Growing Power: Using Urban Sustainable Agriculture to Create Jobs in Milwaukee
April 13, 2011 | Robert Puro
Growing Power, Inc., a non-profit urban sustainable agriculture organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been awarded $425,000 to erect 150 hoop house gardens on vacant lots in the city of Milwaukee. Hoop houses are inexpensive greenhouses constructed using a plastic roof that is wrapped over flexible PVC piping. Growing Power has promised to match the $425,000 contribution from the City of Milwaukee’s Common Council with its own funds. Growing Power’s hoop house initiative called “Growing Capacity for the Green Economy” will create 150 new jobs over the next 3 years in the emerging field of urban sustainable agriculture for unemployed residents in Milwaukee. The initial phase of the project will focus on hiring around 20 people to construct the hoop houses. After the hoop houses are completed, Growing Power will recruit an additional 130 people who will be taught urban farming techniques to grow food intensively and sustainably. The long-term goal of the program is for the proceeds from the food grown in the hoop houses to help cover employee salaries. According to Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power, this “program will provide fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods that often lack a single healthy option—and will serve as an example to other cities of how a local food system can be remodeled to create jobs and heal communities.”
About Growing Power
Growing Power was started in Milwaukee, WI in 1993 by Will Allen – a 2008 winner of a MacArthur “Genius Award” who has long worked to produce and deliver healthy food to low-income urban populations. It 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. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.
Sources: 150 New Green Jobs in Milwaukee Press Conference April 11 and Growing Power: Initiative to create 150 new jobs