Kwolz's Adventures in Saving the World

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Growing Power

Posted by kevinwolz on May 20, 2010

I spent this past weekend on the front lines of Milwaukee’s up and coming sustainable food system. I began by exploring the activities of a small group of  intense, passionate people who are leading this movement from the ground up. I saw rooftop gardens on businesses and abandoned warehouses, community gardens on abandoned city lots, edible suburban yards, and some really innovative community interaction. I really felt like I was in the ditches of an urban guerilla war. Intense.

Then, I headed to Growing Powerthe epitome of urban agriculture, where I enjoyed a two-day workshop learning about everything that they do there. I even got to work with Will Allen himself, the retired professional basketball player and Growing Power’s famous founder. To put it simply, Growing Power’s end product is fresh, nutritious food, produced in the city for the city. For veggies, they focus on a wide variety of greens and leafy crops. They also raise a significant number of livestock, included chickens, goats, bees, and most importantly WORMS and FISH.

Okay, so they produce a lot of food. Big deal. True, but much more important than the food they produce is how they do it. So here’s the big picture idea that is essential to grasp in order to understand permaculture, sustainable agriculture, or for that matter, nature in general. Growing Power produces all their food using Linked Biological Systems.

Linked Biological Systems is a hard concept to explain without a specific example, so I would really advise you to go to Growing Power’s website, scroll over the green “Grow” tab, and explore the various systems that they use. One system’s waste becomes another’s food. The systems are stacked to maximize spatial and temporal efficiency. Work is minimized by allowing the systems to do what they do best. Eventually, as you link and connect these systems in enough ways, it becomes practically self-sustaining and extremely productive. This is what it’s all about. I wish I could provide a better explanation now, but quite honestly, I’m still learning too. I will be pursuing this concept all summer, with the goal of having a true understanding by the time I go back to school. Then, I can cater my education to further exploring this concept on many more levels.

Check out my pictures of Growing Power here.

What an inspirational and educational way to start the summer!

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2 Responses to “Growing Power”

  1. Roger said

    Kevin, I wasn’t allowed access to your photos on flicker, even though we do have a account. Our account name is rogncara. Thanks

  2. kwolz said

    All fixed! Thanks for the heads up!

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