Growing Power

Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Our vision is to inspire communities to build sustainable food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound, creating a just world, one food-secure community at a time.
Aug 22, 2013

Global Giving Report (January 2013 a July 2013)

In the first half of 2013 Growing Power planned for the upcoming year of expanded growing areas which now include 300 acres of crop land and 100 acres of year round green houses.  The expanded growing space required greater operational capacity and organization of our Rainbow Farmers Cooperative (RFC).  Data systems and marketing initiatives were upgraded to facilitate greater sales and distribution opportunities.  During this time we held our “Weekend  Workshop Series” one weekend a month from January through June.  20 aspiring farmers participated in the Commercial Urban Agriculture (CUA) program, attended six months of workshops and were graduated from the program.   Several thousand aspiring farmers participated in these trainings.  A stand alone three day training series designed specially for  aquaponics entrepreneurs, was also held each month. 

Our day to day operations continue to inspire thousands of people through tours offered seven days a week, volunteer opportunities at our farms, work opportunities for urban youth, career advancing training for interns,  and building the local food system in South East Wisconsin.  Food systems were built through our market basket program, our wholesale operation, farm stands at local corporations, and at our café and farm stand. 

Some new initatives include our involvement at Westlawn, which is Wisconsins’ largest public housing development.  In collaboration with the housing authority and community members a community garden was established.  Garden plots were sold for $10 and community members started to garden in their neighborhood.  Growing Power provided daily supervision and support for the gardeners through our intern program.  All the garden plots were filled with vegetable plants donated by Growing Power.  This year Growing Power was part of the Americorps Farm to School Program and had two workers for 20 hours a week.  The workers engaged six schools and provided nutrition education, training for teachers on starting gardens and aquaponic systems, and attended open houses to promote farm to school initiatives.  The workers developed a curriculum that they used with students. 

Significant progress was made in establishing green houses on Milwaukee Public Schools property at the schools.  In collaboration with the school district, meetings were held with teachers, principals, and district administrators to establish a protocol for building and maintaining a year round green house at the school for the purpose of growing vegetables to be used at the school.  We hope to build the first of these hoop house- green houses this fall and work on creating a template for a microeconomy centered around using the produce at the schools and selling the excess in the local area.  Growing Power is also a member of a city wide aquaponic group that facilitates the development of aquaponic systems in school settings throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. 

At our main farm and training center we continue to evolve and build additional year round green houses.  Our goat operation grows each year with the addition of additional goats and this year we hope to collaborate with the only urban dairy in Wisconsin to make goat milk cheese.  Black soldier flies have a new home on the farm with their own feeding station and green house.  They are very happy flies and grow by the millions.  Eventually their larve will be used to feed our 30,000 fish which are thriving in our aquaponic systems. 

We are excited to harvest our expanded fields this fall and we thank your organization for your ongoing support of “The Good Food Revolution”.

May 6, 2013

Growing Power August-December 2012 Update

GlobalGiving Report August 2012- December 2012 In the second half of 2012, Growing Power continued to take a leadership role in building a local and sustainable food system. Building on the momentum created from the first half of the year through special projects like the opening of the Growing Power Deli and Food Market, and our day-to-day activities like providing hands on environmental education to local youth and adults through tours and volunteer opportunities, giving technical assistance to budding farmers and small farm enterprises; providing interns with meaningful work experiences, and growing good food for local communities, Growing Power continued to see growth in all areas of operation. September 7-9, more than 1500 individuals participated in the Growing Power 2012 National - International Urban & Small Farm Conference in Milwaukee, WI. Attended by veteran and aspiring farmers, renewable energy experts, urban planners, gardeners, business owners, academics and chefs, this conference provided a forum to share ideas for building healthy and resilient community-based food systems. There were over 15 tracks total, encompassing a wide array of fields like Urban Planning Strategies, Urban Aquaponics, Environmental Design Innovation, Brownfields Development, Fundraising, Growing Food & Justice and Culinary Arts. In 2012, Growing Power kicked off the Growing Capacity for the Green Economy (GCGE) project, a collaboration between Growing Power and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board functioning as a job preparation project designed to provide Milwaukee's underemployed & unemployed youth with skills, training and hands-on experience. A three year project, GCGE aimed to hire 150 individuals over the course of the project, providing them with valuable job training and leadership development to increase their employability in the Green sector. In 2012, Growing Power hired 67 individuals through GCGE, exceeded its goal of hiring 50 individuals in the first year of the project. The closing of 2012 brought the realization of the impact that Growing Power has on Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the United States and even the world. In 2012, Growing Power composted 43 million pounds of waste, provided fresh produce snacks for 45,000 Milwaukee Public School students, offset 40 tons of carbon and nitrogen, produced more than $750,000 worth of crops on 200 acres of growing space, raised 50,000 fish and millions of red wiggler worms. In addition the Growing Power headquarters in Milwaukee saw 30,000 visitors, over 1,700 volunteers and 371 youth corp graduates. Growing Power also provided the necessary training for 38 graduates of the Commercial Urban Agriculture Training program. These participants will move forward towards the first phase of their own urban farm plans. As we kick off our 2013 year, stay tuned for updates on our continued growth. We have set some high expectations that we fully intend to exceed. We would like to thank YOU, our enthusiastic supporters for helping us bring the Good Food Movement to life. We are genuinely thankful for all the ways in which you help us to impact communities that need it most.

Oct 8, 2012

Quarterly report (April 2012 - July 2012)

Hello there!

Like all farms, transition from spring to summer is filled with hard work and anticipation. Growing Power was excited to keep things rolling as the growing season warmed up. In between our hearty growing and harvesting efforts, we managed to stave off the majority of ill drought effects on the crops (thanks to our method of growing year – round in hoop houses and using our nutrient dense, moisture rich compost - and hardworking staff!), and finish up our planning for our National – International Urban & Small Farm Conference, September 7th through the 9th 2012 here in Milwaukee.

Growing Power is also overjoyed to report that our Martin Luther King Drive Growing Power Deli and Food Market is officially open! We are committed to making sure under-resourced communities can get access healthy, affordable (and tasty!) foods. The new market and deli not only serves light fare made with locally sourced products, as part of King Commons( a development site of mixed-use housing and commercial space) Growing Power’s Deli & Food Market will provide fresh, naturally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as other organic food products to local residents – the majority of which is delivered fresh from local Growing Power farms and hoop houses, less than 10 miles away. This community food project was developed in collaboration with a local Milwaukee -based community organization, the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation.

Through the remainder of the year we will look forward to continuing the great work made possible by supporters like you: providing hands on environmental education to local youth and adults through tours and volunteer opportunities, giving technical assistance to budding farmers and small farm enterprises; providing interns with meaningful work experiences, and growing good food for local communities. The holiday season is rapidly approaching too, and in many places, hurting communities need support and good nourishment to weather the cold season coming their way.  Growing Power is committed to serving on both a local and national level, and we hope you will continue to join in by lending your crucial support- both financially and otherwise.  Stay tuned for updates on our continued growth, and as always, we‘d love for you to drop us a line and give us some feedback! Thank you for your continued support and input- it really does mean the world to us.

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