The second half of the year brought many exciting things to Growing Power, its dedicated supporters and good friends!
July and August saw great growth in Growing Power’s capacity to get fresh, nutritious (and tasty!) food to our local community. The marketing and production team quarters overflowed with gorgeous produce from Growing Power’s multiple farm and hoop house sites as crops responded to the warmer summer. Demand for produce from Growing Power’s local farms, as well as local farmers involved in Growing Power’s Rainbow Farmer’s Co-op, increased substantially as well. Growing Power bees produced fresh, delicious honey, which got packaged under the Growing Power label, Urban Honey. Of course, Growing Power also continued its Farm to City Market Basket program, which provides weekly delivery of bountiful baskets for Milwaukee families seeking affordable, safe and healthy food.
Growing Power is also happy to announce that Growing Power’s CEO, Will Allen, received the 2011 James Beard Foundation award. The 2011 James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards recognize visionaries in the business, government, and education sectors working toward creating a healthier, safer and more sustainable food world. This year’s inaugural honorees—who range from urban agriculture heroes to tireless healthy school food pioneers to corporate business leaders (Michelle Obama is among this year’s recipients) —were chosen by an advisory board of a dozen experts committed to advancing food quality and healthful, sustainable practices. The Leadership Awards recognize specific outstanding initiatives as well as bodies of work and lifetime achievement. Winners are honored at a dinner ceremony during the James Beard Foundation Food Conference in early October taking place in New York City.
In the latter half of the summer, Growing Power staff and affiliates were busy with plans to help kick-off the 4th annual Growing Food and Justice for all Initiative (GFJI) Conference. The Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative is an initiative aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture. This comprehensive network views dismantling racism as a core principal which brings together social change agents from diverse sectors working to bring about new, healthy and sustainable food systems. It also supports and builds multicultural leadership in impoverished communities throughout the world. The 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. The conference took place September 9th-11th in Milwaukee and included a plethora of powerful, interesting and informative workshops and trainings. You can see footage of the conference, access conference workshop descriptions, download workshop documents and view facilitator info by visiting the website http://www.growingfoodandjustice.org/
In September, Growing Power also welcomed 7 visitors from Uganda and Kenya through the BOLD Fellows Program, an exchange program that takes place with diverse groups of adults from Sub-Saharan Africa. The program is designed as a fundamental exploration of food security and is developed with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and corresponding U.S. Embassies. The adult exchanges are between professionals working within social, economic and political aspects of food security as related to Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture. It includes an eight-week exchange for African participants--which includes a six-week fellowship at a food security related site--and a two-week exchange for U.S. participants, who get a chance to travel and learn in Kenya and Uganda. Growing Power is excited that they are here, and about the mutual exchange of culture and technical expertise.
Growing Power is also looking forward to wrapping up its first round of Community Food Systems Specialist training in the coming weeks. Growing Power’s job training program prepares urban, older youth with the skills needed to succeed in the growing urban sustainable agriculture sector. As part of their job training requirement, the youth help construct hoop-houses around the city and contribute to the production of local food distributed through Growing Power’s Rainbow Farmer’s Cooperative to stores, restaurants and Milwaukee families via the Farm-to-City Market Basket program.
Growing Power also increased support for their Regional Outreach Training Centers (ROTC). Growing Power’s ROTCs are located in over 10 states and are actively creating community food centers of their own and improving the local urban agricultural infrastructure. Growing Power assists these local community food centers in building organizational strength through effective strategic planning, leadership development, infrastructural development, financial sustainability guidance, anti- racism education and promoting networking opportunities.
Growing Power is looking forward to the rest of the year as it gears up for the holiday season, and hopes that supporters will continue to be generous as low-income families struggle through the upcoming winter. One upcoming concrete way you can help is to contribute on October 19th, which is GlobalGiving's LAST Bonus Day! Starting at 12:01 am EDT, GlobalGiving will be matching all donations (up to $1,000 per donor, per project)! Growing Power fervently believes that its friends and supporters (that means you!) will rise to the challenge and grow the Good Food Movement!