Thursday, July 1, 2010

Growing Power!

Having concluded our HEART activities in Detroit, I headed to Chicago for a few days and from there on to Milwaukee to visit friends and hear good music at Summerfest! Yesterday Emu and I decided to do some MORE agrarian roadtripping, so we drove across town to Growing Power, Milwaukee’s only two acres of land zoned for agricultural use. On those two acres the organization (headed by Will Allen) manages to raise over 30,000 fish (perch and tilapia), copious amounts of salad greens and other veggies, ducks, chickens, goats, turkeys, and a LOT of red wriggler worms. They also raise farmers from age 7 on up, and raise funds for scholarships, and raise awareness of nutrition beyond that provided at the fast food joints nearby, and try out new and innovative methods of sustainable farming. The major operation there is an aquaponic interrelation of veggies and fish. Water is cycled through 10,000 gallon tanks, and pumped up into flats of watercress, sprouts, and salad greens. The plants (1) are fertilized by the fish waste, (2) filter and clean the water that returns to the fish, and (3) get harvested not only for human consumption but for the tilapia to eat.

Erin looking in

Fish on bottom, plants on top

Young learners and helpers

One worm, creating Growing Power’s most valuable crop: nutrient-rich soil!

Massive pile of compost, the foundation of growth: “it all starts here”

Burying a few rotten bananas acts as an aphrodisiac for the compost worms. Come back in a few days, it’ll be a snarl of breeding worms and new babies.

Mushroom operations (the mushrooms are still at spore stage, but they will grow on the logs and out of the hanging bags).

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