By Kate Burt
Sunday, 1 June 2008

Haeg details his concept in his new book Edible Estates, which proposes the replacement of the domestic front lawn in cities with ‘an edible landscape’ Meghan Quinn

Fritz Haeg isn’t perhaps the obvious representative of a revolution in global farming. As an architecture and design academic and practitioner, the American has had his work exhibited at Tate Modern and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and has taught fine art at several US universities. Yet it is last year’s community-collaborative project on an inner-city council estate in south London that best showcases his current passion: the urban farm.

Last April, in a discussion about the global food crisis, Gordon Brown announced: “We need to make great changes in the way we organise food production in the next few years.” High on the list of viable changes is the idea of inner-city agriculture. Which is the theory behind Haeg’s concept, detailed in his new book Edible Estates: it proposes the replacement of the domestic front lawn in cities with “an edible landscape”. Last year, to illustrate this point, Haeg was commissioned by the Tate to create a permanent “edible estate” on a triangle of communal grass in front of a housing estate near Elephant and Castle, bordered on two sides by a main road along which London buses thunder every few minutes.

The aim was to engage and involve the local residents and together they miraculously transformed a patch of grass previously favoured by dogs and drunks into a luscious agri-plot housing apple and plum trees, a “forest” of tomato plants, aubergines, squashes, Brussels sprouts, runner beans, sweet peas, a “salad wing”, herbs, edible flowers and 6ft artichoke plants. It is also quite beautiful: “The design was inspired by the ornate, curvy raised flowerbeds you find in front of Buckingham Palace,” explains Haeg. Interestingly, although this space is still accessible by passers-by unlike the traditional allotment, which Haeg feels is outdated there has been no theft or vandalism. The London project was mirrored in several locations around the US.

“All the projects I do are rooted in the way that an architect thinks and works,” says Haeg. “How we live and the spaces we make for ourselves.” And right now, he believes, we need to re-evaluate exactly that, and urgently so particularly in our overcrowded cities.

As part of its “One Planet Living” initiative, the World Wildlife Fund calculated our average personal carbon footprint in Britain. Perplexingly, it found that food production and its transport accounts for our greatest use of carbon 23 per cent per person beating personal transport, home energy and even shared services (the running of schools, hospitals, banks and so on). These results, combined with food shortages and escalating costs the price of apples and eggs has risen by 30 per cent in the past year mean action must be taken, says Haeg. Ornamental urban space is a luxury we can no longer afford, he believes: we need to be growing food on our lawns, greens, driveways and even public parks.

Haeg is not the only one to think it is time for change. The global Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) strategic alliance estimates that, by 2015, more than half the world’s population will be living in urban areas, provoking one of the greatest challenges in the history of agriculture as we try to find a way to keep a lid on food miles and produce enough food for everyone. “Now, more than ever,” urges Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, “we need to grow more food closer to where people live.” And in this climate, it seems that everyone from town planners to head teachers, TV chefs to agri-entrepreneurs are getting excited about farming food in the big smoke.

But is it realistic to turn over our spare urban soil to the cause and is there really enough of it to do so? Erik Watson, an urban design director at the town-planning company Turley Associates, strongly believes that inner-city agriculture is the future. As such, he is already advising his clients on ways to incorporate farming into their developments and is particularly excited about the potential for transforming existing space enclosed in the traditionally British city structure, the “perimeter block” (a row of buildings constructed around an enclosed, private square typically divided into private gardens). “Look at an aerial view of London and you’ll see there’s an enormous amount of private open space contained within these blocks. It is perfect for this urban agricultural revolution,” he says.

Re-apportioning private space might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Later this month Sustain is hosting a conference, called Growing Food for London, where ideas to be aired include the possibilities of using derelict council facilities, social housing land and unused private gardens for commercial agriculture, as well as the planting of fruit and nut trees in parks and along roads, creating community gardens in public parks and replacing ornamental plants with edible crops. It will also look at alternative food production such as mushroom growing, beekeeping and planting edibles in window boxes, as well as ideas for the little-explored area of rearing livestock in urban areas.

While beekeeping is on the rise in British cities it is estimated that there are 5,000 beehives in London alone other urban animal-based edibles are rare. Hunting might be the answer here squirrel meat has already been seized upon as a sustainable, free-range delicacy in rural Cornwall could it catch on in cities? Might pigeon pie become a Trafalgar Square speciality; has anyone thought of fox cutlets?

Perhaps more realistic is organised urban livestock rearing. “There are issues with planning noise pollution and so on,” says Zeenat Anjani from Sustain, “but you could definitely raise chickens and other small animals. We hope the Growing Food conference will open more people’s minds to these sorts of ideas and get the right people in the same room to talk about what they can do.”

Many are already talking about it. Inspired by the “victory gardens” of the First and Second World Wars, when civilians were urged to “dig for victory” to survive the food shortages, Jamie Oliver’s newest venture is to inspire the residents of inner-city Rochdale to eat like our wartime forebears and grow their own, while Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new River Cottage series challenges five Bristol familes to transform a derelict patch of land into a fruitful smallholding.

In Middlesborough, the Groundwork South Tees trust has begun an urban-farming education programme to teach people how to cultivate herbs, vegetables and fruit even if they do not have a garden, by providing containers for patios, balconies and windowsills. There are also sustainable-food grants available to those who want to educate others how to produce their own food in cities, and how to compost effectively to improve typically poor-quality urban soil. ‘

If it comes off, perhaps one of the most high-profile initiatives still at bid stage is the Feed the Olympics proposal. It is a radical blueprint from several green organisations outlining how 6,000 acres of land in London could be put to work to grow enough food to provide the 14m-odd meals that will be needed during the 60 days of the 2012 Games, instead of importing it. This would involve creating 2,012 new food-growing spaces across the capital, including community gardens, allotments and roof gardens.

Revolutionary? In this country, yes but we’re lagging behind countries such as China, Japan and Cuba, which already have farms integrated into the social, economic and physical structures of their cities; as early as a decade ago Beijing town planners had begun to incorporate agriculture into the urban landscape. The Chinese government also offers courses to aspiring urban farmers and plans to cultivate gardens on nearly 10,000,000sq ft of roof space over the next 10 years.

Similarly, Argentina’s Programa de Agricultura Urbana (PAU) was set up to support city-based farmers in the aftermath of the country’s financial collapse. And in Cuba, when the US-led trade embargo resulted in severe food shortages, the government responded by investing in urban farms, providing state-owned plots and teaching relevant skills in schools.

But will it work in Britain? Carole Wright, who manages the communal garden created by Haeg in south London, says it already is. “It cost less than 5,000 to create and it is capable of feeding three blocks of flats with 24 households each,” she says. “We run family gardening sessions, Sunday sessions, after-school clubs and also container gardening, so residents can grow things on their balconies too. High- density housing is no barrier you can grow things out of an old baked-bean can. The more people we can get, the more we can produce. It’s not about the size of the land it’s about the maintenance.” She has had no shortage of regular, enthusiastic volunteers surprisingly most of whom are children.

Wright was delighted when one girl, a moody teenager who described herself as a “cybergoth”, grew her own beetroot. “You’d never have known she was excited about it,” says Wright, “but I spotted her one evening with her friends, holding the thing in her hands. ‘What are you doing with that?’ I asked. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘I grew it I wanted to show my mates.’ She comes down every day now to water her sunflowers.”

It’s not just about financial and health benefits Wright has also noticed social benefits. “People who have not spoken for five years are suddenly chatting again, discussing what they’ve grown. And it brings together people from different cultures too they lean over the fence and reminisce about the vegetables they grew in their countries as children okra, bananas, yams, sweet potatoes.”

Wright describes one gardener, an elderly widow, who has planted an almond tree as a memorial to her late husband and says he would have loved to see how the space had been transformed. “One guy has even replaced the photo of his family on his mobile phone with a picture of the garden. It’s given them so much pride.”

The impact of the garden has been enormous, says Wright. People from further and further away are coming along to get involved, learn new skills and socialise. “They see it and it’s like a lightbulb and they say, ‘We want our own edible estate.’ Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it?”

The world’s first edible high-rise

The potential of city-based farming could be vastly expanded if we extend upwards as well as using ground-level plots.

Of course, one major problem with growing produce on our roofs is the quantities of soil needed, which would add unfeasible amounts of weight. However, hydroponic technology using nutrient-enriched water instead of soil could be the solution.

Toronto scientist Gordon Graff has created plans for a 58-floor concept building the SkyFarm which would grow crops in the heart of the city and could provide enough food for 35,000 people every day. Crops would be irrigated by water recycled through the building’s hydroponic system and, with no soil, many diseases are ruled out meaning no need for chemical pesticides.

Rumours abound of a similar skyscraper farm being developed in Las Vegas. It is said that the 30-storey structure would be not just about agriculture, but would house pigs too though some have suggested the vertical pork farm could be a hoax. Punchlines on a postcard, please. KB
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Cuban Urban Farming a Great Success Story


By NIKO PRICE Associated Press Writer
HAVANA June 8, 2008 (AP)
The Associated Press
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Sacred Soil from Sacred Grounds

I have recently been blessed with a gift to urban farmer/gardeners
By the Quaker House in Riverwest, Milwaukee, of wood chips
That have been “cooking” on their grounds for about 3 years!

The bottom of their very large pile of wood chips,
Dropped off to them gratis by the Milwaukee Department of Public Works,
Appears to this apprentice urban mini-farmer to be wonderful.
My worms love it!

The Quakers used their wood chip pile for an on-site garden
But now have so much they have offered it to people in the community.

Would it not be a good thing to encourage other spiritual communities
To have other department of public works deposit quantities of wood chips
At an appropriate place on their grounds, first for their congregation’s gardens,
And then for their neighbors’ use?

The wood chip pile could be an occasion to educate people about composting
And gardening, and connect spiritual communities with their neighbors.

Perfect Spring Morning in Milwaukee
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San Francisco Victory Garden Initiative…

A local network of home gardens = A community of food producers!

Victory Gardens 2008
(VG2008+) is a project of Garden for the Environment and the City of San Francisco’s Department for the Environment. A two-year pilot project to support the transition of backyard, front yard, and unused land into organic food production areas, Victory Gardens 2008+ derives its title from, and build on, the successful nationwide Victory Garden programs of WWI and WWII. Victory Gardens 2008+, however, redefines “Victory” in the pressing context of urban sustainability. “Victory” is growing food at home for increased local food security and reducing the food miles associated with the average American meal.

Victory Gardens 2008+ was ideated by San Francisco based artist and designer Amy Franceschini in the Fall of 2006, for which she received the 2006 SECA award from the SF MOMA. Amy Franceschini partnered with Garden for the Environment for the planting of three initial Victory Gardens, and to develop and operate a citywide Victory Gardens program in San Francisco.

Backyard Victory Gardens (Current)

In 2008, Victory Gardens will install at least 15 pilot urban organic food gardens in San Francisco. Participation in the pilot program includes a multi-year commitment to the pilot program and a specified number of public Victory Garden tour dates. Once chosen, Victory Garden staff will install, and support, each Victory Garden. Through public outreach and education programs, VG08+ aims to create a community of urban food producers. Additionally, Victory Gardens is assembling data on the location and productive potential of urban land through the programs City Garden Registry.

You can pick up a paper copy of the Victory Gardens Application at City Hall in the Mayor’s office of Neighborhood Services, Room 160, in San Francisco.

Demonstration Victory Garden (Current)

Victory Gardens has developed a demonstration of the productive potential of small urban spaces for growing organic food at the Garden for the Environment, located at 7th Ave and Lawton Streets in San Francisco. Please stop by Wed 11AM-2PM to talk urban food with our Backyard Victory Garden Manager, Brooke Budner.

Urban Food Growing Workshops (Summer, Fall 2008)

Victory Garden and Garden for the Environment staff will host regular workshops on organic horticulture, with the specific goal of increasing gardeners capacity to successfully grow their own food in San Franciscos challenging Mediterranean climate. Workshops will be targeted to the pilot program participants, however workshops will be open to the public.

City Hall Victory Garden (Summer, 2008)

During the summer of 2008, the Victory Gardens program is creating a quarter-acre, edible, ornamental landscape in front of San Franciscos City Hall. The garden concept is a Living Quilt of people and plants, a garden of community. In partnership with Slow Food Nation, City Slickers Farms in West Oakland, and numerous partners, we will garden, educate, and produce food for those most in need in the city. Groundbreaking is July 1st, the first community planting day will be held July 12th, the Slow Food Nation Event is August 29 September 1st, and in mid-September the garden will be harvested, and the organic produce that we have grown over the course of the summer will be donated to the Glide Daily Meals and other City food service programs.

San Francisco Victory Garden City Farm Program (Future)

The SFVG City Farm program builds on the legacy of the Victory Gardens from the First and the Second World Wars and reinvents the original concept to meet contemporary needs building community around local food production, providing food for the poor, mitigating the environmental impact of our current food system, and enhancing San Franciscos food security & emergency preparedness. The project strategy is to create a network CSA model that maximizes productivity of urban lands while coordinating volunteerism and stewardship.

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“Cheap Food in the City? Grow Your Own” ABC News Business Unit

City Dwellers Seeking to Save Money on Food Flock to Community Gardens

ABC NEWS Business Unit
June 4, 2008

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The Rise of the ‘Locavore’ in “Business Week!”

How the strengthening local food movement in towns across the U.S. is reshaping farms and food retailing

by Pallavi Gogoi

Drive through the rolling foothills of the Appalachian range in southwestern Virginia and you’ll come across Abingdon, one of the oldest towns west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If it happens to be a Saturday morning, you might think there’s a party going onevery week between 7 a.m. and noon, more than 1,000 people gather in the parking lot on Main Street, next to the police station. This is Abingdon’s farmers’ market. “For folks here, this is part of the Saturday morning ritual,” says Anthony Flaccavento, a farmer who is also executive director of Appalachian Sustainable Development, a nonprofit organization working in the Appalachian region of Virginia and Tennessee.

It’s a relatively recent ritual. Five years ago, the farmers’ market wasn’t as vibrant and it attracted just nine local farmers who sold a few different kinds of veggies. Today, there’s a fourfold jump, with 36 farmers who regularly show up with a dizzying array of eggplants, blueberries, pecans, home-churned butter, and meat from animals raised on the farms encircling the town. It’s a sign of the times: Hundreds of farmers’ markets are springing up all around the country. The U.S. Agriculture Dept. says the number of such markets reached 4,692 in 2006, its most recent year of data, up 50% from five years earlier. Sales from those markets reached $1 billion.

New Niches
The rise of farmers’ marketsin city centers, college towns, and rural squaresis testament to a dramatic shift in American tastes. Consumers increasingly are seeking out the flavors of fresh, vine-ripened foods grown on local farms rather than those trucked to supermarkets from faraway lands. “This is not a fringe foodie culture,” says Flaccavento. “These are ordinary, middle-income folks who have become really engaged in food and really care about where their food comes from.”

It’s a movement that is gradually reshaping the business of growing and supplying food to Americans. The local food movement has already accomplished something that almost no one would have thought possible a few years back: a revival of small farms. After declining for more than a century, the number of small farms has increased 20% in the past six years, to 1.2 million, according to the Agriculture Dept.

Some are thriving. Michael Paine, 34, who started farming in 2005 on just one acre in Yamhill, Ore., today has six acres of land and 110 families who buy his lettuce, cabbage, peppers, and eggplants. “I like to surprise my families with odd varieties of tomato or an odd eggplant variety, and they love it,” says Paine.

Patrick Robinette saw a growing interest among Americans in specialty beef, and in 2001 started raising 10 cows at Harris Acres farm in Pinetops, N.C. Soon his grass-fed beef was in high demand. He now raises 600 head of cattle and delivers beef to the North Carolina governor’s mansion. He has standing orders from 37 restaurants, three specialty stores, and six cafeterias.

Large Retailers Act
The impact of “locavores” (as local-food proponents are known) even shows up in that Washington salute every five years to factory farming, the Farm Bill. The latest version passed both houses in Congress in early May and was sent on May 20 to President George W. Bush’s desk for signing. Bush has threatened to veto the bill, but it passed with enough votes to sustain an override. Predictably, the overwhelming bulk of its $290 billion would still go to powerful agribusiness interests in the form of subsidies for growing corn, soybeans, and cotton. But $2.3 billion was set aside this year for specialty crops, such as the eggplants, strawberries, or salad greens that are grown by exactly these small, mostly organic farmers. That’s a big bump-up from the $100 million that was earmarked for such things in the previous legislation.

Small farmers will be able to get up to 75% of their organic certification costs reimbursed, and some of them can obtain crop insurance. There’s money for research into organic foods, and to promote farmers’ markets. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said the bill “invests in the health and nutrition of American childrenby expanding their access to farmer’s markets and organic produce.”

The local food movement has not been lost on the giants of food retailing. Large supermarket chains like Wal-Mart (WMT), Kroger (KR), and even Whole Foods (WFMI) depend on their scale to compete. Their systems of buying, delivering, and stocking are not easily adapted to the challenges of providing local food, which by its nature involves many diverse groups of farmers. People have gotten used to eating tomatoes and strawberries at all times of the year, and many parts of the country are too cold to produce them in the winter. Thus, even Whole Foods, which bills itself as the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, has committed to buying from barely four local farmers at each of its stores.

Wal-Mart, which in the last couple of years ran a “Salute to America’s Farmers” program, says that buying from local farmers not only satisfies customers’ desires, but also fits the company’s commitment to sustainability and cutting down on food transportation. However, the company admits that local farms can never take over the produce aisle completely. “It gets complicated since not every state grows apples and lettuce, and even when they do, it doesn’t grow at all times of the year,” said Bruce Peterson, formerly Wal-Mart’s senior vice-president of perishables, in an interview 17 months ago. He has since left the company.

Broad Agenda
Nonetheless, all the giants are devoting a small but growing share of shelf space to locally bought produce. Some are even inviting the farmers into the store to promote their goods. “Obviously supermarkets don’t want to lose that business,” says Michael Pollan, author of the best seller The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Neither Wal-Mart nor Whole Foods will quantify how much business they get from locally grown food.

The very definition of “local” food presents a ceiling of sorts for successful small farmers. If they start shipping more than 250 miles or so, they cease to be local and their appeal vanishes. The optimal solution is to locate near densely populated areas, but that’s where acreage is scarce. “Land prices are very expensive around metro and urban areas, which is a barrier to entry,” says Pollan. He thinks the solution will be for farmers to look for ways to farm more varieties of food (BusinessWeek.com, 5/21/08).

The local food movement has many of the same hallmarks of the organic foods movement, which sprang up in the 1970s to place a premium on foods grown without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Indeed, almost all of today’s small farmers use organic techniques. But many consumers believe that organic foods, though seemingly healthy, may still damage the environment. For instance, organic fruits that are grown in Chile and Argentina and then shipped halfway around the world require fossil fuels and carbon emissions to power tankers and trucks thousands of miles. Instead of just focusing on pesticides and chemicals, consumers who have been educated by movies like An Inconvenient Truth now pore over “food miles” and “carbon footprints.” The message seems to be: If you buy organic, you care about your own body; if you buy local, you care about your body and the environment.

As more and more consumers take those values to the store with them, the impact is being felt far from the predictable centers of “green” consciousness. In Bloomington, Ind., supermarket chains such as Kroger still dominate, but an upstart called Bloomingfoods Market that specializes in local fare lately has been stealing market share. Today the cooperative has 7,000 shopping members, up from 2,000 five years ago. It works with 180 farmers to offer everything from strawberries and persimmons to squash and shiitake mushrooms. “We’re seeing a real renaissance,” says Ellen Michel, marketing manager for Bloomingfoods.

As the local food movement grows more mainstream, it’s showing up in unexpected places. Corporations such as Best Buy (BB) in Minneapolis, DreamWorks (DWA) in Los Angeles, and Nordstrom (JWN) in Seattle are providing local options in their cafeterias. “We try to purchase as much as we can from farmers in a 150-mile radius,” says Fedele Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appetit Management, which runs more than 400 cafeterias for companies like Oracle (ORCL) and Target (TGT).

Blossoming Interest
As many as 1,200 school districts around the country, from Alabama to Iowa, have linked up with local farms to serve fresh vegetables and fruit to children. Colleges such as Brown, Cornell, the University of Montana, and the University of California at Berkeley are buying from their state’s own producers. Last year, Iowa’s Woodbury County mandated that its food-service supplier buy from local farmers for places where it serves food, such as its prison and detention center.

And in hundreds of towns, people are signing up for CSAs, or community-supported agriculture organizations, where they pay a local farmer for a weekly supply of produce during the harvest season. In 2000, there were around 400 farms that had CSA programs; today there are more than 1,800 nationwide. Families typically pay a farm $150 to $650 each year in return for a weekly basket of vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, or baked goods. In New York City, where 11,000 residents participate with 50 farms, the demand is so high that there’s a wait list. And in some inner cities, like the Bronx, a borough of New York City, organizations are training community gardeners to grow vegetables like collard greens, herbs, and beets for their community, changing food habits in the process.

“We are even teaching people how to prepare seasonal produce,” says Jacquie Berger, executive director of Just Food, a nonprofit that helps fresh-food growers sell to residents in the Bronx.

That may be less of an issue in more pastoral settings such as Abingdon. But residents of the Virginia town look forward to Saturday at the farmers’ market, mingling, passing out petitions, and letting the kids snack on berries while their parents shop for the week’s groceries in a fresh setting. “There’s a groundswell of interest not just for vegetables and fruits, but also eggs, poultry, and meatpeople want it close to home, as fresh as possible, and produced sustainably,” says farmer Flaccavento.

Click here for the original article with investing links at BusinessWeek.com.
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Michael Pollan on the Farm Bill USA 2008 and Deb Eschmeyer Summary of the Same


I haven’t been in touch for a while, and some of you have written asking for an an update on the 2008 Farm Bill. After many, many months of wrangling, the bill was just passed by Congress, overriding a veto by the President. In my view, it is not a very good bill— it preserves more or less intact the whole structure of subsidies responsible for so much that is wrong in the American food system. On the other hand, it does contain some significant new provisions that, with luck, will advance the growing movement toward a more just, sustainable, and healthy food system.

You might rightly ask why there was so little movement on commodity subsidies, in a year when crop prices are at record highs and public scrutiny of the subsidy system has been intense. Indeed, the people on the Hill I talk to tell me they have not seen so much political activism around the farm bill in a generation. All the calls, cards, and emails sent by ordinary eaters clearly made a difference. So why so little change on the key issue? Why didn’t we get a food bill, rather than another farm bill?

Here’s what I think happened. Critics of farm-policy-as usual— and I count myself among them— did a much better job of demonizing subsidies than they did proposing alternative forms of farm support that would have won over some percentage of the farmers now receiving subsidies. The whole discourse depicting subsidies as a form of welfare — payments to celebrities, rich people in cities, mega-farms etc— convinced many farmers that the ultimate goal of the farm bill’s critics was to abolish subsidies, rather than to develop a new set of incentives that would encourage farmers to grow real food and take good care of their land. Had the reformers crafted proposals that were easy to explain and attractive to even just a segment of commodity-crop farmers, we could have made much more progress. Instead, faced with what appeared like a threat to their livelihood, the old guard hunkered down and defended the status quo, refusing even to negotiate on the central issues. Better alternatives could have split this block, and it was our failing not to devise and promote them. What the Old Guard did instead of negotiating a new system of farm support was what it has always done: pick off the opposition, faction by faction, by offering money for pet programs. The history of the farm bill has long been about such trade offs: Urban legislators support subsidies in exchange for rural support for food stamps. That Grand Bargain has now been extended to supporters of organic agriculture, local food systems, school lunch advocates, etc. The reason that, in the end, most of the activist groups wound up urging Congress to override the veto is that, by the end, they all had been given something they liked in the bill. You could put it more baldly, and suggest they’d all been bought off— that the $300-plus billion bill represents the exact price of buying off all the critics of the farm bill, plus the cost of maintaining the status quo. But this is how the game is played, and the fact is, some good will come of these programs, modest as they are— they will sow seeds of change and legitimize alternative food chains, or so we can hope.

The challenge for the next farm bill is clear: it’s not enough to engage the public, important as that is; we also have to get much smarter about both policy and politics, and craft some attractive proposals that will divide the farm block as well as move us to a healthier and more sustainable food system— economically sustainable for farmers and farm workers and environmentally sustainable. This is the project for the next few years. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

Below is a very good article summarizing what in the bill, for better and worse. It’s by Debra Eschmeyer, a farmer and activist who has been an important player in the reform movement. I pass it on with her permission. Best, Michael

Old MacDonald Has a Farm Bill

By Debra Eschmeyer

We’ve all noticed higher grocery bills, but did you know Congress passed a $307 billion farm bill in late May that has a much bigger impact on what you will eat for dinner tonight than what you chose to place in the grocery cart?

The farm bill has a hand in all that happens before the swallow. The bag of Tyson chicken wings (grain subsidies), gallon of Horizon Organic milk (forward contracting), and pound of Fuji apples (country of origin labeling) are all regulated in some fashion by this policy determining how our food is raised and who profits.

But does the massive legislation support family farmers? Increase food access in urban food deserts? Or feed the 40 million poor and hungry in the United States?

Yes and no. Reauthorized and revamped every five years, farm law has its roots in the 1930′s New Deal efforts to handle the overproduction of agricultural commodities while maintaining stable prices. Although most of the money in the current bill, around 75%, goes to nutrition programs such as food stamps, the politics of writing the bill is still driven by commodities such as corn, rice, wheat, cotton, and soybeans.

One way to interpret farm policy is to follow the money. According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Cargill’s profits increased nearly 1000 percent from $280 million in FY1997−98 to $2.34 billion by FY2006−07. Add to that pile of profits the $35 billion in indirect subsidies that the industrial animal factories (owned and controlled by corporations like Cargill) reaped by being able to buy feed crops at 20–25 percent below the cost of production.

Farm-bloc legislators were challenged this time around to make the connection between the current farm policy’s cheap corn complex and the growing problem of diabetes and obesity. Unfortunately, prior policy plunders were not weeded out of the current farm bill. As the House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) explicitly stated that except for some “minor changes,” the new farm bill is “very much like the current law that we have been operating under.”

For those farm bill pugilistssustainable agriculture groups, anti-hunger advocates, faith-based organizations, conservationists, community gardeners, and grassroots family farmer coalitionsthat tried to have their voices heard above the industrial agriculture cacophony, the final 2008 Farm Bill is bittersweet. Bitter due to the numerous multifunctional reforms that never came to fruition while corporate agribusiness deepened their roots and sweet for the minor victories for sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and conservation.

The policies that survived through countless revisions, late night conferences, numerous listening sessions, lobbyist wrangling, and earmarks are far from the wish lists various groups envisioned. However, more than one thousand food and farm organizations came together and requested that Congress override the President’s promised veto. As stated in their joint letter to Congress:

“Communities across the nation, from urban to rural, have waited too long for this legislation. The Conference Report makes significant farm policy reforms, protects the safety net for all of America’s food producers, addresses important infrastructure needs for specialty crops, increases funding to feed our nation’s poor, and enhances support for important conservation initiatives. This is by no means a perfect piece of legislation, and none of our organizations achieved everything we had individually requested. However, it is a carefully balanced compromise of policy priorities that has broad support among organizations representing the nation’s agriculture, conservation, and nutrition interests.”

Passing through the House with a margin of 306 to 110 and the Senate 82 to 13, the votes in both chambers were far past the majority needed to defeat President Bush’s veto. Formally called the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the 673 pages of legislative prowess represent a precarious balancing act of principles and politics.

Below are samples of positive seeds of change planted in the new Farm Bill:

  • Community Food Projects and Geographic Preferences: The new Farm Bill provides $5 million in mandatory annual funding for innovative Community Food Projects for matching grants to community groups building sustainable local food systems addressing hunger, nutrition, and meeting food security goals. There is also new statutory language clearly stating that preference can be given to local purchasing of agriculture products for schools serving meals that receive federal assistance, resolving a conflict in USDA’s interpretation of the 2002 farm bill.

  • Local Food Initiatives: Another provision provides funding for new local and regional food supply networks including $33 million in mandatory funds for the Farmers Market Promotion Program, $56 million for the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and $1.2 billion to expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program that will enable 3 million low income children across the country to have access to healthier food options.

  • GMO Oversight: New mandates to strengthen USDA oversight of GMO crops will help prevent the disaster that occurred when an unauthorized genetically modified rice strain entered the U.S. rice crop and caused massive losses to export markets. The new regulatory framework will reduce the potential for future GMO contamination events at field trial test sites.

  • First Ever Livestock Title: Provides much needed protections for independent ranchers and farmers raising livestock under contract, which includes preventing mandatory arbitration clauses for livestock/poultry contracts; allowing a three-day period to cancel contracts; and requiring contracts to disclose the requirement of large capital investments.

  • Diversity Initiative: The Farm Bill gives significant recognition to the importance of minority and socially disadvantaged farmers. There are specific targets for minority and socially disadvantaged farmer participation in conservation, farm credit, Value Added Producer Grants, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Programs. Minority Outreach and Education (Section 2501) authorized in the 1990 farm bill receives for the first time mandatory funding at $75 million over 4 years. This competitive grant program to community based organizations and educational institutions helps minority and socially disadvantaged farmers access USDA programs through effective outreach programs.

  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program: Provides $75 million over four years in mandatory money for competitive grants to groups providing technical assistance and other services to beginning farmers and ranchers. This program was created in the 2002 Farm Bill but was never funded.

  • Country-of-Origin Labeling and Interstate Meat Shipment: The Farm Bill includes language to implement long-awaited COOL requirements for produce, beef, pork, chicken, lamb and goat that will go into effect in September 2008. COOL was included in the 2002 Farm Bill, but food industry, USDA and meatpackers’ opposition have delayed its implementation. There are also provisions allowing for the interstate shipment of state-inspected beef that meets federal inspection standards. Both of these policies represent victories for consumers and farmers aiming to rebuild local food systems.

  • Organic Agriculture: The bill provides $78 million in mandatory funds for the Organic Research and Extension Initiative, which enhances the ability of organic producers and processors to grow and market organic food, feed, and fiber. For those transitioning to organic production, $22 million in mandatory funding is provided for the next five years.

The above positive provisions represent alternatives to the current food system without replacing the industrial model, which will take even more advocacy for good food policy in the next farm bill and beyond.

On one of my farm bill lobby visits to Washington, DC, I spoke to several Congressional Offices advocating for fair prices on behalf of family farmers. After one of my meetings, a young amiable congressional staffer with a mixed countenance of pity and arrogance, proceeded to tell me, “We aren’t looking to revolutionize the food system, Deb, let alone the farm bill.”

Well, I am looking to revolutionize the food system, and I am not alone. Yes, we have an uphill battle. Biotech giant Monsanto Co. spent nearly $1.3 million in just the first quarter of 2008 to lobby on farm bill provisions to protect their investments, but there are thousands of grassroots organizations working for public policy that will protect and strengthen the future of our food supply, environment, public health, and communities.

I’m on the frontline of this food revolution as a beginning organic farmer and food justice advocate. Will this farm bill help me with the infrastructure I need to process my chickens? Or provide me with the confidence that my sustainably raised food will be price competitive so that all people with empty and deep pockets alike have access to good, fair, and affordable food?

I’ll let you know in five years, but in the meantime, I’ll keep planting those seeds of change and hope you’ll join me in cultivating more palatable food policy.

For more information on farm bills: http://nationalaglawcenter.org/farmbills.

Debra Eschmeyer is the Marketing & Media Manager of the National Farm to School Network and the Center for Food & Justice. She works from a fifth-generation family farm in Ohio, where she continues her passion for organic farming raising heirloom fruits, vegetables, and chickens.

Prior to joining CFJ, Debra was the Project Director at the National Family Farm Coalition in Washington, DC where she focused on U.S. agricultural policy and food sovereignty initiatives among grassroots domestic and international rural advocacy and other social justice networks. She was also the Asia Program Coordinator for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund at Conservation International and the Humanitarian Grants Asia Coordinator for Rotary International.
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Where Industry Once Hummed, Urban Garden Finds Success

Charles Fox/Philadelphia Inquirer

Kacie King checked honey production at the North Philadelphia farm, Greensgrow, which provides fresh food where it is rare
Published: May 20, 2008

PHILADELPHIA Amid the tightly packed row houses of North Philadelphia, a pioneering urban farm is providing fresh local food for a community that often lacks it, and making money in the process.

Greensgrow, a one-acre plot of raised beds and greenhouses on the site of a former steel-galvanizing factory, is turning a profit by selling its own vegetables and herbs as well as a range of produce from local growers, and by running a nursery selling plants and seedlings.

The farm earned about $10,000 on revenue of $450,000 in 2007, and hopes to make a profit of 5 percent on $650,000 in revenue in this, its 10th year, so it can open another operation elsewhere in Philadelphia.

In season, it sells its own hydroponically grown vegetables, as well as peaches from New Jersey, tomatoes from Lancaster County, and breads, meats and cheeses from small local growers within a couple of hours of Philadelphia.

The farm, in the low-income Kensington section, about three miles from the skyscrapers of downtown Philadelphia, also makes its own honey marketed as “Honey From the Hood” from a colony of bees that produce about 80 pounds a year. And it makes biodiesel for its vehicles from the waste oil produced by the restaurants that buy its vegetables.

Among urban farms, Greensgrow distinguishes itself by being a bridge between rural producers and urban consumers, and by having revitalized a derelict industrial site, said Ian Marvy, executive director of Added Value, an urban farm in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.

It has also become a model for others by showing that it is possible to become self-supporting in a universe where many rely on outside financial support, Mr. Marvy said.

Mary Seton Corboy, 50, a former chef with a master’s degree in political science, co-founded Greensgrow in 1998 with the idea of growing lettuce for the restaurants in downtown Philadelphia.

Looking for cheap land close to their customers, Ms. Corboy and her business partner at the time, Tom Sereduk, found the site and persuaded the local Community Development Corporation to buy it and then rent it to them for $150 a month, a sum they still pay.

They made an initial investment of $25,000 and have spent about $100,000 over the years on items that included the plastic-covered greenhouses and the soil that had to be trucked in to cover the steel-and-concrete foundation of the old factory site.

“The mission was: How do you take postindustrial land and turn it into some kind of green business?” said Ms. Corboy, an elfin woman with the ruddy cheeks of someone who works long hours out of doors.

She approached her early lettuce-growing operation with conventional business goals and little thought for what an urban farm could achieve.

“I thought you didn’t have to have a relationship with the community,” she said. “You would just be a business person.”

Customers said the farm was a breath of fresh air in a gritty neighborhood.

“It’s a little piece of heaven,” said Janet McGinnis, 47, who lives on nearby Girard Avenue. “We live in the city, and it makes me feel good to wake up and see flowers.”

Ms. McGinnis said she could buy herbs, bread and produce elsewhere but did so at Greensgrow because it is part of the community. “We’ve got to keep it in the community,” she said. “We have to give back.”

Despite the community goodwill, the farm lives with urban problems like theft and violence. “I have gone through every tool in the box eight or nine times,” Ms. Corboy said.

Although no one at Greensgrow is getting rich from the operation after 10 years’ work, Ms. Corboy is making an annual salary of $65,000 there is a sense that their time has come.

“Ten years ago when I said we were going green, people thought we were out of our minds,” Ms. Corboy said. “Now we are top of the party list.”
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Learn About Growth of Farmers Markets

Check out the USDA AMS website for information on farmers markets growth (www.ams.usda.gov --click on wholesale and farmers markets on the left).
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Green Gulch Farm Zen Center: renowned for its pioneering role in California’s food revolution

Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, also known as Green Dragon Temple (Soryu-ji), is a Buddhist practice center in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition offering training in Zen meditation and ordinary work. It is one of three centers that make up San Francisco Zen Center, which was founded by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi.

Our effort at Green Gulch is to awaken in ourselves and the many people who come here the bodhisattva spirit, the spirit of kindness and realistic helpfulness. This is how we offer our understanding of Buddha’s Way.

Green Gulch Farm is located in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, in a valley that opens out onto the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the temple program of zen and study,it includes an organic farm and garden, as well as a guest house and conference center.

continued at their website
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Letter In Hopes of Tracie McMillan Reports on U.S. Urban Agriculture 2008–2010

Hey Tracie,

Thank you for your glorious article, your long awaited breakthrough piece(on the NYT!), regarding urban farming!

Please remember that an apprentice urban farmer from Milwaukee went on record with the concept that the McMillan Reports on U.S. Urban Agriculture, begun with seminal NYT piece May, 2008, were what awakened the USA presidential policy teams to the promise of urban farming!

The McMillan Reports finally awakened the Obama policy teams!

To date, the Obama urban policy team has said nada about the idiocy of industrial agriculture and the promise of old city victory gardens!


My daughter Rachel is the convener of that group.

Rachel Godsil
Seeton Hall Law Professor

She was thrilled to forward your article to the members of that team, especially her ally in this cause, Angela Glover Blackwell.

Angela Glover Blackwell


Angela Glover Blackwell is founder and chief executive officer of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity. By Lifting Up What Worksusing research to understand and demonstrate the possibilities for positive changePolicyLink presents new and innovative solutions to old problems.

Rachel was also able to advance the vision of an urban farming/edible schoolyard/food policy council piece on the presidential platforms, with the help of this report from 4 prominent London “Agrarians” who wrote a report you will find very helpful.

London Farmers Come to Town


Edible Cities and Milwaukee’s First International Urban Agriculture Conference Sparks International Network of Urban Agrarians


Growing Power Fish Farming and Bio-Diversity Link

I am a Board Member of Will Allen’s Growing Power. Howard Hinterthuer, Growng Power’s Development Director, has been developing visions of connecting Growing Power fish farming with bonobo survival and bio-diversity projects in Africa, especially the Congo.

Please help connect us with people naturally inclined to partner in the marriage of urban fish farming and protein availability in Africa, where, when fish are scarce, charismatic animals like bonobos, elephants, lions, and the like, are more aggressively hunted. More fish farmed in Africa, more bio-diversity for the planet!


Top: A few of the 10,000 yellow perch raised at the WATER Institute and released at Growing Power.

Bottom: Two levels of plants and gravel sit atop a fish-filled trench in Growing Power’s fish-farming system. Fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish.

WATER Institute researchers arrived earlier this month at Growing Power, an urban farm on Milwaukee’s north side, with a special delivery: 10,000 young yellow perch.

Born and raised at the WATER Institute’s Great Lakes Aquaculture Center, the three-month old fish will help test the waters, so to speak, of a new indoor fish-farming system that aims to prove itself functional as well as environmentally friendly and affordable.
Developed by Growing Power, the system features an 8,000-gallon trench built into the floor of a greenhouse and topped with two levels of edible plants, including watercress and dandelion greens. Pumps circulate water from the trench to the system’s upper levels, where gravel filters out solids from fish waste and the plants

Images grown in Milwaukee’s urban agriculture movement…

Sweet Red Cherry Tomatoes From Your Harambe Garden

Have you ever wished to venture forth beyond
Your primal ancestral circles
And see what’s up in the village
Across the river from your own?

Have you ever longed for sweet red cherry tomatoes
So fresh and juicy the old world
Protestant or Catholic in you worries that
Eating them might be some kind of carnal sin?

Have you ever felt the joy of sacred fatigue
At the end of a workout in rich soil
Hands in the dirt, good sweat, and
Joyous work laughter moments with friends?

Have you ever imagined that

Your nation gave rise to a movement
With other nations you are learning to love,

With an eye, strong body, and heart
Fixed on the prize of
Ten thousand backyard city farms.

With 4 chickens (no rooster) each
(Roosters visit from the early rising towns)

Eyes on the prize of

Ten Thousand community farms and gardens,
In old industrial city neighborhoods,

Transforming themselves into

Planetary villages of grace, beauty, and health?

And the nation chose a leader
Who could understand all this!

Too Much Snow and Rain to Roof 2008

Would you be up for a phone call with myself or Rachel?

Viva, urban agrarians!

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
Victory Garden Manifesto

Scroll down a few stories to this vision from the roots of Milwaukee!


Vanity Section

Godsil at 40th Anniversary of Milwaukee Open Housing Marches, Groppi Unity Bridge, Sept. 30, 2007


Godsil with Jimmy & Roselyn After Habitat Roof
Milwaukee 1980s

photo by Keith Knox

photo by Keith Knox

The Earth Poets on the wild side of Riverside Park in early April 2008: (l-r) Jeff Poniewaz, Louisa Loveridge-Gallas, Harvey Taylor, Suzanne Rosenblatt and 2008 guest poet James Godsil.
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What Is a “Food Policy Council?”

This are some of Jill Richardson’s notes on a food policy council training program led by Mark Winne and Keecha Harris. Complete notes at…


A food policy council is a group - which may or may not be officially part of a local or state government - that looks at ALL of the food issues in the area and recommends policy to improve the health of the food system.

What Sorts of Things Do They Do?
Step One for any council worth its salt is a food assessment, to determine what exactly is going on in their city, county, or state (whatever area the council represents). But after that, they advocate changing the rules to make fixing the food system possible.

They might:

  • Help bring grocery stores or food cooperatives into areas that have none
  • Work on farm to school programs to bring farm fresh food from local farmers into school cafeterias
  • Get laws passed to allow residents to keep chickens for food
  • Work to get farmers’ markets to accept food stamps as payment
  • Change government purchasing rules so they give preference to local farmers over out of state food suppliers
  • Work to preserve farmland from development into subdivisions
  • Link up land owners with wannabe-farmers who can farm their land
  • Reconnect with sustainable practices of Native Americans (in areas where many Native Americans live)
  • Survey food prices in different stores so people can compare prices without driving around
  • Remove junk food from schools
  • Prevent the city from selling ads for junk on the side of city busses
  • Improve access to school breakfast
  • Expand the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), a program that gives WIC participants vouchers to buy fruits & veggies from farmers’ markets

Mark defines their purpose as:

  • Develop, coordinate, and implement a food system policy.
  • Connect economic development, food security efforts, preservation and enhancement of agriculture, and environmental concerns.
  • Ensure universal access to healthy and affordable food for all citizens.
  • Support development and expansion of locally produced food.
  • Review proposed legislation affecting the food system.
  • Make recommendations to the government leadership.
  • Employ research and information gathering, policy analysis, and public education methods.
  • Serve as a public forum for a discussion of key food system issues…

How Do You Form a Food Policy Council?
There are three basic methods for forming a food policy council, and examples of each of the three are in place around the country. (Currently there are about 100 food policy councils in the U.S.) The three methods are:

1. Have your legislature pass a resolution or bill calling for a food policy council.
2. Have your governor make an executive order forming a food policy council.
3. Create a food policy council privately/independently.

Examples of councils started by city ordinance are those in Hartford, CT and Knoxville, TN. The Hartford council gets limited funding and support from the city and staff support from the Hartford Food System.

Those begun by executive order are the councils in Iowa, Michigan, and New York. The vulnerability of this method is underscored by the fact that the New York council was formed by Eliot Spitzer… and he ain’t in charge no more. Michigan gives us a more successful example, as Gov. Jennifer Granholm won re-election and stayed current with food policy council appointments. Unfortunately, Iowa can’t say the same - Vilsack forgot to re-appoint council members before leaving office and his successor isn’t doing much either.

The last type of council - independently formed councils - is exemplified by New Mexico’s food policy council. It was organized by a group called Farm to Table. The New Mexico legislature passed a resolution in 2003 calling for state agencies to participate in the council, but state government participation can be irregular.

One last type of food policy council to note - regardless of how it was formed - are dual-jurisdictional food policy councils. These tend to be city-county councils, like those in Portland, OR and Multnomah County and Santa Fe city and county.
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Save Remaining KK River Greenspace by Founder of Milwaukee Earth Poets Jeff Poniewaz

Zoning, Neighborhood and Development Committee aldermen to help try to save the Kinnickinnic River greenspace that they’ll pass judgment on after the ZND Committee’s public hearing to be held

*Tuesday May 13 at 9:00 A.M. in City Hall room 301-B.

If a majority of the ZND Committee’s five aldermen vote Tuesday in favor of building on that KK River greenspace, the issue will go before the entire Common Council, which would then likely approve this unwise development proposal. Jeff

Emails for Aldermen on the Zoning, Neighborhood and Development Committee:

JAMES WITKOWIAK, CHAIR [email protected]

WILLIE WADE, VICE CHAIR [email protected]

MICHAEL MURPHY [email protected]

ROBERT BAUMAN [email protected]

ANTHONY ZIELINSKI [email protected]

Phone #s for aldermen: 286–2221

Save Remaining KK River Greenspace

A plea to preserve every bit of the very little greenspace that still remains along the Kinnickinnic River, presented to Milwaukee’s Zoning, Neighborhood and Development Committee on May 9, 2008

by Jeff Poniewaz, who grew up where S. 4th St. dead-ends at the KK River

Last summer the Common Council wisely granted a moratorium on development along the Milwaukee River north of North Ave., recognizing the environmental quality value of that narrow yet magical fringe of greenspace through which our city’s namesake river runs. Very little greenspace remains along the Kinnickinnic River, but it too deserves to be preserved. If there were a Department of City Environment equal to the Department of City Development, citizens wouldn’t have to go to hearings to explain these things.

Milwaukee’s name means “Meeting Place of the Waters” because it is situated where three rivers converge. For too many years, like other major river cities, Milwaukee horribly abused its rivers, using them as overflow receptacles for its sewers and industrial wastes. Now, like other major river cities, it is beginning to realize the blindness of its past ways--is beginning to SEE its rivers for the blessings they truly are. It is working to clean them up to improve water quality and quality of life. Citizen groups have led this change of heart and regard for our rivers. The City government should not do anything to undermine this renaissance of river appreciation.

The building being proposed to eclipse a portion of the very little greenspace along the KK River between 6th St. and Chase Ave. is a noble enterprise of civic compassion. Unfortunately it is being proposed for the wrong location. What if building anything on any part of that greenspace were off-limits? That wouldn’t mean that that building couldn’t be built. It only means that it would have to be built on an appropriate location somewhere else. Well, that’s exactly what should be done.

For the first 15 years of my life I lived along the Kinnickinnic River and got my first inklings of Nature on the stretch of river land between 6th St. and Chase Ave. that is now being eyed for development. Since 1989 I have taught “Literature of Ecological Vision” via UWM. I was in the vanguard of activists who secured preservation of the wild riverward side of Riverside Park on the east bank of the Milwaukee River south of Locust Street and I was on the first board of directors of Riverside Nature Center, now known as the Urban Ecology Center.

But for my first fifteen years I lived on one of those extremely rare blocks “where the sidewalk ends”like in that children’s poem by Shel Silverstein:
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And there the sun shines bright
And there the grass grows soft
And the bird rests from its flight
Let us leave where the smoke blows black
And the streets stretch in endless rows
For the children they mark, and the children they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

I speak to you as the adult that Kinnickinnic River child became on behalf of the city children of today, who have a right to discover Nature along that stretch of the Kinnickinnic River as I did. It was there I discovered dragonflies, grasshoppers and grass-snakes, which I later discovered were called “Butler’s garter snake,” designated a threatened species in 1997. We kids called it “the crick” back then and its banks and bluffs were a magic place despite the fact the creek sometimes reeked of gasoline and sewage, and the natural scent of the field atop the bluffs was sometimes tainted by the adjacent train yard.

Psychological studies have shown and psychotherapists have counseled that urban greenspace is conducive to mental health. For instance, Googling “mental health and urban greenspace” I found the website of the University of Manchester titled “Psychological and mental health from nature and urban greenspace.” A couple sentences from that website: “Access to good quality greenspace provides an effective population-wide strategy for the promotion of good health, well-being and quality of life. Exposure to natural scenes reduces stress. For many the greatest value of urban woodlands and natural vegetation is as an escape or refuge away from urban life and human activity. Clear evidence exists that there are positive benefits for mental health and well-being to be gained from both active and passive involvement with natural areas in towns and cities.”

Therefore the irony couldn’t be greater: that supposedly sane people would consider eclipsing any bit of the very little greenspace that remains along the KK River with a mental health building. Surely the elected officials of the City of Milwaukee are too sane a group of people to allow something so crazy to happen. The greenspace can continue to exist along the KK River, and the mental health building can be built on some other location that is not more valuable to preserve as greenspace. The KK River should be kept natural between 6th St. and Chase Ave. to beneficially influence the mental health of ALL the citizens of Milwaukee and not be built upon for the benefit of a relatively few recovering mental patients.

I have total sympathy for the need to find a suitable location for a building whose noble purpose is to help the mentally ill re-integrate into the general population. But that project could and should be located on some more appropriate location, while at the same time good mental health conditions for the general population should be promoted by preserving our little remaining riverbank greenspace. It’s not an either/or situation.

After many decades of river abuse, we owe it to our rivers to restore them to healthy condition. The health of a river city is profoundly connected to the health of its rivers. The very little that’s left of the Kinnickinnic River greenway deserves the same protections the Common Council recently accorded the Milwaukee River greenway. The same principle applies to both rivers. Please don’t thwart the Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers’ efforts to revitalize the health of our rivers and their greenways.

The banks of the KK River west of 6th St were paved to minimize flooding of basements of buildings that were built foolishly too close to the river. Paving those riverbanks created a dangerous situation for neighborhood children during big rain events with their resulting flashfloods. The Deep Tunnel Project is Milwaukee’s monument to its longtime obliviousness to the wonderful fact of three rivers converging on Lake Michigan, nourishing a city that can either be environmentally sensitive or environmentally obtuse. Our rivers are freeways of life-giving water lined by a fringe of consoling green. Our rivers are freeways that are no less important than the freeways that carry our pollution-mobiles to their myriad destinations.

I urge you to read “The Geography of Childhood—Why Children Need Wild Places” by Gary Paul Nabhan and “The Last Child in the Woods—Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv. They show how important it is that city children be able to discover and bond with Nature. Our natural resources are not only physical resources; they are also spiritual and psychotherapeutic resources for the entire city, especially its children.

Respectfully, Jeff Poniewaz
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The Milwaukee River: Paradise in Our Own Back Yard

By Lisa Kaiser and Aisha Motlani

Theres no need to haul canoes, hiking shoes or mountain bikes Up North. Milwaukeeans have paradise in our own back yard. The Milwaukee River valleyhome to factories and condos, as well as endangered but vibrant plants, animals and birdshas the potential to become the citys Central Park. Much like New York Citys famed landmark, the Milwaukee River corridor is a natural oasis in the midst of a highly urban community. While standing on the rivers shores, its easy to forget the pressure and traffic of modern Milwaukee.

A 797-acre ribbon of green and blue running from North Avenue to Silver Spring Drive is in the process of being preserved by a group of concerned citizens who are seeking formal protection from the city of Milwaukee, Glendale and Shorewood.

Dubbed the Milwaukee River Work Group (MRWG), its a loose but committed coalition of neighborhood leaders and residents, affected businesses, as well as dog walkers, mountain bikers, birders and anyone else who wants to protect the river from potentially damaging development.
Read the rest at the Shepherd Express.
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Church has plot to tackle food prices

Waukesha parish would like to turn lawn into gardens

[email protected]
Posted: May 4, 2008

Waukesha - Southminster Presbyterian Church of Waukesha, trying to blunt rising grocery prices, is hoping to convert a spacious and picturesque area - its own front lawn - into garden plots for members and neighbors.

“With the cost of food going up, it certainly is a good time to do this,” said the Rev. Tom Launius, pastor of Southminster, which was founded in 1965 and has 460 members. “I think we’re going to see more and more of this.”

Food and beverage prices in March were up 4% from the same time last year, according to the latest Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Urban garden plots are not a new concept. Many cities and counties offer sites on various public properties. The environmental movement and a brief economic downturn of the early 1970s brought vegetable plots to prominence, and they can be traced back to the Victory Gardens of World War II.

But it’s rare that a church will offer its front lawn for gardening. Launius said recent increases in grain and fuel costs have sparked a new interest in planting, watering, weeding and reaping among the congregation.

Pesticide use will not be permitted in the church gardens, and a watering system will be established that directs storm water from hard surfaces, such as rooftops, into the gardens, Launius said.

Two Milwaukee churches - Trinity Presbyterian and West Granville Presbyterian - have garden plots available to the public, but neither is located directly on church grounds, as the Southminster plan proposes.

The Rev. Dee Anderson of West Granville said his church has operated an off-site growing area for about a year with the help of Growing Power, a local firm that specializes in organic urban farming.

Anderson called the partnership a success, and the church expects to offer organic vegetable baskets this year.

Southminster member and Sunday School teacher Walter Sadler said the planned 28 plots there will provide gardeners with a choice of how much they pay for some foods and where they get it.

“You don’t have to eat food from California or Chile,” Sadler said. “You’re in control of what you’re eating and the price.”

The Southminster plan took hold in an adult Sunday school class that had read about gardening organic food, Sadler said.

But before a shovel is put in the ground, city officials who were caught a bit off-guard by Southminster’s plan must give their blessings to the concept.

Gardening usually is done in the backyard, where it’s out of sight. Southminster’s garden would be in full view at the front of the church, creating zoning and setback issues that might be easily resolved, said David Kopp, a city planner.

To grow vegetable gardens instead of grass, Southminster must get a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals on Monday and a conditional use permit from the Plan Commission on May 14.

Some neighbors might speak in opposition, saying the gardens will be unsightly and decrease property values, Kopp said. The permits will be only temporary, he said.

Church officials intend to build a decorative fence around the garden and also put in landscaping, Kopp said.

“If the church decides in a year or two that the garden isn’t working out, it can go back to lawn,” Kopp said. “Nobody’s done this in Waukesha as far as I know.”
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Bucketworks Victory Gardens and Edible Playgrounds

From: James Godsil [email protected]
Date: May 2, 2008 9:04 AM
Subject: Bucketworks Victory Gardens and Edible Playgrounds
To: James Carlson [email protected]

Dear James,

We will bring…



*carpentry and masonry tools

*artisan mentors, e.g. Erik Lindberg,
Josh Fraundorf, Norman Dunkelberger,
for starters

Or you and yours bring…



*carpentry and masonry tools

*artist/artisan mentors...

To design and build…

Raised bed garden structures…

As art…

As craft…

As structures for life giving food gardens…

At Bucketworks…

Coming soon…
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Great Lakes Water Institute & 10,000 Yellow Perch to Growing Power

Top: A few of the 10,000 yellow perch raised at the WATER Institute and released at Growing Power.

Bottom: Two levels of plants and gravel sit atop a fish-filled trench in Growing Power’s fish-farming system. Fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish.

WATER Institute researchers arrived earlier this month at Growing Power, an urban farm on Milwaukee’s north side, with a special delivery: 10,000 young yellow perch.

Born and raised at the WATER Institute’s Great Lakes Aquaculture Center, the three-month old fish will help test the waters, so to speak, of a new indoor fish-farming system that aims to prove itself functional as well as environmentally friendly and affordable.

Developed by Growing Power, the system features an 8,000-gallon trench built into the floor of a greenhouse and topped with two levels of edible plants, including watercress and dandelion greens. Pumps circulate water from the trench to the system’s upper levels, where gravel filters out solids from fish waste and the plants absorb nutrients, using them to grow. The cleansed water then returns to the fish and the cycle begins again.

“It’s a system that closely replicates nature,” says Will Allen, Growing Power’s CEO and founder. “In this instance there is a symbiotic relationship between the fish and the plants,” he says, with waste from the fish providing nutrients for the plants, and the plants cleaning the water for the fish.

The materials to build the system cost around $1,500about one tenth the amount of conventional commercial systems that use chemical processes to clean their water, says Richard Mueller, Growing Power’s aquaponics manager.

A future for fish farming

The 10,000-fish trial is a follow-up to a successful smaller trial that last year produced 800 plate-size perch. Allen hopes Growing Power’s approach to raising fish can one day be applied on a more widespread scale in rural Wisconsin, where fish farmingalso known as aquaculturecould fill gaps left by a declining dairy farming industry and make use of vacant barn space.

WATER Institute scientist Fred Binkowski sees great potential for such systems in more populated areas as well. “There’s a trend going on now where people are growing their own food, better food, and safer food,” he says. “What we want to do is show that you can grow fish in an urban area, and put the food at the center of consumer demand.” Urban fish farming can also cut shipping costs, fill vacant buildings, and create jobs in economically deprived communities.

There is also a more global reason to develop the area’s rural and urban fish-farming industry. As the world’s population grows, worldwide demand for seafood will exceed the sustainable supply from the wildmeaning fish farming will have to meet the remaining demand.

What’s more, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States imports more than 40 percent of its seafoodmaking the U.S. trade deficit for seafood the second largest in dollars, after petroleum, of any natural product. About $1 billion of this imported seafood is farm raised; meanwhile, the United States ranks only tenth in the world in farm-raised food fish production.

That leaves room for growth of the industry at home, a point well understood by WATER Institute researchers and Growing Power staff, as well as Leon Todd and Jon Bales, Milwaukee business partners who hope to launch an urban aquaculture center that will utilize the Growing Power model. Through collaborative efforts, the three groups hope to build a strong foundation for fish farming in the Milwaukee area and help establish the city as a national leader in the industry.

In the meantime, Binkowski and his staff will keep a close eye on the perch at Growing Power. Over the next year, they will perform weekly water quality tests and regularly monitor the survival and growth of the fish.

And if the system works successfully? “A year from now,” says Binkowski, “these fish will probably be part of a Friday night fish fry.”

Jennifer Yauck
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MBA’s Discover “Agriburbia”

The Agriburbia Concept


Agriburbia is an innovative and growing design movement that integrates aspects of agrarianism with land development. Agriburbia includes characteristics of New Urbanism, modernism and historic preservation, and other environmentally sustainable principles of real estate development.

Agriburbia combines the positive social, cultural, physical and financial characteristics from both the urban and rural lifestyles to create an entirely new landuse concept. Agriburbia integrates food production as an integral element in the community design, social network, and financial viability of the neighborhood.

Agriburbia promotes and supports the following policies and principles in each mixed-use community:

  • Agricultural Production: No loss of agricultural value or revenue (“Green Fields” development), or production of 30% of dietary requirements of the project or equivalent cash from sales crops, or combination thereof.

  • Locally Grown Food: Production of a significant portion (30 to 50%) of dietary requirements grown within or in the immediate surrounding area of the community

  • Conserves and Promotes Natural Resources: Appropriate and efficient use of natural resources to provide housing, transportation, recreation and fresh food through creative, harmonious land planning and landscape architecture for the community. This includes use of alternative energy sources as well as land and water.

  • Self Sufficiency: Provide a commercially viable opportunity for enhanced self- sufficiency for community residents, tenants, and guests.

  • Sustainable Energy Practices: Integrate solar and geothermal technology to provide sustainable energy sources for the community.

  • Financing: Incorporate established entities (Metropolitan Districts, HOAs) to finance both traditional infrastructure (streets, water, sewer) and environmentally friendly agricultural infrastructure (drip irrigation)

Example Agriburbia Design Project

An example of the Agriburbia land planning design is this 640-acre parcel in Southern Weld County, Colorado. It includes for 980 homes, including multi-family town homes to two (2) acre permaculture home sites.

Each Agriburbia mixed-use campus is centered on an agrarian concept where traditional suburban landscaping and open space is replaced with orchards, vineyards, and other perennial crops for the benefit of the neighborhood and surrounding communities. A limited amount of active recreation area is provided. The balance of the open space is designed as productive organic agricultural landscape. These lands will be owned and actively managed by the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) or Metropolitan Districts. Private farm contracts will be awarded for these prime, organic agricultural parcels. It is anticipated that Agriburbia will provide agricultural opportunities within and outside the community.

In addition to this shared resource, each mixed-use campus is designed to have a significant number of home sites capable of useful agricultural production. Infrastructure such as non-potable water will be provided for these privates home sites. The home owner will have the option to participate in the community agriculture production. The positive and productive results of and Agriburbia mixed-use campus will be the combination of public and private production of agricultural products for the community and neighboring communities.


Please 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.

“Bill Moyers” <[email protected]>

and cc [email protected], por favor
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Entrepreneurs See Opportunity Down on the Yard Farm

Posted by Kelly Spors
April 22, 2008, 10:31 am

Think “farm,” and vast green pastures and red barns come to mind. Now erase that image, and think barbecues and garden hoses.
In the Journal today, I write about a new crop of suburban farmers plowing up their back and front yards to grow minifarms of bok choy, garlic and other veggies and fruits. These entrepreneurially-minded folks are meeting the demand for locally-grown organic food from neighbors and restauranteurs. And some are even finding neighbors glad to lend their yards to the cause in exchange for fresh produce.

Kipp Nash of Boulder, Colo., grossed $6,000 from his yard farms last year. He’s expanding his venture and planting farms in eight neighbors’ yards and expects to churn $15,000. Next year? He hopes to find even more neighbors’ yards to farm.
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Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture & Food Security’s Asian, African, S. American Partner Cities and Annotated Bibliography

RUAF Partner Cities

To view the city name and country, hover your mouse over the city on map. Click to read more about this city and get an update on current activities.



  • West and Central Africa
  • West Africa (Anglophone)
  • Southern and East Africa
  • South and South East Asia
  • China
  • Latin America and the Caribean

Annotated Bibliography on Urban Agriculture

In conjunction with Sida, ETC Netherlands, TUAN and other organisations, “An Annotated Bibliography on Urban Agriculture” has been produced. It contains 16 themes with State of the Art introductions. This Annotated Bibliography on Urban Agriculture contains a comprehensive literature overview in 17 chapters, each with a “state of the art” overview followed by literature references with abstracts.

To download the full document as a PDF (4.3MB) please click http://www.ruaf.org/files/annotated_bibliography.pdfhere.

To view the online version of the publication, please visit the several book pages created. These pages contain the different articles of the Annotated Bilbliography.

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Why Are Presidential Candidates Silent re Industrial Food System’s Devolutionary Implications?

Perhaps 100 e-mails to Bill Moyers around this theme might make a difference.
Moyers probably understands what the local organic food movements is all about.

[email protected])

Dear All,

Does anyone have any thoughts that would help explain to a simple roofer
And apprentice city micro-farmer and edible schoolyard activist…

The silence of our presidential candidates regarding the
Idiocy of industrial commercial agriculture
And its de-volutionary implications?

There have been New York Times article about every week
These past few years that support to dire warnings of
Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver,
And Grace Lee Boggs’ visions of community garden’s central role
In “re-spiriting” our cities and building beloved communities…

But, to my knowledge, not one of the democratic or republican candidates
Has given any attention to the promise of local, organic agriculture,
Urban farming, and edible schoolyards.

Why not?

Why don’t we entertain a vision of 100 “urban agrarians”
Sending a request to Bill Moyers to use his wonderful show
And national standing to

Win attention to what we are about in the
Real food movements?

If you would like to be on record as having been one of the 100
Who might do this, send an e-mail to
[email protected]

Viva, urban agrarians!

Cold spring day in Milwaukee, 2008
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Youth & Elder Summer Hostels in the Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas

Dear All,

Might any of you know sweet ones of the Holy City
Who would make a room at their home available
To a worthy and pleasing elder or youth
Who would barter gardening, fix-up,
Child care, cooking, boy/girl friday, or movement labor
For room and board?

Six Months of Glorious Weather Awaiting Us!
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The Agora and Green Weekly Web Platforms at the Renaissance Are Your On Line Bulletin Boards & Kiosks

Dear All,

If you would like to offer information, visions, research, articles, poems, whatever, to the Agora, Green Weekly, and Growing Power web platforms of the Renaissance please send your offering to “Tyler Schuster” <[email protected]> and cc myself at “James Godsil” <[email protected]>.

There are 200 unique visitors to the Renaissance each day these days, the largest number of whom stop at the Agora, Growing Power, and/or Green Weekly sites.

They are for you to advance your/the cause(s).

And your friends too!

Invite them to take advance of the incredibly democratizing power of wiki, e-mail, and google.

Viva Wiki!
Viva E-Mail!
Viva Google!

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“Bushmeat Hunting” Reduced When Fish Supply Plentiful

Dear Gay,

On Channel 10 last night was a young man studying depletion of wild life in Africa, especially methinks Ghana.

He found direct correlation b/t poaching and supply of fish. When fish hard to come by, the people will hunt for their protein.

Will Allen is on the verge of another major contribution to food security. His aquaponic system is perfect for Congo and everywhere!

Bio-diversity and urban farming mighty collaborations!

Today’s call for focus on urban agriculture.

Next one the linking of bio-diversity with urban agrarian activists!

Internationalizing the Community Garden/Urban Agriculture Movement

Dear All,

If you would be interested in brainstorming the development of an international yahoo group to advance the cause of organic, urban, and schoolyard farms and gardens, please send an e-mail to [email protected]

The organizers of a “national” conference on urban agriculture in Milwaukee this winter were astonished to find that the power and reach of the internet transformed “Pollinating Our Future” into an international conference!


Board members and supporters of Will Allen’s Growing Power have been witness to Will’s urban farming methods being replicated and experimented with in Europe, Africa, and pretty soon Asia and Latin America. Will addressed the Royal Society in London last year; the BBC carried his interviews across the planet; the state department sent news of Will’s work to all U.S. embassies, and then helped finance a visit by four top urban agrarians to the USA who published “Edible Cities,” currently making its way to every Anglophone country wherever.


Will is already working to replicate Growing Power’s recently acclaimed fish farming model in Ghana, Tanzania, and beyond.


London Urban Agrarians Ready to Help Develop International Yahoo Group

One member of the team that wrote “Edible Cities,” Ben Reynolds, has explicitly committed to work to draw upon London’s wide net of urban agrarians connections in the Commonwealth and European community to partner with U.S. urban agriculture supporters to develop an international yahoo group to advance the cause.

Ben Reynolds (Network Director)

Ben Reynolds worked on Sustain’s London Food Link project for several years, helping to coordinate a programme of work to develop a sustainable, local food system for London. In 2008, he was appointed as Sustain’s Network Director. Before joining Sustain, Ben worked for the Thames Estuary Partnership as a Research Assistant, primarily creating an online library containing all research relevant to the Thames Estuary including anything ranging from Agriculture through to Archaeology. Prior to this Ben was volunteering at Sustain on the Organic Targets Bill and other agricultural issues whilst studying for an MSc in the Public Understanding of Environmental Change at UCL.

North American Founding Members

And the USA has a group ready to spend some time brainstorming the development of an international yahoo group advancing the cause of organic, urban, and schoolyard farms and gardens.

“Diana Liu” <[email protected]>
Master Gardener Trainee
Common Ground Garden Program
University of California Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County

“Venice Williams” <[email protected]>
Executive Director
SeedFolks Youth Ministry, Milwaukee

“Greta Gladney” <[email protected]>

Tyler Omand <[email protected]>

“Helen Loughrey MSW”<[email protected]>
Executive Consultant
Annapolis Community Food Gardens

“Howard Hinterthuer” <[email protected]>
Development Director, Growing Power

“Martha Davis Kipcak”<[email protected]>
Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast

“Young Kim”<[email protected]>
Executive Director
Fondy Farmers Market

“Grau, Janet” <[email protected]>
Neighborhood Planner, Milwaukee Department of City Development

Story Swapping Without Borders and Political Power

Would not the cause in each of our nations accelerate with support from beyond our respective national borders!

What say?

Why not!


P.S. Extending Invitations to the Wider World

My daughter Bridie was able to upload about 50 web sites per hour in google search of “urban agriculture Minneapolis,” “urban agriculture “St. Louis,” etc. We could do the same for other cities of the world. Once web sites discovered, e-mail invitations to staff, board, etc. could begin!



Dubuque, Iowa

Quad Cities(Iowa)

St. Louis


Baton Rouge, Louisiana

New Orleans




East Coast


New York City



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Journal Article on Growing Power Fish Industry Breakthrough

Perched on the edge of a comeback
Project aims to establish indoor habitat for tasty fish
[email protected]

Posted: April 18, 2008

A longtime sweetheart of the Friday night fish fry that fell on hard times a decade ago may be making a comeback in experimental waters a few miles off Lake Michigan.

It seemed only fitting that 10,000 young perch would be released on a Friday into their new home at Growing Power.

As biologists dumped the wriggling yellow perch from 30-gallon buckets into an 80,000-gallon, 4-foot-deep raceway, the fish quickly disappeared into an innovative system designed to mimic nature inside a greenhouse.

The nonprofit urban farm on Milwaukee’s north side is in business to promote methods for growing affordable food. The farm hopes to help make perch affordable again by establishing an indoor, eco-friendly fish farming system that’s inexpensive to build and maintain, and can easily be replicated elsewhere, Growing Power founder and CEO Will Allen said.

“Here in Wisconsin, we’ve had a lot of displaced farmers,” Allen said as he admired the young perch with yellowish heads and dark vertical stripes.

“We have a lot of vacant barns. The cost of building this system is a fraction of what it costs (to farm fish) commercially. Imagine 50,000-gallon raceways raising perch in barns on farms.”

Growing Power co-director Jay Salinas said it cost about $1,500 to build the system primarily out of lumberyard plywood.

Once routinely hauled out of Lake Michigan by commercial fishermen, perch were plentiful in Wisconsin lakes until the 1990s. The fish with a sweet, mild flavor had ruled fish fries in corner taverns and church basements for decades. Then, for reasons biologists still don’t completely understand, perch fisheries collapsed, said Fred Binkowski, a senior scientist with the Great Lakes WATER Institute and a fisheries biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Ocean cod was still plentiful and cheap, so it replaced perch as the fish fry staple. Perch remains a fish fry favorite for many, but it costs more than cod or haddock because it is primarily farm-raised.

“Perch were born to be fried,” Binkowski said. “Perch is the best-tasting fish we have access to in Wisconsin.”

Perch was selling for $13.50 a pound at Empire Fish Co. in Wauwatosa on Friday, nearly $2 more per pound than cod. Perch sold at Empire is wild-caught in Canadian Great Lakes waters, said Mary Kopplin, retail store supervisor. Perch served at the popular Serb Hall fish fries on Milwaukee’s south side is farm-raised in Canada.

Binkowski said the 2-month-old fingerlings released at Growing Power, at N. 55th St. and W. Silver Spring Drive, weigh about a gram apiece, and will grow to about 120 grams - or three fish per pound - before they go into any frying pan. They’ll be fed a high-protein diet until they reach maturity.

To keep the fish healthy, Growing Power’s enclosed system circulates water from the bottom raceway containing the fish through two shallow tiers above with the help of a pump. The middle tier holds watercress and gravel to capture solid waste from the fish. Salad greens such as arugula and dandelion greens are in the top water level of the system in drainage pots filled with composted soil enriched by worms.

The plants and other living filter materials extract and use nitrates and solid wastes from the fish.

The worms “are like little soldiers” to help keep the water clean and safe, Binkowski said.

Allen hopes the worms also may become a source of inexpensive, high-protein fish food.

A 90-day trial at Growing Power last year using older perch produced 800 plate-size perch. This trial, expected to last a year, will raise the 10,000 perch from fingerling to maturity. The same system has been used for 12 years to raise tilapia.

Perch like cooler water than tilapia. The water doesn’t have to be heated because it absorbs enough ambient heat from the greenhouse, Binkowski said.
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Making Green the New Black - Video of Talk by South Bronx Activist, Majora Carter…

about fighting for environmental justice, creating a green ghetto, and creating green jobs in under-served communities; a good “case study” for Milwaukee’s Inner Core.


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The GREEN Issue (NYTs Magazine)

Hi, everyone. For your leisure reading. Have a wonderful Sunday.

The GREEN Issue (NYTs Magazine)








~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.
- Lao Tzu
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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Earth Poet Peddler Thanks Alderman Kovac for City Proclamation!

Dear Alderman Kovac,

Thank you for the blinding speed with which you were able to win a City Proclamation in honor of the Earth Poet’s 20th Anniversary Earth Day Celebration and for your much appreciated attendance at last night’s events at the Urban Ecology Center!

At the first international urban agriculture conference in Milwaukee Winter 2008 DCD Commissioner Rocky Marcoux committed, on behalf of Mayor Barrett, to making Milwaukee “the greenest city in the nation” and announced a program to turn 220 empty lots into community gardens. Your longstanding commitment to the greening of Milwaukee will add a much needed “force” at the Common Council for this vision!

There is now a site at the Milwaukee Renaissance to track your work during your first year as the greater eastside alderman.


I hope someone will send me photos of you at last night’s event to enter into this site.

Viva, Alderman Kovac!
Viva, Earth Poets!

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Green Collar Jobs: An Analysis

Please send an e-mail to [email protected] if you would like the full report.

Green job corps case study online
Posted November 29th, 2007 by Tom

  • Innovative Solutions

San Francisco State University Prof. Raquel Pinderhughes has completed a case study of implementing a green job corps in Berkeley, CA - GREEN COLLAR JOBS: An Analysis of the Capacity of Green Businesses to Provide High Quality Jobs for Men and Women with Barriers to Employment. The study can be used as a guide for developing Green Job Corps programs in other cities across the countries.

Dr. Pinderhughes had spoken with me earlier this year about this research as part of her work developing a green collar job corps with the Ella Baker Center’s Reclaim the Future initiative. Green collar jobs are “blue collar jobs in green businesses, manual labor jobs in businesses whose products and services directly improve environmental quality.”

This report shows that “preparing men and women with barriers to employment for entry level green collar jobs, and ensuring that these jobs are consistently made available to them, are very effective ways to bring the opportunities and benefits associated with green economic development to low-income residents and communities in the Bay Area.”

The study addresses seven major questions:

1.To what extent are green collar jobs good jobs?
2.To what extent are green collar jobs suitable for people with barriers to employment?
3.To what extent are people with barriers to employment interested in green collar jobs?
4.Are green business owners willing to hire workers with barriers to employment for green collar jobs?
5.To what extent are the green collar job business sectors growing?
6.What strategies are needed to grow the number of green collar jobs?
7.What strategies are needed to ensure that workers with barriers to employment can gain access to green collar jobs?

The study is a great example of collaboration between city planners, academics and local environmental justice advocates and can serve as a planning tool for extending green collar workforce development to other communities across the country.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. ~Mother Teresa
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Great Lakes WATER Institute,

Growing Power, and the Urban Aquaculture Center Partnership Will Provide the Foundation for Urban Aquaculture Industry.

5500 W. Silver Spring Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53216

Contact: Howard Hinterthuer
Growing Power (414) 527–1546
or (262) 573–0325

Here is reassuring news for all of us who are fans of the Wisconsin fish fry in general and the gloriously
delicious yellow perch in particular. Growing Power (55th and Silver Spring), with assistance from the Great Lakes Water Institute, is raising yellow perch in an aquaponic system that mimics nature. As a follow-up to a successful 2007 90-day trial at Growing Power that produced 800 plate size perch, the group will release 10,000 fish into Growing Power’s system on Friday, April 18th between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to begin a more aggressive 90-day trial.

To keep the fish happy and healthy, Growing Power’s enclosed system circulates the water through aquatic plants, edible garden plants, and other living filter materials that extract and use the nitrates and solid wastes from the fish.

“It’s a system that closely replicates nature,” says Will Allen, CEO and founder of Growing Power. “In this instance there is a symbiotic relationship between the fish and the plants. The plants function in much the same way as a wetland, filtering the water and making the nutrients available to plants. We have been able to build a functioning system inside of our greenhouses, and effectively increase our overall production of food. We’ve been raising tilapia (Nile tilapia, O. niloticus) using this method for twelve years. The only difference is the perch like cooler water.”

The system is of great interest to other potential perch producers. According to Leon Todd, who with Jon Bales, is striving to launch an urban aquaculture center in Milwaukee , “Such business venture systems can replenish lake perch for the dinner table… and fill up empty buildings, providing employment in Milwaukee and elsewhere.”

Based upon the Growing Power model, the Urban Aquaculture Center hopes to offer aquaculture training to entrepreneurs who wish to produce fish, and educational opportunities to school groups and others with regard to natural systems, working with nature, and sustainable strategies. Todd, Bales, the Great Lakes Water Institute and others are interested in the work at Growing Power because it is providing “proof of concept” data.

Says Bales of the first Growing Power trial, “Not only did the perch survive this ecologically designed system but, from one who knows, the fish tasted just great!”

Here is some background from Fred Binkowski of the Great Lakes Water Institute:

Aquaculture related commerce within the US Great Lakes locality continues to be an emerging industry. This region is home to approximately 29% of the US population that consumes more than one billion pounds of seafood products per year. However, the commercial aquaculture industry in this region generates less than 4% of all US production. This raises the obvious question: What are the constraints that are limiting aquaculture production within the US Great Lakes locality, and what action is required to address this problem?

The Great Lakes Aquaculture Center (GLAC) at the UW Great Lakes WATER Institute has been conducting fundamental and applied research as a function of improving aquaculture technology for Great Lakes species production. This research encompasses a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines including reproduction, engineering, nutrition, fish health, genetics, and animal husbandry principles. In addition, the GLAC has been a leader in an aquaculture Training/Outreach/Education program relative to workshops, providing resource information, on-site assistance, technology transfer, etc.

In cooperation with Growing Power Inc, we propose to demonstrate the potential of utilizing the existing and current urban greenhouse aquaponic systems to allow for year-round and cost-effective fish production for human consumption in a northern climate in conjunction with herb and vegetable production in a bio-secured system. This technological approach can be applied to a rural location and within an urban community. Urban aquaculture can reduce shipping costs, place the product at the center of consumer demand, and create jobs in economically deprived urban areas. We are confident that the cooperative effort between the Great Lakes WATER Institute, Growing Power, and the Urban Aquaculture Center will provide the foundation for the establishment of an urban aquaculture industry.

Specific Study Parameters

  • The “Growing Power” approach to aquaponics intentionally minimizes its reliance on the mechanically complex and higher cost system components used for indoor and year-round production

  • Measure water quality parameters to establish the baseline environmental conditions

  • Introduce about 10,000 young yellow perch (fingerlings) into the “Greenhouse System”

  • Monitor the biological, physical, and chemical elements during the 7–10 day acclimation period

  • Daily monitor: fish behavior, feeding, and water temperature

  • Weekly measure: water quality parameters (oxygen, total ammonia nitrogen, nitrite, pH, etc.).

  • Monthly measure and evaluate: growth performance, condition factor (plumpness), survival, and estimate food conversion

  • Critical study parameters are: fish growth and survival, maintaining optimal environmental conditions, and production cost

We believe our efforts will result in Milwaukee being recognized as “The” urban aquaculture city in America.
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Toward A Planetary Real Food Movement

From: James Godsil
Date: Apr 14, 2008 9:08 AM
Subject: Toward A Planetary Real Food Movement
To: [email protected]

Dear All,

The American Community Garden Association List Serve may well find
Its members thrilled to serve as one on-line conversation
Among the urban agrarians of Mother Earth!

Why not?

Sunny Spring Day in Milwaukee

From: Ellen Kirby
Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2008 1:31 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: [Community_garden] Community_garden Digest, Vol 329, Issue 1

Dear Friends,

I like Amy’s suggestion that we be reminded of listserve etiquette. I also
like reading all the responses. It reminds me that I forget sometimes that
the listserve purpose is to expand the base of people and issues engaged by
all of us. It’s probably a challenge for new people to just jump into some
of these conversations. In addition to the “etiquette”, here’s my list of
guidelines. Maybe we can all add our own and see where we come out,
remembering the purpose of this list serve. I’m sure there are other
gardening list serves but this one helps me the most in looking at the
social dimensions of gardening as well as public policies, etc. At the same
time, the horticulture aspects are central to my interest.

Perhaps a good New Year’s resolution if for all of us to try to make the
site more helpful and substantive for our common cause, to advance community
gardening around the world. I also wonder sometimes if our commentaries are
US-centric. I would like to hear more from folks in other parts of the
world. I know you are out there. Let us know what you are doing.

Here are my personal guidelins to supplement what has already been

1. Keep on community garden topics (with a very wide concept of community
gardening) as much as possible; any question is appropriate and participants
will continue to be as generous as possible in helping others. Usually if
the topic goes too far out, someone will shift the discussion and move to
another topic.

2. Find ways to be supportive, just by listening, suggesting, writing
letters, etc. Use the site to build the network and show that we have clout.
Find ways to keep folks on the list serve from feeling isolated. This seems
to really work with the listserve.

2. Know that community gardening includes as vast array of related topics
INCLUDING public policy, politics, human relations, etc.

4. Use the delete button when you aren’t interested or don’t care about a
particular topic.

5. Try to keep expanding the base

6. Give good info about horticulture

6. Support ACGA by joining the organization that makes the listserve and
lots of other services available. Go to http://www.communitygardening.org to sign up

7. Give us a chance to laugh.

Happy New Year. Ellen Kirby

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's
services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find
out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org
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Tucson Citizens Build Garden In Path of Proposed Roadway

Tucson, Arizona: Community builds autonomous garden in path of proposed roadway

On Sunday morning the intersection of North 9th Avenue and 6th Street was witness to the unusual sight of approximately 30 volunteer workers digging holes, planting plants, and installing park benches on some vacant ground just north of downtown.

Consisting of a variety of concerned people, including neighborhood residents, staff of nearby businesses and non-profits, and visiting youth, the group spent most of the day building what a new sign announces to be the “Ramona-Magon Memorial Garden and Autonomous Community Park.”

Created without city involvement, the new garden is meant, according to one participant, to be a protest and obstacle to the city’s proposed, and highly controversial, Downtown Links project.

Downtown Links is the latest plan to connect the Barraza-Aviation Parkway to Interstate 10, a highly contested and ever-changing scheme that has been in progress for decades. The project would include a 4-lane, high-traffic road, and the newest alignment for the road would call for it cutting right through the vacant land where the new garden is now installed. Neighborhood stakeholders are upset because this road would evict several local organizations and businesses, including BICAS (the nonprofit bicycle education organization), in addition to cutting off and isolating the Dunbar-Spring neighborhood from downtown.

Discussion and argument continue between planners, officials, and stakeholders. One Dunbar-Spring resident stated after a March 11 meeting on the issue “The way this process is happening is totally disrespectful of downtown residents and this might mean we need to make more noise…. The City Council is making the decision. They need to hear from us… how many neighborhoods, businesses, and individuals are against the new alignment and the process that created it.

Meanwhile, the volunteer gardeners plan to return to the site regularly to add to and maintain the plants, and they strongly encourage community use of and involvement in the garden.

More information about Downtown Links can be found on the city of Tucson’s Downtown Links website, http://downtownlinks.info

for photos see http://www.flickr.com/photos/steev/sets/72157604329360028/
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Reclaiming Vacant Lots: A Philadelphia Green Guide

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Meeting to Plan for 220 Vacant Lots Hopefully Transformed into Urban Food Gardens, April 24

Land Tenure Meeting
‘hosted by Milwaukee Urban Gardens

Milwaukee Urban Gardens acquires and preserves land and partners with neighborhood residents to develop and maintain community gardens to enhance the quality of life.

MUG was formed in 2000 by a group of individuals who lost their community gardens to public and private development projects. Frustrated by loss of their community gardens and many others in Milwaukee, the founders of MUG created a land trust in order to purchase and develop vacant land for community gardens. As a land trust, MUG is able to ensure the long-term protection of land for public benefit. Since 2000, MUG has led the development, preservation and beautification efforts of ten sites in the city of Milwaukee. MUG now holds title to four properties, including Greenfolks Garden in Riverwest, Village Roots Garden in Bay View, and Hocking Heritage and Spencer Gardens located in Milwaukee’s Northwest side.

WHEN: Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:00pm

WHERE: Milwaukee Environmental Consortium
1845 N. Farwell Ave., Ste. 100
Milwaukee, WI 53202


The purpose of the meeting is to develop a 'Vacant Land Use Manual' to present to the City of Milwaukee. The manual will address concerns, such as: settling ownership issues, developing a site plan, and creating a long-term maintenance strategy for vacant land parcels.

- Land Tenure Committee Structure

- Vacant lots in Milwaukee

  • Breakdown by neighborhoods
  • Who currently owns the land

-Define Land Tenure vs. Land Stewardship.

- Research Materials:

  • Community Garden in Milwaukee, Procedures for Their Long-Term Stability & Their Importance to the City, produced by the Department of Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, May 13, 2003, prepared for Milwaukee Urban Gardens

  • Managing Vacant Land in Philadelphia: A Key Step Toward Neighborhood Revitalization

  • Reclaiming Vacant Lots: A Philadelphia Green Guide

Gather other examples and city policies regarding the use of vacant land. Explore green city strategies (Portland, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia)

-220 Lots:
Document the location and condition of each property listed on the 220 (Vacant Lots, Available Adjoining Owners) List. Photograph and start a file for each property.

Erin Kanuckel
Community Garden Coordinator
Milwaukee Urban Gardens
1845 N. Farwell Ave., Suite 100
Milwaukee, WI 53202
p: (414)−431–1585
f: (414)−273–7293
[email protected]
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Call for Artists - Rain Barrel Exhibit & Auction

Artists and friends of Sustain Dane are invited to participate in a unique event: Rain Barrel Exhibit & Auction. Artists are asked to use their creative talents to decorate a Sustain Dane RainReserve rain barrel. A committee will select eight finalists by April 18th to display their rain barrels with artist information at the 2008 Art Fair on the “Green” Square put on by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Saturday, July 12th and Sunday, July 13th. The projected audience for this event is 200,000 individuals. After Art Fair on the “Green” Square, all entries will be sold via an online auction to raise money in support of Sustain Dane’s efforts. For more information visit: http://www.sustaindane.org/Files/CallforEntries.pdf

Bryant Moroder
Executive Director
t: (608) 819–0689
e: [email protected]
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For their 20th Anniversary Performances, four of the original poets, Jeff Poniewaz, Louisa Loveridge-Gallas, Suzanne Rosenblatt, and Harvey Taylor, and the two musician members of the group, Jahmes Finlayson and Holly Haebig, will continue to transform inconvenient truths into conscientious action.
The performances will also feature a special guest, activist and poet James Godsil (www.milwaukeerenaissance.com).

FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008
7 P.M. Interactive Poetry and Music for the Whole Family
8 P.M. Earth Poets and Musicians
Jahmes Finlayson, Louisa Loveridge-Gallas, Holly Haebig, Jeff Poniewaz, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Harvey Taylor, and SPECIAL GUEST: James Godsil
1500 E. Park Place
$5.00 Per Person, $10.00 Per Family, UEC Members Free

8 P.M. (same performers)
631 N. 19th Street (Just South of Wisconsin Ave)
Donation: $5.00: Proceeds to benefit the Earth Poets and Musicians Outreach Project and website on milwaukeerenaissance.com
Click here for more info and to visit the Earth Poets home page.
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Red Wrigglers From Growing Power Thrive Inside and Outside, Winter 2007/2008

Outside Compost Pile

Worms From Warm Enough Center of Compost Pile

Dozens Of Tiny Newly Hatched Basement Worms

In Five Gallon Greenhouse Pails How Cold at Night Allowed?

International Urban Agriculture Yahoo Group Project

Invitation to Chaordic Connections Among Oganic/Urban/Schoolyard Farmer/Gardener/Agrarians

Chaordic means to me the harmonious blending of order and chaos. Chaordic processes seem apt concept for most of my personal and public life. Including this vision of an on-going conversation among “urban agrarians” from every continent to advance the cause of organic, urban, and schoolyard agriculture.

Shall we have some on-line conversations with one another and our interested partners in this cause regarding…

  • the name of this evidently first international yahoo group on urban agriculture

  • some kind of “constitution”

  • the moderating team for the group

I’m sure there are other issues to consider besides these.

What say?

Brydie Godsil’s Great Lakes Urban Agriculture/Organic Farming/Edible Playground Google Search Web Site List


Contact via email: [email protected]






Introducing the Renaissance Project of New Orleans

This is where we will gather information and, hopefully, help make connections among the high spirits able to advance the cause of the Renaissance Project of New Orleans.

Re Growing Communities Service Event in New Orleans, April 30th Milwaukee Informational Meeting

Dear Environmental/Gardening Friends:

I hope you will be able to join me for one of two informational meetings regarding the ReGrowing Communities Service Event in New Orleans, that will take place October 9–12, 2008. The event is an effort to:

  • Rebuild community gardens destroyed by the hurricanes.
  • Redirect vacant property to develop a sustainable urban agriculture network in New Orleans.
  • Assist in regrowing the health and hope of the people of New Orleans.

The meetings will be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 3617 N. 48th Street, Milwaukee, on:

Wednesday, April 30, 6pm to 8pm
Sunday, May 4, 2pm to 4pm

The purpose of these meetings will be to:

  • Share the proposed community garden work site information.
  • Discuss the overall visions for the event.
  • Explore transportation and housing options.
  • Get you excited about and commited to going to New Orleans in October!

Please let me know if you are planning to attend one of the meetings.

Peace and Blessings,

Greta Gladney
Executive Director
The Renaissance Project
836 N. Hennessey St.
New Orleans, LA 70119
[email protected]

“Growing Your Community Food System: From the Ground Up” Workshop April 19 & 20

There are still openings available for those wishing to participate in this successful program (Scholarships are also available)

Growing Power, Inc in conjunction with

The USDA Risk Management Agency

SARE: Sustainable Ag. Research and Education

“Growing Your Community Food System” is an intensive, hands on training workshop offering diverse groups the opportunity to learn, plan, develop, operate, and sustain community food projects. Project participants leave the workshop with improved skills that they can take back into their communities and pass on to others. These workshops are for both rural and urban projects.

These workshops put organizations, projects, and food producers in touch with each other to help build collaborations and long-term sustainable partnerships.

COST: $300 (cost includes 5 meals) for the Saturday and Sunday workshop.

Limited scholarships are available.

Workshop Sessions include:

  • Aquaculture/Aquaponics
  • Bee Keeping
  • Community Project Design
  • Living Biological Worm Systems
  • Ethnic Marketing & Distribution
  • Animal Health

Click here to download more information, as well as a schedule and an application.
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Seeing Green: Art, Ecology, and Activism: Digital Arts and Culture at UWM

Seeing Green: Art, Ecology, and Activism opens Saturday, April 12, 5:00–9:00pm at Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E. Locust St., Milwaukee, WI.

Seeing Green encourages artists to leave the confines of the studio and take an active role with the community, to collaborate and address issues of the environment, and to open a dialog with the public. Guest curator Nicolas Lampert invited over 40 local artists to work on a project for the duration of eight months. During the month of April, 2008 the show will be exhibited at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the gallery will serve as a hub space, informing the viewer and the public of the many environmental projects taking place throughout the city, exhibiting visual work and books, screening films and holding discussions and events based around the exhibition.

Seeing Green opens at Woodland Pattern Book Center (720 E. Locust St., Milwaukee, WI.) on Saturday, April 12, 2008, 5:00–9:00pm

Additional events:
Reading by California author Rebecca Solnit, Sunday, March 30th, 2:00pm

Curator talk by Nicolas Lampert 4:30–6:00 / Film Screening, Wednesday, April 16th, 7:00–9:00pm (Screening of 5 minute films and videos on urban ecology issues by: Lane Hall, Lisa Moline, Lindsay Holden, Brandon Bauer, Ray Chi, Laura Klein, Eddee Daniel, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Spencer Tepper, Zachary Nesgoda).

Artist/Scientist/Community Activist talk, Wednesday, April 23rd, 7:00–9:00pm
(presentations by Susan Simensky-Bietila, Chris Cornelius, RiverPulse)

Artist/Scientist/Community Activist talk, Wednesday, April 30th, 7:00–9:00pm
(presentations by Raoul Deal and Larry Adams; Mary Osmundsen, Andrea Fuentes, Jose’ Medina, Monica Gonzalez and Adolfo Garcia; Lane Hall, Lisa Moline and Dr. Rudi Strickler)

Seeing Green is co-sponsored by UWM Cultures and Communities/Institute for Service Learning Co-Sponsorship Award, the Milwaukee Arts Board, and the Windhover Foundation.

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“Human Urine As A Safe, Inexpensive Fertilizer For Food Crops” ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2007)


Despite the ‘yuk!’ factor, urine from healthy individuals is virtually
sterile, free of bacteria or viruses. Naturally rich in nitrogen and
other nutrients, urine has been used as fertilizer since ancient

Urine fertilization is rare today. However, it has gained attention in
some areas as farmers embrace organic production methods and try to
reduce use of synthetic fertilizers.

In the new study, Surendra K. Pradhan and colleagues collected human
urine from private homes and used it to fertilize cabbage crops. Then
they compared the urine-fertilized crops with those grown with
conventional industrial fertilizer and no fertilizer.

(Read the rest at
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Young Intellectuals and Activists Becoming Organic Farmers

Leaving Behind the Trucker Hat
Published: March 16, 2008 New York Times

Tivoli, N.Y.
Their Carhartts are no longer ironic. Now they have real dirt on them.

Until three years ago, Benjamin Shute was living in Williamsburg, where he kept Brooklyn Lager in his refrigerator and played darts in a league.

Raised on the Upper East Side by a father who is a foundation executive and a mother who writes about criminal justice, Mr. Shute graduated from Amherst and worked for an antihunger charity. But something nagged at him. To learn about food production, he had volunteered at a farm in Massachusetts. He liked the dirt, the work and the coaxing of land long fallow into producing eggplant and garlic.

He tried growing strawberries on his roof in Brooklyn, but it didnt scratch his growing itch.

And so last week, Mr. Shute could be found here, elbow-deep in wet compost two hours north of New York City, filling greenhouse trays for onion seeds. Along with a partner, Miriam Latzer, he runs Hearty Roots, a 25-acre organic farm.

I never thought I wanted to farm, Mr. Shute said. But it feels like an honest living.

His partner, Ms. Latzer (the two are not a couple) is 33 and a former urban planner. Her parents, a professor and a librarian, think its crazy that Im a farmer, she said. They wonder what planet I came from.

This one. Steeped in years of talk around college campuses and in stylish urban enclaves about the evils of factory farms (see the E. coli spinach outbreaks), the perils of relying on petroleum to deliver food over long distances (see global warming) and the beauty of greenmarkets (see the four-times-weekly locavore cornucopia in Union Square), some young urbanites are starting to put their muscles where their pro-environment, antiglobalization mouths are. They are creating small-scale farms near urban areas hungry for quality produce and willing to pay a premium.

Young farmers are an emerging social movement, said Severine von Tscharner Fleming, 26, who is making a documentary called The Greenhorns about the trend.

While this is hardly the first time that idealistic young people wanted to get back to the garden, the current crop have advantages over their forebears from the 1960s and 70s, many of whom, inspired by the Whole Earth Catalog or Wendell Berrys books about agrarian values, headed to the country, only to find it impossible to make a living.

But the growing market for organic and locally grown produce is making it possible for well-run small farms to thrive, said Ken Meter, 58, who studies the economics of food as an analyst at the Crossroads Resource Center, a nonprofit advocacy group for local food initiatives that is based in Minnesota.

A lot of people in our 20s went to the land and wanted to farm and had a lot of enthusiasm, but not many resources, he said. It has only been the last five years where the payment from working your fingers to the bone and supplying urban markets with high-quality produce has been enough where you could imagine making a living.

Whether young, first-generation farmers constitute a flood or trickle is difficult to say. But many long-time observers of small farms say they have noticed an increase in recent years among college graduates who want to farm, even if they intern at established farms or rent tiny parcels.

Weve had a big spike in the last decade and especially in the last few years of people who are new to farming applying to sell at Greenmarket, said Gabrielle Langholtz, manager of special projects for the Manhattan-based Greenmarket, which runs 46 farmers markets around the city. Maybe they went to liberal arts schools and read Michael Pollan, she said, referring to the author of The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, (Penguin Press HC, 2006), and shopped at farmers markets and said, Im going to buy a farm upstate and sell to Greenmarket. The typical size of farms that sell at Greenmarket is 50 to 100 acres, she said.

Nationally, there were 8,493 certified organic farms in 2005, using just over 4 million acres of land, more than double the acreage in 2000, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. (The federal government introduced a uniform standard for organic certification in 2002.) New York had more than twice as many certified organic farms, 735, in 2007 as it did in 2004, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. The agency estimates there are three to five times that many organic farms in New York which, like Hearty Roots, choose not to spend the $500 to $1,000 it costs to become certified.

Put that together with research indicating organic farmers are on average 46 years old, compared with an average of 52 for all farmers, and the numbers seem to reflect what experts say they see in the field: the demand from consumers for food produced on a small scale, bought directly from farmers, has allowed a younger generation to enter farming, even as global markets drive many conventional farmers off the land.

It has opened up a better opportunity than weve had in a while for entry-level farmers, said Stephen R. Gliessman, a professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who studies sustainable agriculture. He said many of his students in recent years have started farms after graduation.

When Mr. Shute led a seminar called, So you want to be a farmer? in December in New York, it was standing room only with over 40 people, he said.

Just a few years ago the prevailing style statement in Williamsburg featured metrosexually groomed urbanites wearing trucker hats and pristine Carhartt jackets and quaffing Pabst beer. Now some are choosing the real life behind the pose.

At a recent fund-raising party for Ms. Flemings film, in a warehouse next to the Williamsburg Bridge, men in shaggy beards and women in thick sandals sipped Sixpoint Lager from mason jars and snacked on Crane Mountain chvre.

Guests included Rachel Mark and Betsy Devine, who own Salvatore Brooklyn, a cheese maker in Boerum Hill, and Rick and Michael Mast, tall brothers with Amish-length beards, who are starting a chocolate factory in Williamsburg.

The Billyburg scene has changed, said Annaliese Griffin, who contributes to a blog called Grocery Guy. Having a cool cheese in your fridge has taken the place of knowing what the cool band is, or even of playing in that band, she said. Our rock stars are ricotta makers.

When John Bliss and Stacy Brenner, both 34, first moved to Maine to farm seven years ago Mr. Bliss from Tucson, and Ms. Brenner from Philadelphia they knew little about farming.

My lesson learned from that first year was that if the soil is good, it wont let you down, Mr. Bliss said.

On their Broadturn Farm, in Scarborough, they plan to raise sheep, chickens, pigs and turkeys along with vegetables this year. Like many new organic farms, Broadturn uses the Community Supported Agriculture model to survive. Such businesses sell food subscriptions that entitle consumers to weekly boxes of produce in season. Broadturns 20-week subscription costs $500.

Mr. Bliss and Ms. Brenner moved to their current site last year after winning a bid to rent a parcel on the outskirts of Portland controlled by a land trust seeking to preserve open space.

A similar set-up is what allowed Ian Calder-Piedmonte, a philosophy major from Cornell University, to join three years ago with a former classmate who had started Balsam Farms on 60 acres on the South Fork of Long Island. For about $150 an acre, they lease town land across from East Hampton high school, and the Peconic Land Trust leases them acreage in Amagansett, where they operate a farm stand on Town Lane.

If we can find affordable housing, which is a challenge in East Hampton, said Mr. Piedmont, 28, who spent two years in Italy after graduation, were going to have two interns this summer.

Although publications like Small Farmers Journal, published since 1976, often present the life of the small farmer in a heartwarmingly Little House on the Prairie light, a recent article in Sheep! about the dangers of jackals and one in Backyard Poultry about preventing chickens drinking water from freezing, are a reminder of the old-school risks of farming.

We lost all of our soybeans last year to Japanese beetles, Ms. Latzer said. She often wakes up at 5 a.m. and collapses into an exhausted sleep by 9 p.m. She earns enough to afford health insurance, but if the landlord doesnt renew their five-year lease, the enterprise could become untenable.

A number of colleges have added organic farming classes because of demand from students. A lot of them come out and realize theyre not cut out for it, said John Biernbaum, a professor of horticulture in Michigan States new one-year certificate program. Last year, the first, there were 9 students. This year, 18.

Some feel the strong tug of the land. On March 1, KayCee Wimbish, 32, a former second-grade teacher, moved from her Harlem apartment up to Tivoli to raise sheep and chickens with Owen OConnor, 22, a Wesleyan dropout who helped come up with the name of their enterprise, Awesome Farm.

Ms. Wimbish grew up in Tulsa, Okla., a child of the suburbs, and it wasnt until she moved to New York that she discovered farmers markets and the politics of food. She worked the last two summers at Hearty Roots and became hooked on the agrarian life. Moving to New York City, she said, was what first got me interested in food and farming.
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Ideas for S. African Horticulturist Seeking Help/Ideas Setting Up Community Garden

Dear Urban Agrarians of the USA,

Hi my name is Michael Leech I am a Horticulturist in the eThekwini Municipality(Durban) on the south coast of South Africa.

We have been busy with the implementation of Community Gardens in this part of the world and are struggling as it has never been done before here due to the policies that were in place at the time.

Any information that will help us to find our way without re-inventing the wheel would be appreciated.

Many Thanks in anticipation.

Michael Leech
Chief Horticulturist
eThekwini Municipality
P.O. Box 1878,
South Africa.
(W) 27–031–2666902


Hey, Michael,

You’ve got a proud history of urban ag and community gardens in South Africa, I’m delighted to hear of your work. Globally, I have a feeling we all face similar issues - it is part of urban agriculture and community gardens, both. I’d be happy to help you any way I can. I would also suggest checking out current community gardening work in Australia and California, which both have somewhat similar climates to yours.

In North America, the American Community Gardening Association is good place to begin making contacts - www.communitygarden.org. I’ll forward James’ post to their listserv.

Also, I like www.cityfarmer.org in Canada. It’s a treasure trove of information.

Good luck and good gardening,

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States (the ‘other’ USA)
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Clyde’s Vegetable Planting Slide Chart

Spring is coming!! Please consider telling folks about our Vegetable Gardening Slide Chart.
Our chart has a sliding frost line, works all over North America and comes with a National listing of frost dates, $3.50 postage paid.
It is an excellent tool for teaching vegetable gardening.
See web site: http://cdmplanning.hypermart.net
The site has a video & slide show explaining chart.
Let us send you a sample chart for review.

Thanks, Clyde

Clyde’s Garden Planner
THE Vegetable Gardening Slide Chart
We Trust in the Finished Work of Christ
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“Growing Power 2008 Highlights”

February 11th to March 10th

Tuesday February 12 Growing Food and Justice Initiative Large Group Call

Wednesday February 13 Will meeting with Kate Halfwassen for her Green Roof project

  • Will tour with the Neighborhood House to talk about future project

Friday February 15 Shorewood Highs Global Action Committee Tour at GP

February 15 - 17 Growing Power March Workshop Urban Agriculture/From the Ground Up

  • Special speaker for Saturday dinner: Dr. Barry Colley

Monday February 18 Will with Toronto group who attend the workshop

Tuesday February 19 Becky from the Green Pages interview with Will for story with the Journal Sentinel

  • Will Tour with Marcia Caton Campbell group

Wednesday February 20 Will Interview/Video for Outposts Farmer of the Month

  • Will meeting with Kate Halfwassen (Green Roof Project)

February 21 23 Will at The Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference

  • Will was a speaker on Friday March 22

February 23 - 26 Will in Florida for the NIFI Meeting to develop NIFI as an independent organization

Wednesday February 27 Will interview with Exclusively Yours magazine

  • Article to appear in the next issue

Thursday February 28 Tour with the Lisbon Ave Neighborhood Center/Urban Waldorf School kids (50 kids)

February 28 March 1 Pollinating Our Future Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Conference

  • Friday 29th Compost Workshop/Tour at Growing Power
  • Saturday at the Hilton Growing Power Booth Presentations by Will, GFJI and GP Chicago

Tuesday March 4 GFJI steering committee call

  • Will tour with UAC- Argosy Foundation

Wednesday March 5 Will meeting with Kate Halfwassen (Green Roof Project)

  • Meeting with Discovery World

Thursday March 6 Will meeting with Wilbert St Julien to discuss future Volunteer Op

  • Jay on Panel discussion at UWM (Organic Farming in Wisconsin)

Friday March 7 Will workshop with Hank Lynch group (Akron Ohio)

  • Will meeting with Shawn Perrin and Sam Macklem

Saturday March 8 Hiram College arrives to work for one week
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Local Food Local Fish! Milwaukee Urban Fish Production

March 2008 11
by Jon Bales

Jon Bales is founder of a new Milwaukee organization, the Urban Aquaculture Center, dedicated to demonstrating how urban fish production can become a sustainable food producing industry.

Milwaukee has an unprecedented opportunity to remove itself from its rustbelt city image and move in a purposeful direction using a new set of tools. It can do this by embracing the latest in green innovation and becoming recognized as a leader in urban agriculture.

Many local organizations are working tirelessly to bring the local food movement into the city with new urban ideas, encouraging future generations to get back to the land and grow and eat close to home, rather than importing from places far off. “Pollinating our Future,” a conference at the end of February, sponsored by the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, addresses barriers to urban agriculture and brings together a diverse group of urban agriculture presenters.

The Urban Aquaculture Center, a proposed large-scale production and educational facility, is hoping to bring Milwaukee into the twenty-first century in terms of fish production and to provide an innovative solution to several environmental problems involved with fish.

Past “Peak Fish”

The first humans were pushed out of being hunters and gatherers because of changing conditions. Anthropologists tell us that the Neolithic Era began when the human population replaced hunting and gathering with farming practices, which became a more practical means of ensuring a consistent food supply. An exception to this new practice of farming was gathering fish from the oceans and lakes all over the world.

When it comes to fisheries, we are still hunting and gathering with modern efficiencies that have put the earth past “peak fish.” A team of North American and European marine biologists and economists reports that at the current rate, our ocean’s fisheries will collapse by 2048.

It is now evident that this practice of gathering fish is unsustainable. Marine capture fisheries have reached a ceiling, and we humans must now contemplate the alternative and refine our fish farming skills. As aquaculture continues to feel the pressure to expand, research and development must keep up to minimize the difficulties inherent with this emerging industry.

Proper design, analysis, and implementation of an urban fish farm are necessary to insure its success. This means a thorough feasibility study is needed by the stakeholders, including the public. Generally, a government’s commitment to provide increased support to the aquaculture sector is a prerequisite for the sector’s sustainable development. Farming fish as an urban enterprise needs to be developed with the best management practices available.

Sushi Anyone?

The United States lags behind Asia, particularly China, which accounts for over 90% of the world’s aquaculture. We import fish from far-away countries which results in a seafood trade deficit of over $8 billion annually. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which makes a comprehensive study of the state of the world’s aquaculture every two years, the US, Canada and Mexico combined account for only 1.3% of the world’s aquaculture. China leads the world as the largest producer and consumer of farmed seafood, accounting for almost 70% of the total.

Viable cities of the future will require a consistent, clean source of protein, produced locally, under secure conditions. We cannot be surprised if in the future we see a ban on the harvesting of fish from the wild for all purposes other than recreational fishing in order to preserve what remains in the world’s depleted oceans.

Thinking in Cycles

Within ten years, the industry of aquaculture will supply most of the fish protein consumed in the world. The reason will be that we simply cannot sustain the wild capture of fish where sizes and numbers are diminishing, and whose bodies contain increasing amounts of undesirable pollutants such as mercury and PCBs.

Aquaculture systems involving organic polyculture or using water to grow top-of-the-food-chain species, and then reusing it in descending order by less dominant marine species such as shrimp and snails, is more sustainable than a monoculture system. Finally, the nutrient-rich effluent water is used by plants to mimic the same carbon cycle begun billions of years ago. Plants thrive on the waste products of other plants and animals.

Cities need to begin farming fish for a variety of reasons. Foremost is the shortage of certain well-known favorites such as yellow perch, which has declined substantially from Lake Michigan. Cities are where the market and labor pool are, and in Milwaukee there are plenty of vacant buildings and plenty of fresh water.

In a recirculating system, the water can be cleaned up, possibly by plants, and reused. With a bio-mimicking technique, fish farming could be combined with growing plants and made into a profitable urban industry.

Urban Aquaculture

The Urban Aquaculture Center was founded with the idea of demonstrating how urban fish production can occur in a sustainable manner. The Urban Aquaculture Center is currently seeking funding and a location where it can house an educational campus to showcase sustainable urban fish farming practices.

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Northeast Side Area Plan Open House

We hope to see you this Wednesday, February 27th, from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm or 5:00 - 7:30 pm at Alterra on Humboldt for the Northeast Side Plan Open House.

See attached flyer for details.

Please feel free to invite anyone you think may be interested.

Take care,
Sarah & Janet

Sarah Horn
Project Planner - Area Plans
City of Milwaukee - Dept. of City Development
809 N Broadway

Milwaukee, WI 53202–3617
[email protected]
P: 414.286.5620 F: 414.286.0730

Janet F. Grau AIA AICP
Dept. of City Development, Planning Division
809 N. Broadway
Milwaukee WI 53202–3617
phone: 414–286–5724 FAX: 414–286–0730

E-mail: [email protected]
Note e-mail change to milwaukee.gov
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National/Local Guests: 4th Street Forum_FARMERS IN THE CITY: BACK TO THE FUTURE?

People in cities are planting gardens again. It’s called Urban Agriculture.

Some think the gardens might help alleviate poverty and other social problems. Do they?

Each forum is taped in front of a live audience for later broadcast on Milwaukee Public Television, Channels 10/36. The forums are free and open to the public. Come and be a part of the discussion. Participate by asking questions of the panelists. Bring your lunch or purchase it from Historic Turner Restaurant.

WHERE: Milwaukee Turner Hall, 2nd Floor, 1034 N. 4th Street (4th and Highland)


  • Milwaukee Public Television will broadcast this forum on Friday, FEBRUARY 29, Channel 10, 10PM and Sunday, MARCH 2, Channel 36, 3PM.

  • It will also run on Time Warner’s, “Wisconsin on Demand,” (WIOD), Channel 1111.

  • All programs will be available for checkout from your local public library.

  • Podcasts of the programs will be posted after broadcast at www.4thStreetForum.org.

MODERATOR: ENRIQUE FIGUEROA, Ph.D., Director, Roberto Hernndez Center, UW-Milwaukee

SHARON ADAMS is the co-founder of Walnut Way Conservation Corp, located in the Milwaukee central city neighborhood of Walnut Way. Their members have rebuilt houses and transformed vacant lots into productive gardens and orchards. By doing so, they have decreased crime and increased job-training opportunities.

MARCIA CATON CAMPBELL is the Milwaukee project manager for the Center for Resilient Cities. Ms. Caton Campbell works in collaboration with the Milwaukee County Parks, the City of Milwaukee, and community groups to revitalize blighted outdoor spaces, including playgrounds.

JAC SMIT is the president of The Urban Agriculture Network (TUAN), which is based in Washington DC. As an international spokesperson for urban agriculture, Mr. Smit has lectured on the topic in over thirty countries.

CHUKOU THAO is the director of the National Hmong American Farmers (NHAF), located in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Mr. Thao works with immigrant and minority farmers Hmong, Hispanic, African American, Cambodian, Vietnamese to find the right markets for their crops and to help them receive a fair price for what they grow.

THE WEEKS AHEAD: We’ll be on a short break but will return the 3rd week in March.



Who has the vision, the capability, to run Milwaukee County? Lena Taylor or Scott Walker?
Tune in is as the candidates present their plans for Milwaukee County’s future.

Check our website for updates.

Deidre A. Martin
4th Street Forum
[email protected]

4th Street Forum is sponsored by the Milwaukee Turners, co-sponsored by Milwaukee Public Television, and in collaboration with UWM Milwaukee Idea.
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Sweet Red Cherry Tomatoes From Your Harambee Garden

Have you ever wished to venture forth beyond
Your primal ancestral circles
And see what’s up in the village
Across the river from your own?

Have you ever longed for sweet red cherry tomatoes
So fresh and juicy the old world
Protestant or Catholic in you worries that
Eating them might be some kind of carnal sin?

Have you ever felt the joy of sacred fatigue
At the end of a workout in rich soil
Hands in the dirt, good sweat, and

Joyous work laughter moments with friends?

Have you ever imagined that…

Your nation gave rise to a movement
With other nations you are learning to love,

With an eye, strong body, and heart
Fixed on the prize of
Ten thousand backyard city farms.

With 4 chickens (no rooster) each
(Roosters visit from the early rising towns)

Eyes on the prize of…

Ten Thousand community farms and gardens,
In old industrial city neighborhoods,

Transforming themselves into

Planetary villages of grace, beauty, and health?

And the nation chose a leader
Who could understand all this!

Too Much Snow and Rain to Roof 2008

Stephanie Philipps, founder of the Harambee Reclamation Garden, meets with one of the initiators of Shorewood High School’s Parking Lot Into Urban Farm Demonstration Project, Eric Gietzen

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Please join us for the Northeast Side Plan Open House

Date: Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
Time: 11:30 am - 2:00 pm or 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: Alterra Cafe, 2999 N Humboldt Blvd

The event is open to anyone who lives, works, or has a vital interest in the future of the Northeast Side. We’ll kick off each session with a presentation about key concepts and catalytic projects. A draft of the plan will be available for comment. We hope to see you there.

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Does Obama Yet Know That Madison Wisconsin Citizens Can Now Legally Raise Chickens!

by: “Megan Laws”

Thanks for bringing it to our attention that Milwaukee’s Dept. of City Development is doing more to support urban farming!

I have a related question about this recent victory for urban farmers in nearby Madison:

In the Spring of 2004, Madison, WI passed a law allowing single-family homes the right to raise poultry in the back yard. Previous to this law, poultry was allowed inside the home, but not outside. Coops were not permitted, nor was raising poultry inside the garage. Today it is legal to have 4 hens (no roosters) in a coop, no closer than 25′ from the nearest neighbors living quarters. Butchering within the city limits is still not allowed.

My question is: does anyone forsee this being a future possibility in Milwaukee? Is there already a process started to get it going?

Thanks for anything you know.
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Milwaukee’s Northeast Area Plan Adopts Urban Farming Plank!

Urban Farming is in the Northeast Area Plan. If you read the Draft, Chapter 3: Policies and Strategies, Page 4. This is in the draft:

  1. Support urban farming (small scale intensive farming, an updated modern version of “victory gardens”) in residential and mixed use neighborhoods as a way to:
    1. Build self reliance for those who grow healthy, fresh food for themselves and their families.
    2. Provide extra family income for those who create food for sale in neighborhood farmers markets.
    3. Advance community building, as neighbors enjoy the beauty of urban farms and gardens, participate in growing community and food together, and provide gainful work for neighborhood residents, especially the young and the old.

Click here to view the rest of the plan

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Looking Like Bridie’s Found Her Harvard

She has spent about 5 half-days with me this past couple of weeks,
Some of them in bitter cold,
Others requiring some mind/body/hand precision,
Like shooting basketballs,
Which she does so well!

A total pleasure to be with these past couple of weeks in my work rounds.
She has a peddler’s aspect the truck will serve,
E.g. buying, selling, bartering, and delivering things from
Craig’s List Milwaukee Emporium.

Looking like Bridie’s found her Harvard.

Part of her “folk” Harvard adventure will be presented at
A wiki web site master wiki gnome Tegan Dowling
Will be creating for Bridie’s 20th Birthday,
The Friend willing!

In the way that I pray, I pray the tragectory of Bridie’s last 3 seasons,
Remains with her for the next 320!

She is one of the reasons I can weep for joy
At an inside table with food and warmth for my babies,
With promise of nice bedrooms for the evening.

Dreaming of 3 generation homes for my sweet ones,
With lots of grand children picking summer raspberries
And sweet red cherry tomatoes.

Olde Godsil

Happy Birthday to Bridie!
Highlights of 20th Birthday Week

Bridie Godsil with Morrey of Crown Hardware and new roofing tools
Rainbow Roofing

Leaning How To Nail Fasten Metal Flashings
And Heat Weld Membrane Seams


Two Girls and a 3/4 Ton Truck
Ready to Haul Your Stuff

Viva, Bridie Wines Godsil!

Happy 20th Birthday!

What a great and good adventure
You are making of your life!

What a joy to be part of
Bridie Rose Wines Godsil’s Life!

What fine people love you!

And thank The Friend
That you were born!

Olde Godsil
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Urban Farming, Our Broken Health System, and The Western Diseases

Michael Pollan has re-introduced the concept “Western Diseases” in his brilliant new book, “In Defense of Food: an Eater’s Manifesto.”

“In the early decades of the 20th century,’ he writes, “a handful of dauntless European and American medical professionals working with a wide variety of native populations around the world began noticing the almost complete absence of the chronic diseases that had recently become commonplace in the west. Albert Schweitzer and Denis P. Burkitt in Africa, Robert McCarrison in India, Samuel Hutton among the Eskimos in Labrador, the anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka among Native Americans, and the dentist Weston A. Price among a dozen different groups all over the world(including Peruvian Indians, Australian Aborigenes, and Swiss mountaineers) sent back much the same news. The compiled lists, many of which appeared in medical journals, of the common diseases they’d been hard pressed to find in the native populations they had treated or studied: little or no heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, hypertension, or stroke; no appendicitis, diverticulitis, malformed dental arches, or tooth decay; no varicose veins, ulcers, or hemorrhoids.

Several of these researchers were on hand to witness the arrival of the Western diseases in isolated populations…Some noted that the Western disease followed closely on the heels of the arrival of Western foods, particularly refined flour and sugar and other kinds of 'store food.'

Pollan on today’s western diet: “Instead of food, we’re consuming ‘edible foodlike substances’—no longer the products of nature but of food science.

Pollan’s Response to the Diet Based Western Diseases: Eat Real, Well-Grown, Unprocessed Food, and Mostly Plants!

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants…real food—the sort of food our great grandmothers would recognize as food…real, well-grown, and unprocessed food.”

“Our personal health cannot be divorced form the health of the food chains of which we are a part.”

Natural Next Step to Repair Our Broken Health System? Replace Our Toxic Food Systems!

And one way to start?

Urban Farming!

Edible Playgrounds!

In the Democratic Platform for 2008!



If you would like to advance this cause, send an e-mail to

[email protected]
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Rally the Locavores

I hope you will team up with 100 locavores
To awaken the nation to the promise of urban farming
To address some of the problems of our
Broken Health and Toxic Food Systems.

Ideas include the following:

Join Yahoo Group on Urban Farming

Rally Friends to Send E-Mails to:

(l) Mayor Daley of Chicago

(2) Mayor Barrett and President Hines of Milwaukee

(3) Convener of the Obama Urban Policy Team

Action Steps

(l) Send e-mail to your friends asking them to send e-mail supporting urban farming for the national campaigns of both parties to

[email protected]

(2) These e-mails will be put into a web site at this location:


(3) They will also be bundled and forwarded to Mayor Daley, Barrett, President Hines, and Rachel Godsil, Convener of the Obama Urban Policy Team

Viva, Urban Farming!

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WEBCAST - 1/29/08 Financing Green Infrastructure

This is very short notice, but the District has recently become aware of the following webcast and has registered to host it. Please mark it on your calendars and attend if you are interested from 2:00 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29, 2008.

WEBCAST: “Green Infrastructure: Financing and Local Strategies” January 29, 2008, 3:00–4:30pm ET, will highlight ways local governments can implement and finance green infrastructure strategies. Organized by the National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals (NALGEP).

This webcast will be held at MMSD HQ; 260 W. Seeboth St., Milwaukee. Please forward to anyone that you think may be interested, SK
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Renewable energy sourced power plants vs. old coal dinosaurs!

by: “Peter Holzberger” [email protected]

To WEnergies,

I would like to suggest that even if the cost of building renewable energy sourced power plants is as costly as perhaps 125% to 150% of outfitting current coal powered plants with pollution controls to meet or exceed pollution limits, that the money would be better spent, in the long run, to increase or replace generation capacity to run on renewable energy sources. Short term fixes are almost always more costly in the long run.

Pollution limits are almost guaranteed to be lowered incrementally as the decades pass. For example, to not exceed current total pollution output for a given coal powered plant, if you were to double generating capacity, you would have to cut by half, the current pollution output per kWH produced, and so on. You soon reach a point of diminishing return on reducing pollution per kWH.

Use a fuel that doesn’t create any pollution. As long as the Sun shines, we have almost limitless renewable energy available for a one time cost of building the collection devices and plant, the fuel is free forever for all practical reasons. There would also be less maintenance cost and operating cost per kWH produced, no disposal cost of coal slag and soot, no carbon sequestration cost, no having to pay carbon fees, no cap and trade program to be involved in and the plant would be safer in most regards, far safer than nuclear power generation.

As for those times when the wind doesn’t blow, the Sun doesn’t shine, the waves don’t splash, etc., pump water to higher elevations (reservoirs; up and down a lake bluff) when the renewable power is available. Let the water down, at an even rate, through hydro (water)-powered turbines, when the renewable power isn’t available or constant.

Thank you for your consideration,

Peter Holzberger

Public Service Commission to decide

Is WE Energies throwing good ratepayer money after bad? Are they wasting your money to fix up old coal boilers that should be retired? WE Energies needs to shut down these old, dirty coal units and invest our money in clean energy and energy efficiency instead. It’s time to get serious about cleaning up our air and stopping global warming.

Now is your chance to make your voice heard---it’s time to get rid of old dirty coal plants in our community! The Public Service Commission wants to hear from Average Joe - anyone who is concerned about clean air, health, and global warming.

On February 4, the Public Service Commission will be a public hearing to decide whether to allow WE Energies to spend YOUR money to put on pollution controls on their dirty, polluting power plant. Hearing details: Oak Creek Community Center, 8580 South Howell Avenue, Oak Creek, Wisconsin. February 4, 2008. There will be two sessions, one at 3:00 p.m. and one at 7:00 p.m.

If you can’t attend the hearing, please email Becky with your written comments by simply replying to this email. Your opinion matters and we will deliver your comments to the hearing.

Talking points on the issue:

It is irresponsible to spend $800 million on “duct taping” this old coal plant when we could invest $800 million in clean, safe cost-effective renewable energy.

WE Energies have plenty of power with the new Elm Road Generating Station (ERGS) coming online.

According to their own numbers, their electricity sales are much lower than they expected when they decided to build ERGS.
Thank you!
Becky Weber
Clean Wisconsin
122 State Street STE 200, Madison, WI, 53703
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An Open Letter to Milwaukee Preservation Alliance Calling for the Marriage of Urban Farming, Internet Empowerment, and Historic Preservation

Dear All,

The Milwaukee Preservation worked small miracles in the historic preservation movement of Milwaukee
From about 2002 until our glorious blocking of the Pabst City plan,
Paving the way for the Zilber team to preserve and make history these past couple of years.


I received a warm thank-you letter from Joe Zilber for our work re the Pabst!

We played a huge role in mobilizing over 800 people to oppose the battleship at our lakefront!
A number of venerable and sacred buildings are saved for the generations
Because of the work of Donna Schlieman, the MPA, and others.

Donna, Jean Eske, Carlin, Paul, Sandy, Virginia, Geoff should be interviewed
To preserve these stories of grass roots success
Without much backing from the traditional upper class families
Normally key to preservation victories.

The MPA manifest the “creative working classes”
Making grass roots history and…a Milwaukee Renaissance!

What has happened to the MPA?

When was the last open meeting?

When is the next open meeting?

When will there be elections for officers?

We should we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory
When the city is increasingly poised to understand and support
The vision of the founders, heavy lifters, and detail angels of
The Milwaukee Preservation Alliance?

Were we to marry urban agriculture, working class internet empowerment, and historic preservation,
A new “Wisconsin Idea” would set the stage for transformative public policy
For self-reliance, community building, and sustainable development.

I would like to imagine some on-line conversation with a re-awakened MPA
Debating the incorporation of urban farming, internet empowerment and green development
Into the preservation movement.

Here is the campaign platform I would try to inspire some young people
Running for office at MPA to adopt:

The Mouse and the Worm Transformed Milwaukee
There was a time when everyday people
Were too disconnected to intensely engage and prevail
In turf and other struggles with 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 Allen’s 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!

What say?

Why not?

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Conserving the Bonobo: a struggle between two worlds

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Best Selling Real Food Writer, Michael Pollan, Devestating Critique of Industrial Agriculture for 600 At Alverno College Who Braved the Cold

Says Only Obama Campaign Has Contacted Him to Learn About “The Human Omnivore,” “An Eater’s Manifesto” and Local, Organic Food Movements

Dear All,

I just came from an inspiring speech by Michael Pollan on his new best selling book, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” to a near sell-out crowd of 600 plus at Alverno College tonight, despite the bitter cold! Schwartz Book Store’s Nancy Quinn was the key organizer of this great event.

http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/DailyAgoraAnnouncements/HomePage , or,
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Milwaukee’s Urban Agriculture Movement Has Mayor Barret’s “Ear”

Does Pollan ‘Have the Ear” of Any Presidential Candidates?

I tried to ask this question before the audience: “Will Allen’s Growing Power, the Urban Ecology Center, Slow Foods, UW-Extension, Mary Ann Ihm’s Wellspring, Jerry and Larry Adams’ Walnut Way, Kim Lee’s Foundy’s Market, the Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network(MUAN), Outpost Natural Foods, the Riverwest Food Co-op, and others have earned the Milwaukee local organic urban farm movement “the ear” of Mayor Barrett, who is on board this great movement!

Do you and the movements you are connected with across the country have the ear of any of the current presidential candidates? Have any of them tried to connect with you and learn what you have to say?

There was not time for this question before the assembled throng, but I did get to ask it of Michael during the book signing period(for $30 we got the speech plus his new book personally signed).

Only Obama Campaign Has Called Pollan!

Pollan’s answer: Only the Obama people have called me.

I did not get to speak with him any more than that so I don’t know what happened as a result of that call.

But I do know that I very much hope that the Obama campaign will learn about Milwaukee’s trail-blazing role in sparking an urban farm movement in North America and helping spark as much as well in Africa, Europe, and pretty soon the entire planet.

One Million “Locavore” Voters Await a Candidate Who “Gets” the Buy Local Organic and Slow Food Movements

It is my deep conviction that one million votes across the country would go instantly to the candidate who goes to the last city farm in Milwaukee, Will Allen’s Growing Power, on 55th & Silver Spring, and witnesses the magic made by tons of urban waste products, e.g. brewers’ yeast from Lakefront Brewery, coffee grounds from Alterra, veggie wastes from grocers, wood chips from the Department of Public Works, cardboard from wherever, composted, fed to worms, processed, turned into black gold, the richest soil in the world, fertile enough to sustain four season veggie harvests in hoop houses only warmed by compost heat!

Kelners Co-Op Organizing Underway.

30 Riverwest residents meet at Polish Falcons Hall and create organizing work teams.

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Renowned Poet/Naturalist Poniewaz UWM Course: Literature of Ecological Vision

Jeff Poniewaz is a brilliant poet/educator/activist who gives his heart and soul to his students and subject.

LITERATURE OF ECOLOGICAL VISION, a UWM off-campus course taught by Jeff Poniewaz, meets Tuesdays from 6:00 to 8:40 beginning Jan. 22 at Shorewood High School on Oakland & Capital. For enrollment info call 229–6209.

This introductory survey will explore some of the key examples of nature writing which also qualify as great literature, including breakthrough texts conducive to resolving the conflict between the human realm and the natural world- a conflict that threatens human life as well as the overall vital diversity of life-forms on this rare life-sustaining planet. We will read and discuss selections from Thoreau, Whitman, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey and others. This course features a special section on the eco output of Beat writers.

English 247, Lec 102.
For enrollment information call 229–6209.
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Milwaukee to Host North American Urban Agricultural Conference

Organization: Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Slow Food WI Southeast
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Mary Lou Lamonda
Phone: 414–372–5136
Location: Milwaukee, WI,
Website: http://growurban.org


Milwaukee is poised to be a leader in the urban agricultural movement across North America. Join us February 28 March 1st for Pollinating Our Future; three full days of urban agricultural events.

The purpose of these events is to educate, motivate and pollinate the ideas of urban agriculture to the local and national community and become a recognized leader in urban agriculture in the North American continent. An excellent representation of national and international leaders will be presenting to local and national participants (over 500) on the power of urban agriculture to create economic development, build community, create a healthier eco-system, and increase food security in our communities.

Activities include

  • Two day production workshop for potential or existing urban farmers (SPIN Farming)
  • Training on Developing Food Policy Councils by Community Food Security Coalition
  • Tours of local urban agricultural initiatives
  • Composting and Vermiculture Workshop at Growing Power
  • 4th Street Forum; ,Milwaukee Public TV, Channel 10, live audience: The future of urban agriculture
  • Opening Celebration at the Domes Conservatory Park, WI Slow Food Chefs prepare local foods for and regional feast. Meet writer, photographer, urban farmer, Michael Ableman, and enjoy live music and ethnic dancers.
  • Full day of workshops and forums by national and local presenters on the successes of urban agriculture and how to address the barriers to urban agriculture.
  • Town Hall Meeting and regional foods prepared for a closing celebratory dinner.

This is an opportunity to bring local leaders, urban planners and activists, farmers and potential farmers, consumers, chefs, educators and researchers, entrepreneurs and organizations together for creative thought and positive actions to promote urban agriculture.

Please check out the presenters and the schedule.
Website http://growurban.org

Contact [email protected], (414–372–5136) to arrange interviews with presenters or community partners.

Michael Fields Agricultural Institute- http://www.michaelfieldsaginst.org
Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast - http://www.slowfoodwise.org
Kitchen Table Project
Milwaukee County Parks-Mitchell Park Domes
Fondy Food Center www.fondymarket.org
Growing Power www.growingpower.org
UW Cooperative Extension www.uwex.edu
Sixteenth Street Community Health Center www.sschc.org
Community Food Security Coalition www.foodsecurity.org
Milwaukee, Office of Environmental Sustainability - http://www.city.milwaukee.gov
Urban Ecology Center - www.urbanecologycenter.org
MUAN, Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network - www.mkeurbanag.org



There is a quiet revolution stirring in our food system. It is not happening so much on the distant farms that still provide us with the majority of our food; it is happening in cities, neighborhoods, and towns. It has evolved out of the basic need that every person has to know their food, and to have some sense of control over its safety and security. It is a revolution that is providing poor people with an important safety net where they can grow some nourishment and income for themselves and their families. And it is providing an oasis for the human spirit where urban people can gather, preserve something of their culture through native seeds and foods, and teach their children about food and the earth. The revolution is taking place in small gardens, next to railroad tracks and power lines, on rooftops, at farmers’ markets, and in the most unlikely of places. It is a movement that has the potential to address a multitude of issues: economic, environmental, personal health, and cultural.”
Michael Ableman (keynote speaker at the conference)

  • Urban agriculture addresses issues of food security in impoverished neighborhoods.
  • UA provides employment opportunities and economic growth.
  • UA creates ways to turn urban waste into a productive resource.
  • UA offers a viable strategy for a local, sustainable food system.
  • UA provides environmental restoration and remediation.
  • UA promotes the garden as a classroom for schools and communities.
  • UA offers diversity through agrarian and culinary traditions.
  • UA offers land use and city planning with green alternatives.
  • UA encourages consensus-building communities.


As the largest city in Wisconsin, Milwaukee is poised to take a strong stand for Urban Agriculture as a valuable strategy to address food needs, hunger, poverty, urban waste, a fragile ecosystem, urban planning and community development. In Milwaukee’s history, the city took the credo “Milwaukee feeds and supplies the world.” Perhaps it is time to revisit the credo as the world has changed, and cities find it difficult to healthfully feed themselves, much less the world.

Wisconsin maintains a place of leadership in the agriculture industry with the largest organic dairy operation in the country, the largest farming cooperatives and one of the oldest agricultural universities in the U.S. in the University of Wisconsin Madison. The state recently passed Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin as a funded initiative to support sustainable farming developments, eco-tourism in Wisconsin and the promotion of local food as a commitment to Wisconsin’s economy.

“To grow your own food gives you a sort of power and it gives people dignity. You know exactly what you’re eating because you grew it. It’s good, it’s nourishing and you did this for yourself, your family and your community.” Karen Washington
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Re-enchantment of Agriculture project meeting

Where: Amaranth Bakery 3329 West Lisbon, Milwaukee WI
When: Thursday Jan 10, 5:30 PM
Who: Wormfarm Institute, a not for profit organization that works to reintegrate culture and agriculture & Wisconsin Humanities Council
What: a public informational meeting

Project summary: The Re-enchantment of Agriculture will take a new look at farming in Wisconsinexamining the place where human imagination, experiments in agricultural sustainability, community well-being, and creative excitement converge. Through this project we will explore what happens at the intersection of agriculture, the humanities and the arts, and how what happens there might help us to reevaluate, illuminate, and celebrate the vital process of growing and sharing food.

This will be a statewide project in three target locations one of which is inner city Milwaukee. We are looking for project partners - individuals and organizations who are already doing something at this intersection and would like to build on it. We are also looking for agricultural groups who would be willing to collaborate with artists/ writers/ filmmakers; and arts, humanities groups interested in exploring land/food/ sustainability issues.

Timeline: fall 2008 fall 2009
Questions? Email Donna at [email protected]
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Bonobo Benefit at Coffee House, Jan 13, 7 p.m., 19th & Wisconsin, east basement entrance to Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church

Music by Embedded Reporter: “Low Brow Music for Smart People”

Milwaukee is blessed with the two world renowned protectors, Barbara Bell and Dr. Gay Reinartz, of the endangered species and our primate cousins—the bonobos! We share over 98% of our DNA inheritance with the bonobos, who have never left the primordeal forests of Africa. Milwaukee County’s Zoo and the Milwaukee Zoological society have been supporting the work of our renowned pioneers for years. The bonobos in captivity and the bonobos in Africa are profiting greatly from these efforts, recently given widespread publicity in the “Shepherd Express” and elsewhere. See http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/Bonobos/HomePage.

There will be a benefit for the bonobos at the venerable Coffee House on January 13, 7 p.m., located in the basement of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church, at 19th and Wisconsin. The benefit will feature the music of Howard Lewis’ “Embedded Reporter” and possibly Kt Rusch’s “Universal Love.” See http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/EmbeddedReporter/HomePage and http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/KtRusch/HomePage .

Donations of $5 and up will win an evening of excellent music, information about the bonobos(including a copy of the “Shepherd” cover story, to be a collectors item), and encounters with good people.

We are looking for individuals and organizations to join in the support of this event and the bonobos project in general. Sponsoring organizations and individuals will be given on-line recognition at the bonobos web site and become part of a network making history in the vital area of bonobos survival and bio-diversity organizing. Send an e-mail to [email protected] if you would like to join in!

Bonobos are social beings who enjoy one another.

She is alpha because she has groomed the best and the most.
She can best mediate “contradictions” among the monkeys.
She carries herself with a confidence and poise that wins respect.
A nod from her can spring a group of sisters into action,
In the face of an obnoxious bonobo, fancy on the outside,
But lacking interior grace.

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Literature of Ecological Vision

Below is the description of a course being offered through UWM that may interest you. Please help spread the word about this class to your ecologically-minded friends and networks:

“Literature of Ecological Vision” (English 247, Lec 102) taught by Jeff Poniewaz.

This UWM off-campus course will meet 6:00–8:40 Tuesday nights from Jan. 22 to May 8, 2008 at Shorewood High School (on Oakland and Capital Drive). This introductory survey will explore some of the key examples of nature writing which also qualify as great literature, including breakthrough texts conducive to resolving the conflict between the human realm and the natural world - a conflict that threatens human life as well as the overall vital diversity of life-forms on this rare life-sustaining planet. We will read and discuss selections from Thoreau, Whitman, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey and others, including a special section on the eco output of Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder.

The course can be audited or taken for credit.
For enrollment information call 229–6209.
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NYT Thomas Friedman on Imperative of Biodiversity w. a Focus on Indonesia’s Gibbons

Op-Ed Columnist
In the Age of Noah
Published: December 23, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, The Timess Jim Yardley reported from China that the worlds last known female Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle was living in one Chinese zoo, while the planets only undisputed, known giant soft-shell male turtle was living in another and together this aging pair were the last hope of saving a species believed to be the largest freshwater turtles in the world.

It struck me as I read that story that our generation has entered a phase that no previous generation has ever experienced: the Noah phase. With more and more species threatened with extinction by The Flood that is todays global economic juggernaut, we may be the first generation in human history that literally has to act like Noah to save the last pairs of a wide range of species.

Or as God commanded Noah in Genesis: And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

Unlike Noah, though, were also the ones causing The Flood, as more and more forests, fisheries, rivers and fertile soils are gobbled up for development. The loss of global biological diversity is advancing at an unprecedented pace, Sigmar Gabriel, Germanys environment minister, recently told the BBC. Up to 150 species are becoming extinct every day. … The web of life that sustains our global society is getting weaker and weaker.

The world is rightly focused on climate change. But if we dont have a strategy for reducing global carbon emissions and preserving biodiversity, we could end up in a very bad place, like in a crazy rush into corn ethanol, and palm oil for biodiesel, without enough regard for their impact on the natural world.

If we dont plan well, we could find ourselves with a healthy climate on a dead planet, said Glenn Prickett, senior vice president of Conservation International.

I met one of our generations Noahs here in Indonesia: Dr. Jatna Supriatna, a conservation biologist who runs Conservation Internationals Indonesia programs. One of his main projects is saving the nearly extinct Javan gibbon, a beautiful primate endemic to the Indonesian island of Java. The Javan gibbon population, decimated by deforestation, is down to an estimated 400, spread out around 20 tropical forest areas in West Java.

Mr. Supriatna helps run the Javan gibbon rehabilitation center, a collection of cages embedded in the mountains of Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, near Jakarta, where male and female gibbons which are known for their lengthy courtships, not one-night stands get to know each other over months. First, they live in forest cages side by side, then together and then, if everything works, they produce a couple of babies.

But the process is so slow, and the species so endangered, we may soon be down to the last few pairs a great loss. Watching a gibbon swing from tree limbs, ropes and bars is like watching a small ape win the Olympic gold medal in gymnastics.

The only way to head off species loss in Indonesia, the country with the most diverse combination of plants, animals and marine life in the world, is the old truism, It takes a village. So much of his work here, said Mr. Supriatna, is trying to build coalitions by melding businesses that have an interest in preserving the forest the geothermal energy investor, for example, who needs trees to maintain the watershed for his power plant with local governments, which have an interest in preventing illegal logging, with local villagers who need forests to prevent soil erosion and provide fresh water.

Environmentalists here constantly have to work against corrupt local officials, who get bought off by logging interests, and villagers who dont understand how important the forests are to their daily lives. One of his recent projects, said Mr. Supriatna, was to pipe fresh water from the forest watershed to a nearby village so people there understood the connection. Lately, he has taken his work to the imams who run the local Muslim schools.

We teach them that the source of the water comes from the mountain and the park, he said. And if the park is gone, they will not have the clean water they need for prayer rituals. If you influence the imam, he will influence all the kids.

For so many years, Indonesians, like many of us, have been taught that life is a trade-off: healthy people with lots of jobs or healthy forests with lots of gibbons you cant have both. But the truth is you have to have both. If you dont, youll eventually end up with neither, and then it will be too late even for Noah.

(This is my last column until April. I will be on leave, writing a book on energy and the environment. Happy holidays!)
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Friends of Mke’s Rivers Cheryl Nenn “Flabgbergasted” by KK Development Project

Writes Cheryl…

Thanks for the information. I’m actually flabbergasted that someone would consider that piece of land an appropriate place to build a housing development given the size and shape and location of this property, and am also confused as I’m guessing that it would be impossible to build such a structure and also provide the City recreational trail that has been planned (and funded for?). That parcel is one of the only “natural” sections left on the KK and an important part of the proposed trail and future plans to revitalize the KK. It’s one of the few natural corridors left, and is often used for educational activitieswe have 2 different citizen volunteer groups and one high school monitoring water here as well in addition to regular cleanups. I think it’s safe to say that FMR would be vehemently opposed to any development at this location.

In addition, due to the fact that the concrete channel of the river ends at around 6th street and becomes natural between 6th and Chase, this area collects considerable garbage, which requires major cleanups in both the spring and fall, and indeed in the last several years, Sixteenth Street and FMR and others have organized “crane assisted cleanups” at this location that have drawn hundreds of people (between 6th and Lincoln more or less). There is also pretty severe erosion in this whole stretch due to hydraulics of the river and the concrete to natural transition, and the bank is currently not stable throughout a big section of this same section of the river, especially between 6th and Chase. That is easily visible from walking that stretch of the river, and several large sections of culvert and pipe have also failed and fallen into the river in this stretch due to the extensive erosion. It seems that with so many vacant and underutilized properties and vacant parking lots on the south side of the City that could be used for such a development, that any building at this riverfront location would be completely inappropriate.

I would be happy to speak to Alderman Zielinski or anyone from the City who would like more information. We will definitely attend the hearing, and would be in opposition. I also suspect that many MCCC members would have concerns about this proposed project.



Cheryl Nenn
Milwaukee Riverkeeper
Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers
1845 N. Farwell Ave. Suite 100
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 2870207 ext. 29
(414) 2737293 (fax)
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Milwaukee Green Collar Jobs Corps Update

Posted by: lsweinha

Hi All,

Below is a summary of the current status of the nationwide green collar jobs corps initiative. Excellent progress, including passage of the federal energy bill which includes support. Also, more locally, Elissa Berger, the Milwaukee organizer for the program (which is being called the Milwaukee Energy Initiative) is now on the ground here. She was at our meeting last night, and will be presenting the green job corps plans for Milwaukee at our March meeting. She’ll be joined by Joe Stolzman, from the Milwaukee Workofrce Investment Corp (I think I have that right) who is heading up a summer green jobs corps program for young adults. These are both very exciting developments that hold lots of promise for Milwaukee on many levels.

Dear Green for All Family,

Thank you all for showing up to support Green For All in different ways over the last few months! We’ve been blown away by the excitement and momentum that’s building. It’s been an amazing year for the Green Collar Jobs movement, and we are just getting started.

From our launch in September at the Clinton Global Initiative, to our participation in Power Shift (an event that united over 6000 young people behind the vision of “Green Jobs, Not Jails”) we have been traveling the country sharing our dream and commitment to build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

Everywhere we go, from Washington State to Virginia, folks are overflowing with hope and enthusiasm about the possibility of an inclusive clean energy future.

Just this week, both the House and the Senate passed a National Energy Bill (H.R. 6), which includes groundbreaking legislation, co-sponsored by Reps. Hilda Solis and John Tierney in the House, and Senator Sanders and Senator Clinton in the Senate, authorizing $125 million for Green Collar Job training. This includes Green Pathways out of Poverty grants to ensure that we connect the people who most need work with work that most needs doing. And today, President Bush signed H.R. 6 into law! We are on our way to helping workers and potential workers across the country have greater opportunity in the emerging green economy.

Green For All is committed to battling pollution and poverty at the same time. This energy bill is a first step in the right direction - a down payment on a larger vision. We’re in this for the long-run, and in order to build on our momentum, we need your help and partnership.

Green for All has been awarded a $1 million challenge grant. This means every dollar you give - up to a total of $1 million - will be doubled. We have to raise $1 million in order to get the second “matching” million, and we must do it by December 31. We are over half way there, and we hope you will consider supporting our efforts during this crucial time:

We have big plans for the next year. From technical assistance, networking and field building, to public education and political advocacy, we are launching a comprehensive strategy to turn the vision of Green Collar Jobs and Green Pathways out of Poverty into a reality.

We CAN solve pollution and poverty at the same time. Please join us.

Thank you for being part of the Green for All family.

Best wishes for a healthy and peaceful holiday season,
Van, Majora, Courtney, Kristin, Ami, Alli and the entire Green for All team.

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Our Growing Power, a poem by Kt Rusch

Worms and People Unite!
From the shores of Bay View to the shores of Door County!
Rise Up Great Lakes Culture!
Realize our Growing Power!

From the ancient mound builders
To the urban farmers
Our new world soil
Has sustained thousands.

Worms, Fertile Land and People
In partnerships
Giving up a
Bountiful Harvest of
Corn, Beans and Squash
Apples, Cherries, Willow Bark
White Pines, Red Pines
A cornucopia of
Food, Fuel, Medicine and Shelter.

People Rise Up!
Get to know your food source.
Understand the land.
Learn about the worms.
The Great Lakes Basin
Holds golden treasures
Of history, culture, and gifts of Nature.
Rise Up Great Lakes Culture!
Realize our Growing Power!
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Dare to Dream of Three Generation Households

Is it possible to imagine laying plans for
A three generation household in old Milwaukee?

Where old granpa and/or olde grandma
Live in pleasant, modest, and private
But accessible quarters, in the same lot or hamlet
That mom and dad, and perhaps young children
Also live, perhaps work, and surely play?

And not necessarily just biological family hamlets.
Spiritual, cultural, artisinal, etc. “families”
Could aspire to succeed in Three Generation Households.

Say like the Polish working class neighborhoods of a century ago,
With the duplex in front, often a cottage in the back.
Where the elders helped with looking after the grandchildren,
Often cooking large meals for all 3 generations,
Maybe earning pocket change with some neighborhood service
That further connected families with clans with communities?

Can some of us children of the movements of the 60s,
Pull something like that off with our kids and grand kids?

Young elders with gardening, fix-up, cooking, cleaning,
Driving, errand-running, and child-rearing skills,
With compassionate, exuberant, kindly focused spirits
Surely are blessed with the kinds of resources
That might inspire the new generations to risk some shared fates.

Young elders with new generation partners!

If 10 percent of us did that, if 5 percent of us did that,
It would be an historic project!

What must one do to arrive at as much?

The Indiginous Peoples of North America have told me…
“Watch the animals and learn how to live.”

So watching the bonobos is high on my list.
Barbara Bell, Harry Prosen, and Gay Reinartz
Should be consulted.

Talking with family therapists about their “shop” another.
Mary Maroney, Jim Morningstar, and Roberta Hanus for the humans.

And then there is talk with my family and my friends.

Perhaps some of the three generation households
Will not be biology as destiny but rather
Freely chosen fully conscious transgenerational partnerships.
With eyes wide open!

“Shadow work” with Jung’s children.
Trips to witness possible household members
In challenging circumstances.

Baby steps and escape plans
A plenty.

And more talk with my neighbors, work and other kinds of partners.

The sweet ones!

Study the bonobos. Talk with the sweet ones.
Experiments. Baby steps.

Therein lies one path to take!

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Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honorable members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.

I have a purpose here today. It is a purpose I have tried to serve for many years. I have prayed that God would show me a way to accomplish it.

Sometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our door with a precious and painful vision of what might be. One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy inventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death. Wrongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh judgment of his life’s work, unfairly labeling him “The Merchant of Death” because of his invention - dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, the inventor made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace.

Seven years later, Alfred Nobel created this prize and the others that bear his name.

Seven years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken - if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose.

Unexpectedly, that quest has brought me here. Even though I fear my words cannot match this moment, I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly enough that those who hear me will say, “We must act.”

The distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures - a choice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: “Life or death, blessings or curses. Therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency - a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst - though not all - of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.

However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”

So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.

As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.

We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.

Last September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is “falling off a cliff.” One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.

Seven years from now.

In the last few months, it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter. Major cities in North and South America, Asia and Australia are nearly out of water due to massive droughts and melting glaciers. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods. Peoples in the frozen Arctic and on low-lying Pacific islands are planning evacuations of places they have long called home. Unprecedented wildfires have forced a half million people from their homes in one country and caused a national emergency that almost brought down the government in another. Climate refugees have migrated into areas already inhabited by people with different cultures, religions, and traditions, increasing the potential for conflict. Stronger storms in the Pacific and Atlantic have threatened whole cities. Millions have been displaced by massive flooding in South Asia, Mexico, and 18 countries in Africa. As temperature extremes have increased, tens of thousands have lost their lives. We are recklessly burning and clearing our forests and driving more and more species into extinction. The very web of life on which we depend is being ripped and frayed.

We never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never intended that dynamite be used for waging war. He had hoped his invention would promote human progress. We shared that same worthy goal when we began burning massive quantities of coal, then oil and methane.

Even in Nobel’s time, there were a few warnings of the likely consequences. One of the very first winners of the Prize in chemistry worried that, “We are evaporating our coal mines into the air.” After performing 10,000 equations by hand, Svante Arrhenius calculated that the earth&s average temperature would increase by many degrees if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Seventy years later, my teacher, Roger Revelle, and his colleague, Dave Keeling, began to precisely document the increasing CO2 levels day by day.

But unlike most other forms of pollution, CO2 is invisible, tasteless, and odorless — which has helped keep the truth about what it is doing to our climate out of sight and out of mind. Moreover, the catastrophe now threatening us is unprecedented - and we often confuse the unprecedented with the improbable.

We also find it hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now necessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient, whole societies can, at least for a time, ignore them. Yet as George Orwell reminds us: “Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

In the years since this prize was first awarded, the entire relationship between humankind and the earth has been radically transformed. And still, we have remained largely oblivious to the impact of our cumulative actions.

Indeed, without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself. Now, we and the earth’s climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: “Mutually assured destruction.”

More than two decades ago, scientists calculated that nuclear war could throw so much debris and smoke into the air that it would block life-giving sunlight from our atmosphere, causing a “nuclear winter.” Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo helped galvanize the world’s resolve to halt the nuclear arms race.

Now science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming pollution that is trapping so much of the heat our planet normally radiates back out of the atmosphere, we are in danger of creating a permanent “carbon summer.”

As the American poet Robert Frost wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice.” Either, he notes, “would suffice.”

But neither need be our fate. It is time to make peace with the planet.

We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal challenge.

These were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real or imminent; that it would affect others but not ourselves; that ordinary life might be lived even in the presence of extraordinary threat; that Providence could be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves.

No, these were calls to come to the defense of the common future. They were calls upon the courage, generosity and strength of entire peoples, citizens of every class and condition who were ready to stand against the threat once asked to do so. Our enemies in those times calculated that free people would not rise to the challenge; they were, of course, catastrophically wrong.

Now comes the threat of climate crisis - a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?

Mahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called “Satyagraha” - or “truth force.”

In every land, the truth - once known - has the power to set us free.

Truth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between “me” and “we,” creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility.

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly.

We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without collective action. At the same time, we must ensure that in mobilizing globally, we do not invite the establishment of ideological conformity and a new lock-step “ism.”

That means adopting principles, values, laws, and treaties that release creativity and initiative at every level of society in multifold responses originating concurrently and spontaneously.

This new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all humanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun’s energy for pennies or invent an engine that’s carbon negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world.

When we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the spiritual energy unleashed can transform us. The generation that defeated fascism throughout the world in the 1940s found, in rising to meet their awesome challenge, that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to launch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and a new level of global cooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of democracy and prosperity in Germany, Japan, Italy and much of the world. One of their visionary leaders said, “It is time we steered by the stars and not by the lights of every passing ship.”

In the last year of that war, you gave the Peace Prize to a man from my hometown of 2000 people, Carthage, Tennessee. Cordell Hull was described by Franklin Roosevelt as the “Father of the United Nations.” He was an inspiration and hero to my own father, who followed Hull in the Congress and the U.S. Senate and in his commitment to world peace and global cooperation.

My parents spoke often of Hull, always in tones of reverence and admiration. Eight weeks ago, when you announced this prize, the deepest emotion I felt was when I saw the headline in my hometown paper that simply noted I had won the same prize that Cordell Hull had won. In that moment, I knew what my father and mother would have felt were they alive.

Just as Hull’s generation found moral authority in rising to solve the world crisis caused by fascism, so too can we find our greatest opportunity in rising to solve the climate crisis. In the Kanji characters used in both Chinese and Japanese, “crisis” is written with two symbols, the first meaning “danger,” the second “opportunity.” By facing and removing the danger of the climate crisis, we have the opportunity to gain the moral authority and vision to vastly increase our own capacity to solve other crises that have been too long ignored.

We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community.

Fifteen years ago, I made that case at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro. Ten years ago, I presented it in Kyoto. This week, I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty that establishes a universal global cap on emissions and uses the market in emissions trading to efficiently allocate resources to the most effective opportunities for speedy reductions.

This treaty should be ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world by the beginning of 2010 - two years sooner than presently contemplated. The pace of our response must be accelerated to match the accelerating pace of the crisis itself.

Heads of state should meet early next year to review what was accomplished in Bali and take personal responsibility for addressing this crisis. It is not unreasonable to ask, given the gravity of our circumstances, that these heads of state meet every three months until the treaty is completed.

We also need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide.

And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon - with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of each nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate solutions to this crisis.

The world needs an alliance - especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where earth is in the balance. I salute Europe and Japan for the steps they’ve taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new government in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first priority.

But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters - most of all, my own country - that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.

Both countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.

These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a bright and hopeful future if we do what we must. No one should believe a solution will be found without effort, without cost, without change. Let us acknowledge that if we wish to redeem squandered time and speak again with moral authority, then these are the hard truths:

The way ahead is difficult. The outer boundary of what we currently believe is feasible is still far short of what we actually must do. Moreover, between here and there, across the unknown, falls the shadow.

That is just another way of saying that we have to expand the boundaries of what is possible. In the words of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, “Pathwalker, there is no path. You must make the path as you walk.”

We are standing at the most fateful fork in that path. So I want to end as I began, with a vision of two futures - each a palpable possibility - and with a prayer that we will see with vivid clarity the necessity of choosing between those two futures, and the urgency of making the right choice now.

The great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, “One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door.”

The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: “What were you thinking; why didn’t you act?”

Or they will ask instead: “How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?”

We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource.

So let us renew it, and say together: “We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act.”
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“Father of American Participatory Architecture, Karl Linn, “Building Commons and Community”

Insiration for Urban Barnraising and Community Gardens


Karl Linn (March 11, 1923 - February 3, 2005) was a landscape architect, psychologist, educator, and community activist, best known for inspiring and guiding the creation of “neighborhood commons” on vacant lots in East Coast inner cities during the 1960s through 1980s. Employing a strategy he called “urban barnraising,” he engaged neighborhood residents, volunteer professionals, students, youth teams, social activists, and community gardeners in envisioning, designing, and constructing instant, temporary, and permanent gathering spaces in neighborhoods, on college campuses, and at sites of major conferences and events. “Linn is considered ‘Father of American Participatory Architecture’ by many academic colleagues and architectural and environmental experts of the National Endowment for the Arts.” [1]

In the 1990s his focus shifted to creating commons in community gardens. Many of his pilot projects, designed to cultivate community and peace among people, are documented in his book Building Commons and Community, published by New Village Press in 2007.

Karl grew up on his mother’s fruit tree farm in a small village 60 miles north of Berlin. Henrietta (Henny) Rosenthal, had founded the Immenhof (literally “beekeepers farm”) in 1910, and her cherries, plums, and berries were eagerly awaited in Berlin marketplaces. The farm was also an accredited training center for gardeners and one of the first sites to practice horticultural therapy. The impact of living on a farm, and seeing his mother and other women tilling the land stayed with Karl throughout his life.

In 1921 Henny married Josef Lin, a widower with three children, whom she adopted. Josef was Chief Librarian of the Jewish Community Center in Berlin. He had edited Hakeshet (The Rainbow), the first magazine of modern Hebrew writers and poets, published from 1903 to 1906, and written a seminal reference book on the evolution of the Hebrew press, which is still used today.

The only Jews in their village, the Lins were a target for Nazi persecution. Josef was forced to flee to Palestine in 1933. Henny, Karl, and sister Bella followed in 1934 after selling the Immenhof at a small fraction of its value.

Youth in Palestine

The Lin family started a small farm near Haifa, and at age 14 Karl left school to farm and support his parents, who had become too sick to work. He returned to school later when his parents moved inland to be close to Bella and her family. Karl graduated from the Kadoori Agricultural High School, with specialization in landscape gardening. He put his skills to use as he joined 35 youth from the coeducational scout movement to found Kibbutz Maagan Michael [2]. Although inspired by the vision of creating a new homeland, Karl was sometimes puzzled and uneasy about how fellow Jews treated their Arab neighbors. At age 20, when a back injury limited his capacity to contribute physically to the work of the kibbutz, he moved to Tel Aviv to be closer to his brother Theo, who was guiding his intellectual development. There Karl directed an elementary school gardening program that engaged students in growing food for their own lunches.

Becoming a psychologist

Influenced by the writings of A. S. Neill and Wilhelm Reich, Karl entered psychoanalysis to heal his personal wounds and become a more effective human being. He was driven by a desire to understand the roots of the prejudice, brutality, and fanaticism he had observed and experienced. At age 23, he moved to Switzerland and was trained as a psychoanalyst at the Institute for Applied Psychology in Zurich. He immigrated to New York in 1948, with the goal of engaging in the new body-oriented therapy developed by Wilhelm Reich. To further his education Karl attended night classes at the New School for Social Research, studying with prominent gestalt psychologists.

Through one of his Swiss professors Karl was introduced to social psychologist Lawrence K. Frank, who became an important mentor. Ellen Reece, a friend of Frank, hired Karl as the founding director of the Reece School for emotionally disturbed children. Karl also conducted a private practice as a child psychoanalyst. After 2 years of Reichian therapy he decided to give up his work as a teacher and therapist so he could focus on his own therapeutic process. Eager to exercise his creativity he decided to re-enter landscape architecture, which he felt had potential as a healing profession.

Private practice in landscape architecture

Starting as a laborer, Karl gradually developed a landscape contracting business and later a highly respected private practice in landscape architecture. His most complex and prestigious project was designing an interior landscape for The Four Seasons Restaurant in the newly constructed Seagram Building [3]. His ground-breaking work helped pave the way for the emerging field of large-scale interior landscape architecture. He designed landscapes for affluent owners of residential and corporate properties in and around Manhattan and along the Eastern seaboard. Despite critical acclaim, access to the highest quality materials, and the satisfaction of designing beautiful spaces, he was increasingly disturbed by the isolation of nuclear families that his designs reinforced and disheartened by the declining social relevance of his work.

Professor of environmental design

In 1959 he decided to accept the invitation of Ian McHarg to join the Landscape Architecture department at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, as the second full-time faculty member. While McHarg was expanding landscape architecture by developing the science of physical ecology and applying it to regional planning, Karl focused on the small-scale neighborhood environment, probing the intimate and qualitative relationships between people of all ages and their physical surroundings. Karl’s innovative curriculum for the first-year graduate students engaged them as artists and philosophers, as craftspersons, and as social activists.

Wishing to nurture the development of livable neighborhood communities Karl took his students into inner city neighborhoods where they provided community design-and-build service to the economically disenfranchised residents. Using a participatory process they engaged residents with volunteer professionals and work teams in envisioning, designing, and constructing “neighborhood commons” — combination park / playground / community gathering places on derelict vacant lots. Karl likened this “urban barnraising” to his experience as a young man in Palestine collaboratively building a kibbutz.

While at Penn, Karl developed a strong friendship with architect Louis Kahn, a fellow professor, who became another important mentor and supporter. When the dean argued that Karl was confusing landscape architecture with social service, Kahn wrote him a letter explaining the value of Karl’s approach to the students’ development. Social philosopher Lewis Mumford was another Penn professor who encouraged Karl in his work.

The success of community-design-service education led Karl to found and direct pioneering community design-and-build centers, which became models for the Domestic Peace Corps — the Neighborhood Renewal Corps Nonprofit Corporation of Philadelphia in 1961 and the Neighborhood Commons Nonprofit Corporation of Washington, D.C. in 1962. That same year he also developed the first landscape technicians training program for high school dropouts in Washington, D.C. Thereafter he inspired into being community design-and-build centers in eight other cities, and conducted community-design-service-education programs at various universities in the United States and abroad.

For the next twenty-five years Karl served on the faculties of prominent universities, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology, promoting community landscape design and resource development in the service of social justice and peace. He was active in the American Society of Landscape Architects and gave lectures and workshops at conferences and universities throughout the world.

Mentors reflecting on Karl’s work

“He [Karl] is not merely a theorist, but a maker bent on expressing environmental validity through his natural adjustability and resourcefulness. His design tendencies are noble. He is often forced to use frugal means, but always rejects what is done through design only for design’s sake.” —Louis I. Kahn, architect, 1967

“If Karl Linn can get his ideas recognized and applied, I believe we can have a profound improvement in city living and a reduction in the present untoward consequences of urban development which so completely overlooks children and youth and forgets about providing for people to live and enjoy living.” —Lawrence K. Frank, social psychologist, Belmont, Massachusetts, 1962 (Letter to Editor, published in Landscape Architecture.)

“I am delighted with the vigorous ways you are challenging current clichs, not only in theory but in practice. I can plainly see, in the work you are doing, the fresh shoots that will flower in a new age.” —Lewis Mumford, social philosopher and urban planner, 1961

Working for peace

During his sabbatical in 1984, Karl worked full-time for nuclear disarmament. In Chicago, he collaborated with colleagues from a number of different cities to found the national organization Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) [4] and served as chair of its Committee on Education. In 1986 the urgency of that work convinced him to take an his early retirement from his tenured position at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Drawing upon the “Despair and Empowerment” process developed by Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy and her colleagues, Karl worked with groups of students and colleagues to stage conferences and other events to help members come to grips emotionally with the threat of nuclear war. They designed and constructed temporary indoor commons to humanize large institutional spaces and provide a welcoming space for participants could gather to share thoughts, feelings, and stories and give one another support. Karl organized many charettes for the design of peace centers, gardens, and monuments and staged ceremonial peace tree plantings. At the 1986 annual meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects in San Francisco he and colleagues created a program and small book called “The Emerging Landscape of Peace.” They called on the organization to approve a policy recommending a nuclear-free future, which was passed by the Board. At the 1988 Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects in Boston, Karl recruited 20 colleagues to present papers at workshops on “Places for Peace” and published them in a book by that name.
Community garden commons on the West Coast

After glasnost initiated by Michael Gorbachev lessened the threat of nuclear holocaust, Karl moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1989 he collaborated with architect Carl Anthony, a long-time friend and colleague to found the Urban Habitat Program, initially sponsored by Earth Island Institute.[5] Urban Habitat’s mission was to develop multicultural environmental leadership and restore inner-city neighborhoods. Linn had previously inspired Anthony to coordinate the creation of a neighborhood commons in Harlem in 1963, and Anthony credits Linn with advocating for environmental justice two decades before the field had a name.[6] Karl served on the boards of San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners and Berkeley Partners for Parks and on the steering committee of Berkeley’s Community Gardening Collaborative. He helped found East Bay Urban Gardeners and the People of Color Greening Network.

Karl often spoke and wrote about the need to reclaim the commons and counter the ongoing privatization of public lands. He viewed the destruction of community gardens in New York City as the final enclosure of the commons. He believed strongly that guidelines to secure public land for community gardens should be incorporated in cities’ general plans as was done in Seattle. He worked hard to include such guidelines in Berkeley’s General Plan, convinced that through the creation and use of accessible community garden commons, neighborhood blocks can become arenas for a new kind of extended family living.

In 1993, for his 70th birthday, a community garden in north Berkeley was dedicated in his name to honor his lifelong service to community and peace [7]. During the next two years Karl worked with volunteer wood artists, landscape architecture students, and AmeriCorps teams to revitalize the garden and add a handcrafted commons. With an overflowing wait list for plots in the refurbished Karl Linn Community Garden, he set his sights on a large weed-filled vacant lot across the street where the light rail tracks of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) enter an underground tunnel. In 1995 he and City Council representative Linda Maio began to negotiate with BART for use of the land. Karl proceeded to coordinate the envisioning, planning, and construction of the Peralta and Northside Community Art Gardens, where ecological innovations and works of art intermingle with lush vegetation. The circular commons of the Peralta Garden, surrounded by a mosaic Snake Bench and colorful native California plants, is widely used for meetings, workshops, and special events by neighbors and organizations.

Karl was actively involved in a local Jewish-Palestinian dialog group, which used the Peralta Commons for some of their activities, including the planting of a peace pole and dedication of the garden as a peace park. [8]

In 1999, Karl collaborated with community and environmental activists, city officials, and other supporters to establish Berkeley’s EcoHouse, purchasing a small run-down residence adjacent to the Karl Linn Community Garden and transforming it into a model of affordable ecological technologies. [9] EcoHouse is now a project of the Ecology Center.

The same year Karl conceptualized the transformation of the nearby section of the Ohlone Greenway into an interpretive exhibit of the natural and cultural history of the area. Artists, teachers, designers, engineers, and native plant restorationists worked tirelessly to develop and construct exhibits that evoke the Spanish ranchero period, the agricultural era, and the rich culture of the Ohlone people, who inhabited the area for at least 10,000 years. A 24-yard-long mural “From Elk Tracks to BART Tracks” depicts the history of the neighborhood from pre-settlement to the present, serving as an enormous picture book and inspiring passers-by to stop, reflect, and converse.

This cluster of commons projects contributes to the social and ecological vitality of the Westbrae neighborhood and is maintained and developed by the volunteer Friends of the Westbrae Commons.


Building Commons and Community publisher’s description(2007 Oakland: New Village Press) (published posthumously)

“Reclaiming the Sacred Commons” link to article (1999 New Village Journal, Issue 1)

Documentation of Karl Linn’s life and work

In 2003 award-winning filmmaker Rick Bacigalupi released his hour-long documentary “A Lot in Common” (http://www.ALotinCommon.com) chronicling the planning and construction of the Peralta Community Art Garden and Commons. The film, which includes commentary by Karl and by Paul Hawken, Ray Suarez, Jane Jacobs, Carl Anthony, and British scholar David Crouch, has aired on public television stations nationally in the United States, film festivals internationally, and Free Speech Television. It is distributed by Bullfrog Films (http://www.BullfrogFilms.com).

On February 3, 2005 Karl died at home of acute mylogenous leukemia. His widow, Nicole Milner, continues to support the local commons projects Karl inspired and the website, karllinn.org, which records his life and work and provides a forum for creators of commons to share their projects. Karl’s oral history was recorded by the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, and his archives are housed at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design. Many of his projects are documented in his book Building Commons and Community, published by New Village Press in 2007.[10]

External links

  • Karl Linn Website: Building community through environment ([1])
  • “Karl Linn: Down-to-earth visionary” by Marilyn Berlin Snell, Sierra Magazine, May-June, 2001 ([2])
  • Life and work of Karl Linn — text and networking resources and “Karl Linn’s Journey: A Digital Media Biography” by Verona Fonte ([3])
  • Karl Linn’s oral history by Lisa Rubens of the Bancroft Library Regional Oral History Office ([4])
  • Excerpts from and information about Rick Bacigalupi’s documentary film on the creation of the Peralta Community Art Garden Commons

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Interview with Barbara Bell, World Renowned Bonobo Trainer/Keeper at Milwaukee County Zoo

Godsil. Milwaukee has recently discovered that you are the main care provider of the largest group of bonobos in captivity on the planet earth. Might you share some of the story as to how it happened that you are the main care provider of the largest group of bonobos in captivity on the planet earth?

Barbara Bell. I always find it funny when people say I care for the largest group on earth. I always have to stop and think “really?!!!” I don’t count heads. I just count the players in the troop. Some are the shakers and movers, some are just there hanging out. Some are very much involved in the politics, some are not. Right now I do have a lot of players in the troop, because many of my kids are now becoming adults. Once the males hit the pubescent years it can be a living hell for a long time. That is where I am right now. Bonobo hell!

I started out with just 4 bonobos a very long time ago. We quickly added 3 more, then another 2, then a few more, etc. Most had problems and nobody else wanted to take them on. Problems such as diabetes, cardiac disease, reproductive problems, behavioral issues. Many of the bonobos have had a rough time in the world-you can see it in their eyes when they first come to me. They have a very dull look that tells us that this bonobo is just worn out mentally and maybe physically very sick inside. Milwaukee is like a foster home that finally provides stable care for the individual. In that stable world the bonobo blossoms. Along with that comes a staff of incredible ape keepers, wonderful veterinarians who really “listen” to the bonobo and the keepers.

We got a reputation for having good luck with problem bonobos. Many of these individuals were not problematic at all, they just needed a very secure world, good care, compassionate and empathic humans, proactive medical care, and an education from the bonobos already living here. Many of the long time resident bonobos will quickly identify a special needs bonobo and slowly start to educate them as to proper bonobo culture. Once they catch on to bonobo etiquette/culture/social graces, then the world becomes a whole lot nicer for them. When a bonobo comes to me it can take about 2–5 years for them to give up their old baggage and start to enjoy life here at MCZ(Milwaukee County Zoo). Life here is really very good for them. Sure they will fight and argue with each other, but so do we humans. Sometimes the fights get very rough and some individuals will hold a grudge for years. Other times it will “poof” be gone in a heartbeat. Ya just never know.

Bonobos are very high octane, happy, whimsical, and very loyal to those who are faithful and loyal to them. I like that quality a lot. They remember people from long ago, friends from 20 years ago. I think that is very cool. So much for now. Talk to you later.

Godsil. Might you offer some examples of what happens when bonobos “educate” special needs bonobos. How do bonobos educate one another?

Barbara Bell.All living species have a culture. That culture in the bonobo world is very complex and has many subtle cues that can be easily missed. Baby bonobos learn the culture by riding on their mother’s back for many years. They watch, the imitate, and they practice being an adult. Just like us humans, much learning occurs during play. In kindergarten we all play and do many social activities. During this “kindergarten time” in the bonobo culture, the youngsters are rapidly absorbing bonobo etiquette. Sounds very simple and natural huh?

Now, when that very natural upbringing is ruined by either human intervention or some other traumatic event, the groundwork for learning is shattered. Sometimes an ape baby needs to be raised by the humans because of a serious illness, death of the mother, an injury, etc. It is critical that the baby gets back into a bonobo troop as fast as possible to learn the bonobo culture. Otherwise that bonobo starts to behave more human like and is not easily accepted by the bonobo troop. Unfortunately we have many bonobos in the captive population that have been human reared. These individuals have a hard time fitting in to the normal troop setting.

Here at MCZ we do seem to have quite a few individuals that are very accepting of those with disabilities such as: behavioral problems, physical abnormalities, etc. I try to pair up the handicapped bonobo with a “mentor” in the troop. They get protection, help, love, and a chance to slowly learn the ropes. I also give the problem bonobo time alone to regroup mentally, eat a good meal, and to watch the group in action from a safe spot. By observing the family interactions, much can be learned. I also pair up the individual with lots of kid bonobos. Through play, much is learned. Even adults need to go back to the play phase of life before they can fast forward to normal adult behavior.

Even after an individual has become socially educated, they can pay a high price from the established troop members for crossing a social line. For example, one 25 year old male who came to me after living alone for 10 years, dared to grab a mango from the food pile. Low ranking males simply do not do this. The females grabbed him and brutally beat him up. It was a swift punishment for a rule broken. He never did that again!! These lessons seem very harsh, but I think that nature can be very harsh. In the wild survival depends on everyone cooperating and working as a team. My goal is to provide the proper set up for the handicapped bonobo to learn, thrive, not get hurt, and to eventually be a participating member of the bonobo group.
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Reenchantment of Agriculture Gathering at Amaranth Bakery on 34th & Lisbon, Wed. Dec. 12, 5:30 p.m.


We are having an informal meeting at Amaranth Cafe on Lisbon and 34th St. on Wed Dec 12 at 5:30. We’ll be introducing The Re-enchantment of Agriculture - Milwaukee edition - please pass on to anyone you think might be interested - this will be a general info meeting and were looking for interdisciplinary project partners.
Questions: email Donna - [email protected]

Brief overview:

Re-enchantment of Agriculture - a new look at farming in Wisconsinexamining the place where human imagination, experiments in agricultural sustainability, community well-being, and creative excitement converge. Through this project we will explore what happens at the intersection of agriculture, the humanities and the arts, and how what happens there might help us to reevaluate, illuminate, and celebrate the vital process of growing and sharing food.

Hope to see you
Donna Neuwirth
Wormfarm Institute
DonnaNeuwirth<[email protected]>

Greening Shorewood Charrette to Transform 2 Acre Parking Lot into Demonstration City Farm

Last night about 25 citizens were privileged to participate in a design charrette led by 3 Shorewood High School seniors and Professor of Architecture Mark Keane.

Kim Forbeck will be the point person for people interested in helping create an urban agriculture demonstration project, water harvesting and rooftop gardens, and hopefully wind and solar energy sources.
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Naming the digester

Godsil, The Beginning

Hey Mark,

I’m thinking about making the Anaerobic Digester a separate platform On the side bar of the MkeRen site, e.g. “Projects of the Moment,” But did not know what name you wished used.

The link with “Growing Power” gives the project added power, so my first thought was Heffernan’s Growing Power Anaerobic Digester Project.

What is your choice, which will trump mine!



I really don’t know what to call the project but cringe at it having my name personally on it, because I think this gets too possessive and fails to give it a community development feeling. It is not the exclusive property of Growing Power but is closely associated with GP since we are on their site. Perhaps the best thing is to call it out by the name we have been using for the process or by a process description and give it the Growing Power location. So it would sound something like High Solids Two-Phase Anaerobic Digestion at Growing Power… or High Solids Food Waste Digestion at Growing Power….or Food Waste To Energy at Growing Power…..or Food Waste Renewable Energy Conversion at Growing Power….or Renewable Energy From Food Waste at Growing Power…..these kinds of titles sort of give an idea of this thing that is going on at Growing Power and leave open the possibility of many other things going on or to come at GP.

Janine Arseneau

here’s my rapid response: growing power at Growing Power: transforming food waste to renewable energy

and here’s my recommendation: ask a kid…find some youngsters who’ve toured GP and have had a chance to see the anaerobic digester. They will have a simple, direct name for what they’ve seen. One kid who was on a tour a few weeks ago called it “the big loud eating machine that makes energy out of leftovers.” I think he’ll be asking Santa for one of his own.

David Boucher

I haven’t the slightest! I have known it as the anaerobic digester at GP…. If there were to be an on-line exercise to name it, I would suggest electronically corralling those involved to come up with their suggestions and winnow the list to 3 or so and vote on it!

Jon Bales

I refer to it as “the anaerobic digester at Growing Power”. “It digests anything the way your stomach does.”

Sura Faraj

all too wordy, in my opinion. no one knows what an anaerobic digester is. sounds technical, industrial. need a name more people-friendly. fun, imaginative, evocative. how about something simple, incorporating the function and part of the growing power name. churning power? or something like that.
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Growing Food & Justice for All

Growing Food and Justice for All
A National Initiative

Abstract July 18, 2007


The Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative, hosted by Growing Power, Inc. is an new comprehensive network that views dismantling racism as a core principal that brings together social change agents from diverse sectors working to bring about new, healthy and sustainable food systems and supporting and building multicultural leadership in impoverished communities throughout the world.

Growing Powers vision for this initiative is to establish a powerful network of individuals, organizations and community based entities all working toward a food secure and just world. This initiative will support the following:

  • Annual conference/summit designed to share information, strategies and to build a collective platform for the year
  • Support local, national and international networking sessions between members
  • Establish a voice and presence in the formation of policies that support justice, economic opportunity and equity reflecting the values and integrity of GFJI members
  • Provide administrative support for members to host dismantling racism, policy building and technical assistance
  • Host monthly teleconference calls for committees
  • Publish quarterly newsletter that features information on dR, social justice and policy and information relevant to members (opportunity for members to promote programs, activities, etc
  • Establish website for initiative
  • Hire full time initiative administrator
  • Contract dR training team

History & Scope

The organizing of the GFJA Initiative reflects the need for innovative and genuine leadership in the development of a sustainable, community based food systems movement. The founding members of the initiative are the practitioners of sustainable food systems work: mainly farmers, marketers and other workers who are building new, local systems. Some are familiar with coalition and advocacy work at the national and international levels, while others are new to large-scale initiatives. This initiative strives to outreach to other parallel social justice movements and build solidarity and multidisciplinary support, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.s philosophy of building Beloved Community.

The principal objective of the GFJA network is to create support for the local work that is already underway throughout North America, employing a from-the-ground-up strategy to build power for broad food systems change across the world.

Vision: to work together with a shared vision of dismantling racism via network building, shared leadership, economic growth and community food systems

  • Every neighborhood in low-income communities and communities of color has full access to fresh, healthy, local, affordable, culturally appropriate food every day through a variety of retail channels ranging from farmers markets to locally-owned small corner stores and supermarkets.

  • In every neighborhood in low-income communities and communities of color the residents of the neighborhood own and operate the small businesses that produce, distribute and sell the fresh, healthy food consumed in the neighborhood

  • Through ownership and operation of the local food system, every neighborhood in low-income communities and communities of color provides opportunity for its children to develop business skills and leadership capacity offering hope that each child, every family and the community itself can achieve its self-determined destiny


You are invited to join a new multicultural initiative aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture.

Growing Power, Inc., a non-profit organization and land trust supporting the creation of food-secure communities, is hosting GFJI monthly teleconference calls (see www.growingpower.org for more info) while the initiative is in it’s formation process.

You dont have to be directly involved in sustainable agriculture or food security work to participate in the network. We are inviting you to join because of your exceptional leadership and your vision for our communities, local and global. We want you to come away with the physical and spiritual tools, material and non-material resources that you need to elevate your work to another level.

We also want you to acquire the training and special tools needed to begin dismantling racism in the work that you do. This is a belated aspect of social justice work that we must develop if truly multicultural leadership is to develop.

Please refer to the steering document attached that contains a set of core principals, mission and vision for GFJI. We hope to have your feedback and your participation in the initiative.

Will Allen, Growing Power, Inc.
To be added to the growing_foodjustice listserv and for additional questions contact:
Diane Dodge
listserv administrator
Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative
email: [email protected]
cell: (651)278–6748
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5-year-old chimp beats college kids in computer game

NEW YORK (AP) - Think you’re smarter than a fifth-grader? How about a 5-year-old chimp? Japanese researchers pitted young chimps against human adults in tests of short-term memory, and overall, the chimps won.

That challenges the belief of many people, including many scientists, that “humans are superior to chimpanzees in all cognitive functions,” said researcher Tetsuro Matsuzawa of Kyoto University.

“No one can imagine that chimpanzees - young chimpanzees at the age of 5 - have a better performance in a memory task than humans,” he said in a statement.

Matsuzawa, a pioneer in studying the mental abilities of chimps, said even he was surprised. He and colleague Sana Inoue report the results in Tuesday’s issue of the journal Current Biology.

One memory test included three 5-year-old chimps who’d been taught the order of Arabic numerals 1 through 9, and a dozen human volunteers.

They saw nine numbers displayed on a computer screen. When they touched the first number, the other eight turned into white squares. The test was to touch all these squares in the order of the numbers that used to be there.

Results showed that the chimps, while no more accurate than the people, could do this faster.

One chimp, Ayumu, did the best. Researchers included him and nine college students in a second test.

This time, five numbers flashed on the screen only briefly before they were replaced by white squares. The challenge, again, was to touch these squares in the proper sequence.

When the numbers were displayed for about seven-tenths of a second, Ayumu and the college students were both able to do this correctly about 80 percent of the time.

But when the numbers were displayed for just four-tenths or two-tenths of a second, the chimp was the champ. The briefer of those times is too short to allow a look around the screen, and in those tests Ayumu still scored about 80 percent, while humans plunged to 40 percent.

That indicates Ayumu was better at taking in the whole pattern of numbers at a glance, the researchers wrote.

“It’s amazing what this chimpanzee is able to do,” said Elizabeth Lonsdorf, director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The center studies the mental abilities of apes, but Lonsdorf didn’t participate in the new study.

She admired Ayumu’s performance when the numbers flashed only briefly on the screen.

“I just watched the video of that and I can tell you right now, there’s no way I can do it,” she said. “It’s unbelievable. I can’t even get the first two (squares).”

What’s going on here? Even with six months of training, three students failed to catch up to the three young chimps, Matsuzawa said in an e-mail.

He thinks two factors gave his chimps the edge. For one thing, he believes human ancestors gave up much of this skill over evolutionary time to make room in the brain for gaining language abilities.

The other factor is the youth of Ayumu and his peers. The memory for images that’s needed for the tests resembles a skill found in children, but which dissipates with age. In fact, the young chimps performed better than older chimps in the new study. (Ayumu’s mom did even worse than the college students).

So the next logical step, Lonsdorf said, is to fix up Ayumu with some real competition on these tests: little kids.
View original article for pictures, tests and other additions
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What Should Milwaukee Do With Its Leaves?

David Boucher Seeks DPW On-Line Brainstorm re Leaves, Composting, Jobs, 30th St. Rail Corridor

From my perspective, (within a few blocks of the 30th St rail corridor) this sounds like a wonderful potential opportunity for many reasons aside from all the environmental ones that I wont belabor here;

  1. If conceived and located along the corridor, the employment opportunities alone would mitigate the costs of startup over 5 years.
  2. It is central, and it is along the rail line, if the project expanded to utilize that mode of transport.
  3. Those who might help fund such things have spent much more on consultants alone over such periods of time so I suspect something more tangible would be a welcome change. ($50k/yr for 5 yrs).

That being said, I grew up listening to the debates over storage of wood chips for a chip-burning power plant in Vermont. Complaints over the smell were many and often.

I look forward to continuing this discussion - perhaps engaging those in DPW and elsewhere?

Dave Boucher

Mary Beth Driscoll Reports on Milwaukee Leaf Composting

I just wanted to let you know that last spring I researched the possibility of creating soil using the City’s leaves. We’d need a lot more space than just a vacant lot - and we’d need a whole lot of funding.

It turns out that the City has a long term contract to sell the leaves (at $40/ton) to Waste Management who takes them to a site in Germantown & after composting, sells them to Miracle Grow. If we were able to convince the City to terminate its contract
with Waste Management (who is running out of space at its Germantown facility) there is a very, very significant cost for start-up.

We (Nancy Aten and Sandy Syburg of White Oaks Farm and myself) were looking at using the city’s residual leaves to make soil for the Menomonee Valley development in the west end. Sandy has been involved in a number of these projects and he estimated that it would take 7 - 10 acres for the operations. We would probably need concrete underfootings to allow for a tractor to turn the compost. It would take about $250K in startup costs to be able to manufacture enough topsoil for 25 acres, and approximately $750,000 to be able to process all the City’s residual leaves. In our discussions, we though that the 30th St Industrial Corridor is where we would probably have to turn for sufficient space. Not sure where that “leaves” us. It would be a big dream to be able to manufacture good topsoil.
Mary Beth

Tegan Dowling

You know, I always think (and try not to worry) about other shit (literal and figurative shit) mixed in with the leaves. How could we be sure we were not adding all manner of nasty gutter-trapped chemicals and materials, along with our delightful leaf-compost?


Oil from cars is likely to be a concern with leaves that are raked into the street. Perhaps with a pragmatic composting ordinance most of the leaves could be composted in or near the yards in which they fall.

It would be wrong to think of the leaves as “organic.” Some of them would come from yards where the “old school” lawn services and/or ill advised home owners have been spreading/spraying poison all over the lawns. No doubt some of it finds its way into the tissue of the trees. It certainly finds its way into our waterways.

The notion of using composted gutter leaves only for flowers seems like a sound suggestion, short of sophisticated testing for hazardous substances.

Some trash will break down in the compost. The stuff that doesn’t break down can be sifted out.

Rodents would starve eating tree leaves. No self-respecting rodent would waste the time unless there are food scraps in the pile as well. Of course there may be seeds and nuts, which are on the mouse menu, but if the compost gets cooking and is turned regularly, the climate will be inhospitable.

Nicole Bickham

What an irony that the city’s fertility gets sold off to a synthetic fertilizer company…

My thought is that the scale of operation described - 7–10 acres with concrete underfootings, tractors turning the compost, etc. - is a rather “industrial” solution to the problem, which of course isn’t actually a problem at all. (As a permaculturist would say, “The problem is the solution.”)

Perhaps another option to consider is to educate people about recycling leaves where they fall - either mowing them into the lawn, using them to mulch gardens, or composting them on site. Perhaps a smaller amount of leaves could be diverted for special projects like new community gardens. Otherwise aren’t we just taking what should be a valuable resource, and concentrating it so that it actually becomes a liability? (Same problem with municipal sewage treatment, but that’s another story…) Not that all those leaves wouldn’t make great soil… but at what cost, in terms of energy?

Mary Beth Driscoll

Your thought are on target, yes - people should leave their leaves where they are and improve their own soil, but unfortunately most don’t. We were looking at the issue because a large amount of topsoil is needed for the clean up of the Menomonee Valley, and buying it is such an expense that we were brainstorming how to manufacture it by turning a current waste byproduct into something valuable. So yes, it was becoming an industrial sized project.
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Heffernan’s/Growing Power’s Anaerobic Digester Project Seeks Volunteer “Thoughtful Shovelers”

I am up to almost one ton per day of brewer’s mash feed to the digester and next week hope to be over a ton with additional materials coming from the food waste. When I get to two tons per day and stay at that feed rate for a couple weeks I will have proved all I need to prove for this first demonstration of the technology and will shut down.

If you know of people who will want to see the digester running before the shut-down please try to get them to come visit before the end of the year.

Our results have been quite good. No other operation is feeding this kind of feed at this solids content and on a continuous flow basis. Our Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA)production is as good or better than most all other digesters in the world. And soon we will be at levels unprecedented in industry. And we are doing so with damn little money and not the best of front end processing equipment.

I could use a helper to work with me till the end of the year. The position is for an unpaid intern whose effort will be recorded should they want to become part of the worker owned engineering company we will form as the digestion technology moves to full scale commercial.

Kind regards,

Mark Heffernan
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The Gift that Keeps on Giving


My friend Godsil, co-founder of the Milwaukee Renaissance, wrote a draft for a Holiday Gift, a City Farm Startup Kit for Spring 2008. Godsil is a board member of Growing Power and is the person who inspired me to get into the home model of Growing Power. However his draft kit did not mention worms or worm-related components like worm condos or a worm depository (see picture). Worms are at the heart of Growing Power. When I mentioned that to him he suggested that I draft my own Startup Kit, based on my experiences the last two years in applying the Growing Power model to home and garden. It is much too early for me to talk about Holiday gifts, but since some components of this kit need immediate attention here goes: the first part of the kit. More will follow and by the Friday after Thanksgiving, the official start of the Holiday buying spree, I should have it finished. The entire kit should be posted on the Growing Renewable Affordable Food GRAF site as it unfolds.

Parts of this startup kit will have two versions; one will be for those who want to give our GP home model garden to themselves or another at the most extremely affordable price, and the other version, in parentheses ( ), will be for those who want to purchase some of the ingredients or components.

All the steps apply whether your garden is a few pots on your deck, in a window box, or in an outside garden, small or large. Only the dimensions vary. The rest is the same old, same old. Also I will try to use terms that everyone is familiar with or that can be found in the Glossary.

Step 1: Making soil

(Part of this step can be skipped if one wishes to purchase already made compost from Growing Power at $75 a square yard, about three wheel-barrows full.)

You need to gather, as soon as possible or add to an existing pile, the ingredients for compost. You will need some space outside that gets plenty of air, rain and snow, but is somewhat blocked-off, like with chicken wire, fencing or something. The ingredients of compost are 75% Carbon and 25% nitrogen. Carbon is wood chips (free from the city dump), leaves (free everywhere), shredded paper, torn up cardboard and such. Nitrogen is kitchen scraps (no meat or dairy products) overripe vegetables and fruits from grocery stores or markets, coffee grounds from coffee shops, brewers waste from a brewery, garden waste from this year like grass or plants and such. Gathering the ingredients will cost you time and transportation but they are all easily available at no cost.

Since you are going to leave the compost to cook over the winter you can put it in layers on your compost pile, making sure the bottom and top layer are always carbon. This will keep critters away from your compost. To speed things up a little you may want to use a pitchfork to mix up the pile occasionally, until the pile is frozen.

If you already have a compost pile started you might just want to add to it and to add some worms, free from Growing Power to good worm owners. The worms will work during the winter, eating the compost and making the bottom of the pile a castings-enriched compost. If you are using worms make sure there is a thick coat of wood chips and/or leaves on top. This will freeze and the worms will be warm and cozy inside (see above picture).

(If you purchase already-cooked compost from Growing Power you may want to ask them for some free worms.) When spring comes you will want to turn this compost pile over, the bottom being enriched compost for the garden and the top being the bottom of a new pile of compost.

As my Italian wife says of basil: You can never have too much. This applies to compost. When the ingredients of the compost pile break down (cook), the remaining pile will be only of its original size.

So step one is to purchase or gather compost now. Total cost so far is $0 or $75. For more information on this Gift of a GP Home Garden you can check the Diary of a Worm or GRAF web pages.

Step 2: Seeds and Castings

This is part two of the article about creating a Growing Power gift that I started last week. Now that you have the ingredients for Growing Soil, it is time to purchase, gather, or make the rest of The Gift that Keeps on Giving. The next part of the gift is something that you will need to purchase for the garden, and that can be a gift to wrap for under your tree, which is the seeds. You can purchase seeds from Growing Power, a garden store, or from one of the many seed catalogs. The catalog I used, originally recommended to be by Will Allen at Growing Power, is Johnnys Selected Seeds. They can be reached on the web at www.johnnyseeds.com or by phone at 800/7386314. What seeds you order depends on a number of factors: 1) Your tastes and interests or those of the person you are giving the gift to; 2) Your growing space or that of the person you are giving the gift to. It could range from one large pot on the deck, to a small garden, to a large garden. My suggestions for the GP garden beginner is to stick with the easy and fast-growing items: lettuce mixes, green mixes, certain herbs like basil and mints and some vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, squashes, cucumbers, peppers etc. depending on taste, conditions, room and soil. My experience with making your own soil is that even using the same soil and same seeds, two plants will grow differently, because of conditions, in two gardens. This year I gave Dawn of the DMZ Garden Co-op some of the same soil for mounds and the same zucchini seedlings I used, yet hers were many times more fruitful than mine. Discovering what seeds to buy, when to plant them, and where, is a learning experience and part of the gift.

The second part of part two is a Worm Condo. I am a firm believer that every garden, big or small, should have a worm condo. This is the outside box, big or small, where the livestock, the worms, eat the compost you make and turn it into the black gold of castings. These castings are the black rich soil, full of living organisms, that so enriches the seeds that you can plant a lot in a small space. You can see a picture of a worm condo and some instructions at Worm Condo. Build a large or small one from scrap wood. Make sure you leave cracks between the boards on the bottom of the box so the water that seeps through the compost and castings can drain. The box built in my yard is square but the back legs are higher than the front. By using plastic stapled on the box it drains toward the front where it can be collected in a container. The water, now tea, can be put back into the box or used to waster plants. Depending on the material used, scrap or new, and depending on ones skills to construct it, this part of the gift could cost from $0 to $50.

So in this Part II of the Gift that Keeps on Giving we have the seeds and castings-enriched or tea-enriched, fertile soil that we need for a Growing Power home model garden.

Step 3: Resources

This is part three of the Growing Power Gift - The Gift that Keeps on Giving article that was started a few weeks ago. In Part One you discovered the ingredients for Growing Soil. In Part Two you discovered the seeds and worm-enriched soil and organic fertilizer you need for a Growing Power home model garden. In Part 3 you will find components and advice to complete the gift that keeps on giving.

Seeds can germinated in the house, sunroom, outside in a greenhouse or right in the soil. Whatever way the seedlings are germinated, they need to be planted in mounds in the GP garden, in the GP box, or in a planter inside or outside in the same old, same old soil. The ingredients in each case are the same, thus the name given to it by Will Allen of Growing Power, same old, same old. The basic soil in which you plant the seeds, same old, same old, is a base of rough compost topped with worms with a mix of castings and coir (coconut shavings) on top.

With this worm-enriched soil, light, water and castings tea, you are ready to grow. Now all you need is the toil and time to make the garden, inside or out, grow. Below are resources that you can give as part of the Gift. Some are free, some cost money, and some cost work.

A major resource is the world headquarters of Growing Power at 55th and Silver Spring in Milwaukee. Growing Power runs weekend workshops on this method of growing. They are hands-on and an excellent way to learn. (Also the organic food they serve for meals is delicious.)

Of course there are my pages Diary Of a Worm, GRAF Growing Renewable Affordable Food, the Glossary (soon to be expanded) and more. On these pages you can find information about worm depository, rain barrels and much more.

Soon there will be DMZ garden mini-site, about the efforts of Dawn, Marna and myself to grow affordable, renewal food (GRAF) in the central city. To join us in this cooperative effort just contact us at [email protected]

On the Milwaukee Renaissance Growing Power Home Page and the Green Weekly Updates you will find a wealth of information.

A good resource is James Godsil, ( ), co-founder of Milwaukee Renaissance and board member of Growing Power, Inc. He has his own urban farm in his backyard in Bay View. Godsil is a peddler and can lead you to many other persons and resources who can be of service to you.

Here are three persons that were significant to my GP home model garden, inside and out:

  • Andor ( ), a creative carpenter who built The Plant Stand and The Vertical Grower that you can find in the System Components.
  • John ( ), who built the five-pane windows to turn my unheated sunroom into a Green House. Once this energy saving method is tested there will be more on the GRAF pages about it.
  • Loren, ( ), who built the Growing Power box in my sunroom and the worm condo outside.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention the person who made this and many other growing power wiki web pages possible, Tegan Dowling of Emergency Digital.
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Science Channel 30 Minute Feature On Growing Power Miracles, Including Its Anaerobic Digester, This Monday, Dec. 3

Dirt Rules!


Looking at the Science Channel website, I found the series, “Invention Nation.”

I found “Dirt Rules” as the title of what will air on the digester/Growing Power. 30-minute segment

Invention Nation
Dirt Rules
Big trek to the Mid-West where Micah, Chris and Nobu install a floating wetland made from recycled bottles, heat a greenhouse with compost, turn food waste into methane gas, and build a green roof on their green bus.

The website shows that it will run several times. I’m not sure of the time zone for the listing.

12/3 at 10 p.m. (zone?)
12/4 1 a.m.
12/4 5 a.m.
12/4 aa a.m.
12/9 3 p.m.
12/17 10:30 p.m.
12/18 1:30
12/18 5:30 a.m. and 11:30 a,m,
12/23 3:30 p.m.
12/24 9:30 p.m.
12/25 12:30 a.m and 4:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
12/30 2:30 p.m.

Urban Ecology Center’s Library of Sustainability and Solterra Studios Get Nice Article in Milwaukee’s “Business Journal”

Educating clients on healthy interiors
Published: November 12, 2007aa

For Lyn Falk, “going green” entails interior design and education.
To continue reading, go to: http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2007/11/12/smallb1.html?b=1194843600%5E1548657&surround=etf


Lyn M. Falk
Registered Interior Designer, IIDA
Author, Educator, Advocate - Sustainable Design

President - Retailworks, Inc. and Solterra Studios
184 S. Main Street
Thiensville, WI 53092 (ext 103) fax
1.414.840.1244 cell

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Growing Power Benefit at the Coffee House, Basement of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church at 19th & Wisconsin

Sunday Night, December 9, 7 p.m.

URBAN AGRICULTURE TAKES CENTER STAGE at The Coffee House (19th and Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee) on Sunday evening, December 9, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. It is Living Activism Night with Embedded Reporter, KT Rusch’s Universal Love Band and other friends of Growing Power, Milwaukee’s international leader in the Urban Agriculture movement.

Howard Lewis and Darrell Smith

“Embedded Reporter does lowbrow music for really smart people,” says Singer/Songwriter Howard Lewis. “We’re all over the map stylistically.” Joining guitarist Lewis will be long-time ER Member Darrell Smith on violin and hand percussion. Count on Lewis and Smith to carry the vocal load and take you on a musical journey.

New to the band are bassist Mark David and Bill Rickards on mandolin, both veteran musicians. Most recently David performed with the Bluegrass group Smoked Chubs, while Rickards continues to perform with the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra.

Opening the performance is KT Rusch’s Universal Love Band and its Latin/Fusion blend of happy rhythms. Rusch exudes joy wherever she goes.

Growing Power inspires communities to build sustainable food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound, creating a just world, one food-secure community at a time.

Growing Power, Inc. is a non-profit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds and the environment in which they live by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food. This mission is implemented by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner. www.growingpower.org Free-will donation with all door receipts going to the benefited org. Be generous! 7pm
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Sharecropper and Yeoman City Farm Co-ops

The sharecropper co-ops would use other people’s land.
The yeoman co-ops would have their own land.

If all goes as my visions, I will be unloading rich soil, borders, and cardboards
For high nutrient small plots for sharecropper and yeoman efforts,
Recruiting partners for some of the work,
Sharing harvests contextually,
From each as they can,
To each as they contribute, need, and
Imagination dictates.

Plots will be “Squares,” i.e. 20 by 5 for walking workers,
33 by 3 for wheelchair riding workers.

Let the people know!

Let us grow our own food.
Let us grow our own soil.
Let us grow farmers.
Let us grow our own Great Lakes culture!

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Godsil/Hinterthuer On-Line Interview: Hinterthuer, a Happy Green Warrior

Godsil. You are a singer/songwriter/writer who has been involved for a decade or two in the center of Ozaukee County’s green movements. Might you share your “green story” and how it ties in with you commitment to your calling as a singer/songwriter/writer?

Hinterthuer. I have always had a “world view”, even as a young child. Our family had a dear friend, Helen Wilson, who traveled broadly, to Africa, Europe, and around the globe. Helen was a superb photographer who shot stunning Kodachrome slides wherever she went. Helen was also an Oneida or at least partially so. Although she didn’t speak to her ethnicity, it spoke through her. She was always very accepting of cultural differences and that wisdom was abundantly clear during her travelog presentations. Helen would practice them on us before addressing larger groups.

Godsil. How was it that Helen Wilson was a dear friend of your family?

Hinterthuer. Helen taught school with my mother. Her expertise was “Home Economics.” But Helen gave up teaching long before I met her. My understanding is that Helen didn’t marry until she was 40ish, to a man who was “wealthy.” According to my mother, Mr. Wilson had a heart condition that did him in about a year later. Helen inherited his fortune. It was enough money to assure she would never have to go back into the workplace. Instead she traveled. When she was home she often spent holidays at our house. To my knowledge she had no close family.

I recall that she would show up at our house on 26th Street, just north of Silver Spring, driving a 1932 Ford with a rumble seat. This was during the early ‘50′s. She was generally occupied giving rides until dinner time.

Later on, Helen had an occasional visitor. A blind man from Indiana named “Bob.” My impression is they were close, but I’m not certain as to the details of their relationship. Bob came on the scene between an around-the-world trip and Helen’s 8,000-mile jaunt through Africa. I’m guessing I was about seven or eight years old when Bob appeared.

The whole family traveled to Helen’s apartment on the East Side of Milwaukee overlooking the lake. We were briefed to be on our good behavior. Mom explained that Bob read braille and had a braille imprinting machine with him. She said, “Bob may ask to touch your face. That’s how he learns what people look like.”

As I recall, I was the only one whose face Bob seemed to want to explore. Maybe my brother and sister objected? I can’t say for sure, but I was okay with it. I was curious about his life --what it was like-- what he was like.

I believe Helen and my mom had a bond based on “the road not taken.” Their lives diverged at one point, Mom became a mom and Helen married a much older man. It is likely that “children of her own” were never part of Helen’s thinking. Instead, she lived a life of adventure as a single person, which may have been of vicarious interest to Mom, who was definitely “Type A.” They were each driven to be successful, and both were bright and educated. I know Mom recognized that Helen had tremendous gifts to share with my siblings and me. Clearly Mom was willing to share us with Helen.

The message that “diversity is a source of strength and interest” was clear, as was an understanding that the planet is a very interconnected, mutually dependent place. I learned it initially from Helen.

Godsil. Can you remember your earliest memory of Helen’s travelog presentations? Do you have any pictures of her and your family together?

Hinterthuer. My earliest memory is probably of an “around-the-world” trip. She appeared schlepping an early ‘50′s era slide projector. It may have required hand-feeding one slide at a time. I think she came on a Sunday then stayed overnight for the purpose of repeating the presentation for my brother’s elementary school class.

Helen blitzed through Europe even though Mom wanted to dally. Europe was old hat to Helen but delayed gratification to Mom. Instead Helen focused on places like Luxor in Egypt, Bombay, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Osaka. Dad seemed to think each needed to be “modernized.” To me, it was beyond exotic, especially Helen’s stories about people she had met, their occupations, the food, how their costumes were adapted to climate, their customs and words of greeting, how they built their dwellings and why it worked, the flora and fauna, the whole shebang.

I must have been about seven or eight years old.

Africa was a later expedition. I’m thinking that just after returning from Africa Helen got deeply involved with the International Institute in Milwaukee, but she may have been a member all along. It’s just that after Africa, Helen always seemed to have interesting people from Africa join us for dinner at her place. Two, a married couple named Rondango, were Black South Africans. Both were doing graduate work at Marquette, developing non-culturally biased I.Q. tests for children. My brother Roger was squarely in Mr. Rondango’s test group, and I fit into Mrs. Randongo’s ten-year-old target. So they tested us. I think we skewed the curve a bit. Subsequently Mr. Randongo took Roger to Marquette to “retest” in front of the proctors. It seems they didn’t believe the first results, but the second time Roger actually upped his score to 160, which was/is pretty hot. I beat him the first round, but I wasn’t retested. My guess is that Helen wanted us to be exposed to hightly educated Black people, so we would be armed when kids at school would say, “Black People are stupid, or other nasty things.”

(I’m not sure if I have any photos of Helen. I will look. I will also ask my sibs. It’s likely one of us will have Helen photos.)

As a young child I lived in a neighborhood near the northern fringe of Milwaukee during the ‘50′s, with the city to the south and terra incognita to the north, consisting of farms, woodlands, grasslands, ponds to fall into, places to fish, vines to swing on, etc. It was kid heaven. The experience created a curiosity about the natural environment that continues to this day.

About six years ago I became an empty nester, spending my days alone in my office at home writing freelance for “M” Magazine, Wisconsin Trails, Exclusively Yours and others. As a “people person” my isolation was problematic. I could talk to the cat, but the cat didn’t have much to say in return. So I applied for a part-time job doing the marketing for Riveredge Nature Center. Subsequently, the position was upgraded full-time, but I snagged it anyway. That move put me squarely at the center of Ozaukee/Washington County environmentalism, I met the players and the posers.

A year into it, Rick Flood, Riveredge’s Executive Director asked me to see if Riveredge could form a strategic alliance with Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, the Urban Ecology Center, the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station to propagate self-guided group study courses for adults, courses developed by the Portland, OR-based Northwest Earth Institute. Courses included Voluntary Simplicity, Choices for Sustainable Living, Discovering a Sense of Place, Globalization and Its Critics, and more.

For about a year I worked on establishing this group with lots of help from Don Quintenz at Schlitz Audubon, Chistine Kelly at Riveredge, and others. Eventually we created the Great Lakes Earth Institute and were accepted as a sister institute by the people in Portland. I traveled to Portland and explained the model and what we were doing to Dick and Jean Roy, Co-Founders of the Northwest Earth Institute. They gave us their blessing. The GLEI then became my part-time job. An additional benefit of my trip to Portland was that I got to meet environmentalist from all over the U.S. and Canada, people who are leading the charge at the grass-roots level. Subsequently the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and others joined the GLEI as institutional members.

I was also deeply influenced and inspired by a host of other people at Riveredge including Don Gilmore, the sanctuary manager and world class wildlife photographer; Mark White, Senior Naturalist and Ecologist; and the Habitat Healers, a group of Riveredge volunteers who joyfully create wilderness. Plus it was fun to learn more from David Flowers who designed the Engineered Wetland Wastewater Treatment System. The essence of it is that with knowledge and understanding we can use natural processes to do a superior job of cleaning-up our wastewater. These people, and others, are living proof that it is possible to create a more sustainable future.

Simultaneously I was launching my second band, Embedded Reporter. I met Darrell Smith (vocalist, percussionist, violin) at Riveredge. At the time Darrell was employed at the Urban Ecology Center and taking a course at Riveredge. So of course environmentalism is an interest we share—one of many. That interest, plus peace issues, conflict resolution, coping skills, social justice, and the human condition recur throughout our repertoire. But we don’t beat people over the head with it. It’s subtle and generally very optimistic. I believe that “if it ain’t fun, it won’t get done,” so I would say we are happy warriors in the struggle to make the world a better place.

We use the music to advance environmental causes, and that experience colors the material we create and/or select. Best of all, we’re not always preaching to the choir. Most of our gigs take it directly to people who drive Hummers or Lincoln Navigators. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when we get the check. I figure that if they make a more enlightened vehicle purchasing decision the next time, we’ve performed a public service. Greening the planet is an incremental, long-term process, but it is happening. We should celebrate victories—large or small.

About a year ago I had an opportunity to interview and do a story about Eric Larsen for “M” Magazine. Eric is the son of Riveredge’s Executive Director Emeritus, Andy Larsen. Eric had just returned from the North Pole, having walked there. More correctly, he and his partner slogged there over hundreds of miles of treacherous collapsing ice using skiis, special kayaks, and raw nerve. They were the first (known) individuals to do so in summertime, and they did a lot of science along the way. It seems that sattelite images are hard to get during the Arctic Summer due to cloud cover, plus sattelites can show the extent of the ice/ice melt, but they do a poor job of measuring the ice thickness, information critical to knowing how much fresh water is locked-up in the ice fields. After having a heart to heart with someone as committed as Eric Larsen it is impossible not to recognize the reality of global warming and it is impossible not to work for solutions.

I am currently serving on the board at Wellspring in Newburg, Wisconsin. Wellspring is a CSA (organic/biodynamic) and conference center. A very exciting prospect is that our new farm manager is certified in permaculture. Hopefully I’ll be able to learn a little more about permaculture.

I’m also working with Mark Heffernan at Growing Power to package information about the anaerobic digester for various publics, explaining what it does and why they should care.

And there’s the bonobo project. They are being threatened in the wild, perhaps fatally. Zoo’s may be the only hope for species survival, but it is also clear that their captive environment needs to be rethought with an eye toward remediating physical and mental health issues that bubble up as a result of their unnatural confinement. But I am hopeful we can make their lives better and confident we will learn a great deal about the bonobos and about us as well along the way.
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Growing Power Training Programs to Help Grow Urban Farmers, Winter 2008

Growing Your Community Food System

From the Ground Up

2008 Workshops

*Friday, Saturday and Sunday

  • January 12–13, 2008
  • February 16–17, 2008
  • March 15–16, 2008
  • April 19–20, 2008*
  • May 10–11, 2008*

*Fridays are special training days for the New Commercial Urban Agriculture Training Program participants and for the Multicultural Alliance Building through Dismantling Racism training days.

Growing Your Community Food System is an intensive, hands on, training workshop offering diverse groups the opportunity to learn, plan, develop, operate, and sustain community food projects. Project participants leave the workshop with improved skills that they can take back into their communities and pass on to others. These workshops are for both rural and urban projects.

  • We encourage you to bring several members of your group or operation to these workshops if you are interested in multiple topics; this is especially helpful if you are a member of a training or outreach organization.

  • These workshops put organizations, projects, and food producers in touch with each other to help build collaborations and long-term, sustainable partnerships.

  • Please come prepared to get your hands dirty! Leave your dress shoes at home and wear your farmer duds this is not a dressy training event.. Bring work shoes, warm layers of clothing the greenhouses are very warm and it can be very cold outside. Workshops often take place in both settings.

Workshops are held at Growing Powers Community Food Center:

Growing Power Community Food Center, 5500 West Silver Spring Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53218

Tel: (414) 527–1546, Fax: (414) 527–1908

Email: [email protected]

To attend these workshops please call or email to request a registration form. The $300 fee is payable when you attend the workshop.

Click here to download a registration form.

COST: $300 (cost includes 5 meals) for the Saturday and Sunday workshop.

Friday Workshop: The cost for the Multicultural Alliance Building through Dismantling Racism workshop is an additional $75.00.

‘Limited scholarships are available.

Meals are a very important aspect of the two days. The food is produced by sustainable, small family farmers. Vegetarian dishes served, Vegan or special dietary needs can be accommodated. Please let us know if you have special dietary requirements.

Workshops Topics:

Animal Husbandry

Have you been thinking of adding animals to your farm operation? Not sure where to start? What the profit margins are? Or the start up cost? Learn the basics of animal care that uses sustainable methods feasible for the small farmer or rancher. This workshop will have a focus on pastured poultry, goats, and sheep.


Learn how to build indoor fish and plant systems for food production. Participants will set up a small scale Aquaponics system and learn how to maintain and monitor tilapia fish production in a closed loop/natural system.

Bee Keeping

Learn the ABCs of urban or rural beekeeping without the use of chemicals. Participants will leave with a solid understanding of the materials, suppliers and environment to keep these amazing animals content and productive.

Community Project Design: (limited to 10 participants)

Participants will learn how a well-designed planning process will create a successful food systems project. There will be discussions and facilitation of how to develop a vision, goals and program activities. Hands on project mapping and identification of community assets and strategies to identify and establish innovative partnerships will be explored. Participants will create a vision map, and outline a plan of action for their return. This workshop is ideal for project leaders who are beginning new projects or programs or for existing projects seeking to begin strategic planning or expansion.

  • Please bring photos, site plans, business plans, and brochures of your program for this workshop.

Ethnic Marketing (limited to 10 participants)

Learn about the basics of farmer-to-buyer marketing from a seasoned expert; participate in group discussions focused on strategies to market your products and programs, to a variety of buyers and consumers, including establishing wholesale accounts. Learn about ethnic crops that are in high demand and ways to pack and package your products. *Please bring your business plan, samples of your product, labeling or other resources that you would like to develop in this workshop

Living Biological Worm Systems

An Innovative Approach to Sustainable Production. Learn how to develop a comprehensive and sustainable growing system that can grow food year-round without heat.

Included in this 2-day workshop:

  • Vermiculture

    Learn how to construct and maintain a worm bin, how to use vermicompost for fertilizer and making money, and how vermicompost, along with plants, remediate the soil.

  • Composting

    Learn how to build indoor/small scale compost systems, and design and maintain outdoor/small and large scale systems. Discuss collection of waste streams in the city or on the farm.

Year-round Greenhouse Production

Learn the basics in seed starting, propagation and how to grow year round greens of all types, herbs and Micro greens. This is a great way to round out your farm operation and bring in profit and food security all year-round.

Please call to find out when other specialty workshops will be offered.

Other workshops may include: Record keeping/accounting, Mushroom growing, farm animal care, soap making, and cheese making.

Hotel Information:

Growing Power Workshop participants receive a discount at the LaQuinta Inn, which is located just 10 minutes away from the Growing Power Community Food Center. The cost is $60 plus tax per night. Please mention that you are attending the workshop and you should receive the Growing Power rate.

LaQuinta Inn, 5442 North Lovers Lane Road, Milwaukee, WI, Phone: (414) 535–1300.

Airport Information:

The Growing Power Community Food Center is located 20 minutes from the Milwaukee General Mitchell Field Airport.

For directions please refer to the Map Quest website (www.mapquest.com) or call or email us.

Visit the webpage for our Workshop Schedule.

Please note that we are quite flexible with the schedule to allow for questions, networking, etc.
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Green Terraced Park/Building in Japan

Continuing last week’s environmental theme, instead of a forest skyscraper, a park is laid out on terraces in a Japanese building. Designed by Emilio Ambasz & Associates in Fukuoka on the last available green space in the city, the Acros building needed to preserve the park as much as possible. Home to 35,000 plants and 76 different species, the layout enables energy consumption to be lower than other buildings of a similar size as the greenery keeps the inside temperature at a comfortable level. Inside, you’ll find a museum as well as a concert hall.
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Milwaukee Voices in Response to An Architectural Design for the New Millenium in Milwaukee

I love the concept of a vertical farm. It was brought up by Will Allen at the UAC board meeting on Tuesday.(see minutes). Why not a vertical farm for Milwaukee since we want to become THE leader in urban aquaculture as well as urban agriculture.
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Greenstreet, City Architect, Present McArthur Square Vision as Urban Agriculture Center, Dec. 11, 4 p.m., Turner Hall, Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network(MUAN) Meeting

  • Attend the next MUAN meeting, the second Teusday of December, Turner Hall, 4 p.m., to hear Bob Greenstreet, the Dean of Architecture and Urban Planning at UWM and City of Milwaukee’s Official Architect, presents McArthur Square Vision

Greening Shorewood Committee Design Charrette re Shorewood H.S. Urban Agriculture Demonstration Project, Dec. 4, H.S. Band Room 278, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Dear Shorewood Students, Parents, Teachers and Community Members,

Please join us, the Greening Shorewood Committee, for an evening of brainstorming Shorewood’s continued progress towards sustainability.

A small group of students, parents and teachers is beginning a study on immediate, mid-range and long-term proposals for Shorewood High School, the Shorewood Schools and eventually the Village proper. We have meet informally in late October, presented to the SHS faculty, presented to the Referendum Committee, and next week present to the School Board.

On Tueday December 4th we are facilitating an open design charrette to generate as many ideas as possible on all scales to aid our mission. We will also be asking people to step forward and join one of our committees - Facilities, Outreach/PR, Finances/Fundraising, Research, and Curriculum. The meeting will take play at the High School in the Band Room 278 from 6:30 - 8:30.

After a brief introduction by our co-chairs Kim Forbeck and Eric Gietzen, two SHS students, Rory Linnane and Hannah Luteyn will present the proposal. The charrette will be small groups of 6–8 people on each committee focus, rotating every 30 minutes to get multiple visions on each area.

Please join us. We need you knowledge, help, and dreams.

There are many more people that we do not have e-mail addresses, so please feel free to invite others who may want to support our mission.

Thank You.

Greening Shorewood

  • Check, from time to time, the Growing Power, Projects of the Moment, and Daily Agora sections of

http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/ on the right side bar.

  • send an e-mail to [email protected] to subscribe to MilwaukeeRenaissance.com “Greening Milwaukee Weekly Updates.”

Viva, rainbow urban agriculture!

Urban Farm Co-ops Seek Members

If you would like to invest some of your time, and perhaps a bit of money, in developing a worker/community urban farming co-op, there are people in Milwaukee ready to offer you resources to get this project underway. Send an e-mail to [email protected] to learn more about this.

Growing Power in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The age of eco-dining

Can we really eat 'greener'? Yes, say businesses with Earth-friendly practices
Special to the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Nov. 15, 2007

Ann is going to dine a light shade of green today. She just doesn’t know it.

Ann is health-conscious and environmentally aware. She watches her weight, exercises and recycles.

This morning, she’s in a hurry, so she skips breakfast. She will grab something at an Alterra on the way to work.

She asks for a large Dark Sumatra coffee and a bran muffin. No time to sit down, she slips a brown-paper sleeve onto her cup before heading out the door.

At lunch, Ann walks to the Grand Avenue food court for lunch. She gets a chicken and noodle entre, sides and a bottled tea drink. It’s more than she wanted. So she just finishes half her lunch, dumps the rest into the trash, along with her Styrofoam plate, plastic utensils, plastic bottle and five paper napkins - four of them unused.

After work, she and her husband, Andy, meet friends at Meritage, a new place on W. Vliet St. Ann orders an appetizer, a green salad and the lamb.

There is dessert, too. So Ann leaves a fair amount of lamb on her plate. The server asks if she wants it wrapped. Ann waves her off - she might take food home from an average place, but it would be gauche at a nice restaurant like this.

Ann is a fiction, but she could be any hurried professional trying to do the right thing for herself, her family and the planet.

So, how did she do?

Not too well. At Alterra, she used a paper cup and a plastic lid because she forgot her travel mug. Even that little sleeve of recycled paper cost something. The bran muffin was a good choice, but because she was in too much of a hurry to sit down, she also used a paper bag.

At lunch, besides using gobs of paper and plastic, she mixed leftover chicken into the garbage, rendering that waste stream unrecyclable.

At dinner, driving separately instead of picking up her friends on the way cost the world a few thousand more kilocalories of fossil fuel. And Ann’s fashionable refusal to carry home a few ounces of lamb also tainted Meritage’s refuse and wasted many high-quality calories that went into producing, processing and preparing the animal.

Leading an eco-trend

It’s not easy, dining green.

Green dining practices are barely on the customer’s horizon, but they are the next big thing in the restaurant industry - not just because they are feel-good practices but because they make sound business sense.

And Milwaukee is at the forefront of a trend. Sort of.

continued at…Growing Power

Interview w. Ann Brummit, Coordinator Milwaukee River Work Group

Introduction: Ann Brummit is the coordinator of the Milwaukee River Work Group(MRWG) which stands a chance to help Milwaukee win an internationally acclaimed Milwaukee River Greenway with the first wilderness “viewscape” in a great city in the U.S.A. She is also the main author of the document that electrified the environmental movements of Milwaukee and offers great assurance that short-sighted development interests will not tread on our cleansing and renewing river and river valley. This interview took place entirely on-line on Saturday and Sunday, November 17 & 18, 2007.

Ken Leinbach and Ann Brummitt

Godsil. Strawberry and Raspberry Fields in Our Central Park?

Brummit. Are you thinking of community gardens like in the UK? In say, Gordon Park, Kern Park, Lincolnetc. ? Wellthat would be lovely, wouldn’t it? John Lennon would approve. Strawberry fields forever.

Godsil. Godshill City Farm Products and the Reclamation Society could make a demonstration project in the Mke River Central Park, Gordon Park, wherever, in 2008 without that much effort.
What say?

Brummit. Let’s do it.

Godsil. [Sends Strawberry and Raspberry Fields in Our Central Park concept to Blueberry Pancake Moments Yahoo Group with Brummit’s “Let’s do it.”] Perhaps we might talk about this one of these Sunday mornings at the Blueberry Pancake Moments at Co-op or, if too crowded, at the fuel.

Sura Faraj. [Responds with post at Blueberry Pancake Yahoo Group] I would like to propose that we start using terminology that is less human-centric wording and more eco-centric. Central Park gives the impression of a place that exists for people’s pleasure and leisure, whereas the Milwaukee River Environmental Corridor, or something like that focuses more on the need for protection of the river and its immediate environment. Even the word “corridor” is being used these days in Milwaukee and many other cities to focus on bringing in new buildings. Perhaps we can focus on other facets of development, like protection and development of green space and gardens. Maybe “Milwaukee River Environmental Buffer Zone” (EBZ) is a better term, to remind us that we need more than just the river and its immediate and small designated “environmental corridor,” but a larger buffer that will allow for a healthier ecosystem that protects and enhances the natural flora and fauna, keeps rainwater/storm water runoff in check and elevates the treasure that we have in our midst to a wild and natural gem, something that other cities look to copy.

Gordon, Riverside, Lincoln and Kern parks are part of the Milwaukee River EBZ. Yes, to native, edible plantings there.

Brummit. [Responds to Blueberry Pancake group] My feeling is that the Central Park moniker resonates with lots of people. It has been very productive in getting us attention. It may well help us pass this thing in council. I am not worried about it since at every turn we continue to advocate for environmentally wise decisions. And this advice is coming from neighbors and people who love the river most. No to bridges. No to asphalt. No to signs in the corridor unless they are wilderness type signs. So when it comes to meaningful advocacy we are all about environment, about corridor, about green way. If I hear of someone wanting to put in a carousel or a restaurant I will drop it in an instant. But I think the term is still very useful. When I give presentations I put the term Central Park up and explain that it means we have a tie to Olmstead. We have a tie in acreage. We have a point to make about the centrality of water to Milwaukee’s identity, sustainability, and future. But we don’t want buildings on the edge or amenities in the middle. I have yet to run into someone who seems confused by the name.

The most official title of the corridor is the Milwaukee River Greenway. A name we spent time on at a MRWG meeting last winter. That is not to say there may not be a better one. Worthy of a future discussion at MRWG and or as a moment in blueberry pancake time:)
Yes to buffers. Yes to storm water management. Yes to green building design within and beyond the overlay. Yes to the red zones! And gosh. Yes to Milwaukee being a model to other cities. That would be cool.

Godsil. I would very much like to feature you in an on-line interview
That would proceed very slowly
Over the next 38 years,
God and the Goddess,
And the patterns of chaos willing. :)

Have you ever read my interview of Ken Leinbach?

Ask him about it someday!

Brummit. 38 years. Ok. That takes me to hmmm. Got to do the math. Ok. I’m in. Lets do that too.

Godsil. You mentioned that you were a French teacher until your involvement with the Milwaukee River Work Group. Might you share the story of your first memory of the group of people who became the Milwaukee River Work Group. How did you become part of that worthy work group?

Brummit. I went to Ken Leinbach Lynn Broaddus at Friends of Milwaukee Rivers Peter McAvoy at 16th Street Community Health Clinic.. They all graciously accepted my inquiry to talk. I posed the question: Do you have any good ideas on how I get from point “Ak” to point “B”( point “A” being bored French teacher to point “B” being an environmentalist? They had ideas. Lots. Ken kept pitching projects to me, one, of course, was that the Milwaukee River corridor was threatened by development. Could I possibly research ways that Milwaukee could protect this wonderful resource. After Jewel Osco. After the dorms. Could we somehow draw a meaningful line in the sand once and for all before it is gone. That was the first step.

Godsil. “Coming Up in “Green Weekly Updates” Winter 2007/08: Ann Brummit Interview #One.” Might we consider this one place for our on-line interview? There are other venues, both at the Milwaukee Renaissance and elsewhere? What say?

Brummit. Oh Godsil. I didn’t answer your question. So we convened a group. A list of names from Ken that frankly, at that time, didn’t mean a thing to me. Vince. Angie Tornes from nps. Will Warzyn from DNR. Lynn Broaddus and Cheryl Nenn from Friends of Milwuakee Rivers. John Clancy, lawyer and board member at Urban Ecology Center(UEC). . Kimberly Gleffe from rrf. A design professional from Madison. Peter McKeever from mccc. Ginger Duiven from UEC.. Pieter Godfrey. And we pitched the idea, the best tool we thought we had, of municipal protections, an overlay to the group. Everyone said yesand we began. But that wasn’t really the beginning. Of course, the story goes back much further, but I was busy teaching school and raising kids. Not mine to tell. The story of Jewel Osco. Of the dorms. Of a small group of “river rats” that had been meeting informally for years. And people like Else Ankel, and Peter McMullen and Sura Faraj, to name a few, who have been loving and advocating for this river for years. Decades. And those before that.

Godsil. Very cool. I was one of the river rats from 1977 until 1998, when I sold my lovely English Cottage at 3354 N. Gordon Place and moved to a haunted house on Newberry. Vince and I organized some ice skating on the river one very cold winter. Vince skated from Locust St. up to a winter gathering of the Kern Park Country Club, at a time when there was an ice rink there with a generation or two tradition.

Did you convene a meeting with the people Ken suggested, meet some of them one by one, or ?Brummit. Well, first I spent time in my basement on the computerread plans.. made phone calls tried to get the lay of the land. Then, yes, a meeting at UEC, upstairs. I think we first met in May of ‘06. It all seemed big and important, and I was honored to be there.

I’ve never skated on the river. I’m chicken.

Godsil. What was the “feeling tone” of that first meeting? What were the first “actions” the group and you settled upon at that first meeting? Did anything happen at that meeting that was sufficiently disconcerting that you can remember worrying about it?

continued at…

If you would like to read Godsil’s interview with Ken Leinbach, Jan.-Feb. 2007, send an e-mail to [email protected]
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Urban Aquaculture Center Press Release

Founder Jon Bales
[email protected]
Founder Leon Todd
[email protected]

UAC Launches Milwaukee into Urban Aquaculture!

The Urban Aquaculture Center (UAC) has launched Milwaukee into aquaculture production and education. The newly created non-profit offers Milwaukee an opportunity to lead the growth of urban aquaculture in the United States in partnership with the Great Lakes WATER Institute, Growing Power, and other public and private enterprises. Its first board meeting in October was hosted by builder CG Schmidt.

With the success of the Urban Aquaculture Center, Milwaukee will become THE center for urban fish farming in America. This is the right idea at the right time in the right place said Fred Binkowski, senior scientist at the Great Lakes WATER Institute.

Leon Todd, former Milwaukee school board director and co-founder of the UAC, said We want to demonstrate responsible fish farming, provide sustainable urban protein production, provide a local fresh water research campus, create jobs, and offer training to others interested in aquaculture while holding the campus out as a destination that entertains, informs, and offers unique activities.

Most people are not aware that fish is the only substantial animal protein which can be grown in the city. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) aquaculture now accounts for almost 50% of the worlds food fish and is perceived as having the greatest potential to meet the growing demand for aquatic food.

Co-Founder and former Costa Rican fish farmer Jon Bales added Why import fish? We have everything we need right here in Milwaukee with plenty of fresh water, willing workers, and a ready market for fish. It makes no sense to eat imported fish with the baggage they carry of their high carbon footprint after being shipped thousands of miles to our market.

The UAC seeks a campus that will accommodate the large-scale production of 200,000 gallons or 100 tons of fish annually. The Urban Aquaculture Center will be a destination offering a friendly educational center, restaurant, fish market and gift shop.

Urban Aquaculture Center
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GodsHill City Farm News

One Quarter Green(Nitrogen), Three Quarters Brown(Carbon) Yields Warmth For Your Worms This Winter!

Here is a picture of hot steam rising from a compost pile I’m setting up in the vicinity of a few thousand lovely red wriggler worms that make the most potent soil in the planet for our backyard victory gardens!

A Thousand Bucks and Up Can Get You 4 Season Greenhouse, 2 Rainbarrels, & Serious Compost Set-up

Holiday Gifts for Your Honey and for Humanity

November 19th, 2007

So here on November 19th, 2007, remain my first ever crop of parsley, with an extended season because it’s covered with my neighbor’s leaves!

Cover Your Black Growing Power Garden Soil w. Neighbors’ Leaves of Green and Gold

Perhaps we should imagine city farms which use all of the leaves from our glorious trees for our backyard and front yard victory gardens!

Stephanie Philipps’ Reclamation Society Prototype Four Season Kitchen Garden Greenhouses, $400 and up!

If you would like to see this prototype close up, send an e-mail to [email protected]

Front Lawn of Euclid House Mini Farm Has No Grass! Only Raised Beds Gardens of Rich Black Growing Power Soil Now Protected by Yellow, Brown, and Red Leaves

Award Winning Green Builder’s Gateway to Grace Stephanie Philipps’ Reclamation Society’s Harambee Demonstration Urban Village Garden

Reclamation Society Seeks Salvaged Wood, Windows, Fencing, Posts, etc. For Harambee Demonstration Urban Village Garden

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Last edited by tyler schuster.   Page last modified on August 03, 2008

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