I’ve lived around Milwaukee, Wisconsin my entire life – I lived in the city limits for awhile, and just five years ago we moved west to its neighboring (and less pronounceable) neighbor Waukesha (that’s “walk-ih-shaw”). Over the years Milwaukee has been associated with a variety of things, both good and bad: Beer (good), Harley Davidson (good), Jeffrey Dahmer (bad) and Summerfest (mostly good). But there’s plenty of underrated great stuff going on here too. Growing Power is one of the most remarkable.
Growing Power, Inc. is committed to educating people and communities about the benefits of growing their own food, giving people the means and the knowledge to grow food, and distributing locally grown food. In the context of Milwaukee – a very segregated city with a large urban population – that sounds like a pretty lofty goal. Growing Power’s CEO, Will Allen, has summed up that mission very well: ”If people can grow safe, healthy, affordable food, if they have access to land and clean water, this is transformative on every level in a community. I believe we cannot have healthy communities without a healthy food system.”
Amen. That sounds great, but how does Growing Power do it?
Growing Power’s national headquarters is the last remaining operational farm and greenhouse in the City of Milwaukee. The two-acre operation is home to thousands of plants as well as some livestock and bees. With opportunities for hands-on demonstrations and activities, the headquarters site not only showcases the potential of urban farming but it also gives communities and schools the opportunities to gain the skills needed to implement smaller scale operations of their own. Frequent workshops are held at the headquarters and around the community on diverse topics like vermiculture, aquaponics and greenhouse production. There’s even a six-week intensive farmer training program. While the bulk of Growing Power’s mission is accomplished through educating and growing, evidence of Growing Power’s ability to see the big picture can be found in their involvement in food policy initiatives and food justice issues, including the Growing Food and Justice for All Institute.
And all of that is smack-dab in the middle of what would otherwise be considered a food desert in the city.
Growing Power cites its goal as a simple one: to grow food, to grow minds, and to grow community.
To learn more about Growing Power, to volunteer, donate, learn, or to simply be inspired by the difference one man with a vision can make, visit their website: Growing Power.