Archive for June 3rd, 2010

Will Allen shows some of the 10,000 fish growing in one of Growing Power’s four-foot-deep, 10,000-gallon aquaponics tanks. Waste from the fish feeds greens and tomatoes. The plants purify the water for the fish. The fish eventually go to market. Photo by Ryan Griffis temporarytraveloffice.net

[This post is the first in a series that looks at six very different efforts to build a more sustainable food system in the United States. These efforts challenge us to think about food as not just a commodity, but more as a relationship with the Earth.]

On Milwaukee’s north side, Will Allen runs “Growing Power,” a 2 acre urban farm that produces fruits and vegetables in greenhouses, as well as raising ducks, goats, bees, turkeys, and fish in aqueducts. The nonprofit organization seeks to provide healthy, affordable, and sustainable food for people in communities that might be “lined with fast-food joints, liquor stores, and convenience stores selling mostly soda and sweets. Growing Power is an oasis in that desert.”

According to the Mari Gallagher research group, so called “food deserts” have many public health impacts, increasing the likelihood of premature death and chronic health conditions. These include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

But Growing Power is, as the name suggests, also about more than growing food. It seeks to empower individuals in urban areas to take control of their lives: their energy use, their food, and their relationship to land. To do this, they provide hands on training, outreach, and technical assistance that “help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.”

Find out more at their blog: http://www.growingpower.org/blog/

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