This comes from an organizer at Milwaukee's Outpost Natural Foods, recently
encountering Community Growers(inspired by Will Allen's Growing Power),
which connects urban artisans with urban farming. Erik Lindberg has been
astonished at the yield Growing Power's compost affords.
>From Diana Sieger of Outpost:
You're going to flip when you hear this -
146 steps across Capitol drive...then up a ladder is Outpost's next source
for sustainably raised produce.
Thursday we met Erik Lindberg from Community Growers when he brought Keith
and his staff a sample of what he's growing over there on his roof top
We practically did cartwheels back to the store to tell everyone about it!
(I wonder how many cartwheels it is if it's 146 steps?)
Anyways, a million thank yous to Keith for hooking us up right away with a
video interview - and photos for the signs that we'll have in the store
featuring their produce.
Erik has a little of this, a little of that as he figures out what grows
best up there...we're just feeling pretty lucky we get to help him get the
Walkin' the talk yo.
watch the video interview:
Growing Urban Farming Movement With Urban Artisans
The arrival in Milwaukee of the Community Growers network of artisans,
artists, urban agrarians, and sustainability theorists/activists in
Milwaukee suggests serious consideration be given to projects that aim to
connect the urban agriculture movement with the restoration artisans and
their informal guilds in our big cities.
See the front page story of this welcome development at...
Urban Restoration Carpenter's "Victory Garden" Atop Commercial
Complementarity of "Talented 10%" of Restoration Trades and Urban
The "talented 10%" of our big city restoration carpenters, roofers, metal
smiths, masons, and painters are predisposed to seriously consider and
succeed in urban agriculture these days for many reasons.
Resources Already Possessed by Restoration Trades
*trucks and other equipment able to move lots of material, e.g. soil,
composting leaves and wood chips from dumps, mountains of veggie wastes,
*time--lots of down time in the restoration trades throughout the year and
even during the weeks and days of the normal work season, e.g. rain days
*prodigious work ethic and quite often enormous physical stamina and power
*competence in "small is beautiful" technological innovations and "yankee
*backyards, empty neighborhood lots, and roof tops available for intensive
growing,e .g. Milwaukee is ready to give 220 lots away gratis if our
movement can demonstrate capacity
*high tolerance for handling "yucky stuff" like compost breaking down
*recent farming backgrounds in many artisanal extended families
Opportunities for "Mighty Collaborations" Right At Your Front Door!
Many of the key theorists and practitioners of the urban agriculture
movement own old houses that will require them to connect with members of
the restoration trades. Consider spending some time with your roofer,
carpenter, mason, painter, etc., explaining and showing them the
possibilities of intensive soil development with composting and worms and
the high yields for use and market such rich soil in small places will
Many members of the artisan class these days are migrants from rural
backgrounds with farm skills yet in extended families from down south,
Mexico and other Latin American countries, eastern European and Eurasian
migration streams. Urban farming has great promise to fill otherwise empty
time as well as offer family members of your artisan classes a means of new
use and exchange value.
Connect Your Tradesmen w. Joe Jenkins, Josh Fraundorf, and Erik Lindberg
Joe Jenkins, author of "Humanure," is the nation's foremost authority on
slate roofs, i.e. also author of "Slate Roof Bible." Two of the founders of
Milwaukee's Community Growers, Josh Fraundorf and Erik Lindberg, will
combine for a couple of million of restoration projects in 2008. All three
of these leaders of the trades are deeply committed to connecting their
fellow artisans with the urban and organic family farm movements.
Consider suggesting your favorite artisans send an e-mail to
[EMAIL PROTECTED] to initiate a
conversation that might serve them and your community greatly.
Also consider developing some grant proposals aimed directly at doing what
is needed to marry the urban restoration trades with the food security
movement. A number of Milwaukeeans in this effort would very much enjoy
brainstorming this vision with you!
The Marriage That Made Your City Some Kind of Holy Place
Your city will start feeling like some kind of Holy City, when
On cold winter or rainy spring or hot summer days
Laid off construction workers
And retired young elders will gather veggie wastes
>From every neighborhood's food and cafe co-ops,
Brewers yeast from the finest micro breweries,
Wood chips from the city yard,
Coffee grounds from Alterra roasters all over town.
They'll deliver this precious cargo of potency
To neighborhood gardens, edible school yards,
And emerging at-home city farms and kitchen gardens,
For composting food for a myriad of city worm ranches
And neighborhood year round food growers.
The kids in the hood will gather buckets of compost material
>From just about all the neighbors,
And simultaneously deliver their block's newsletters
Filled with images and information to promote and defend
Their increasingly connected neighbors,
On higher and higher planes.
Viva, the marriage of urban restoration artisans and the urban agrarian
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