sudden, but comity grew out of it. and when you go to the public library in leftrock city, you see it as a very interesting laboratory of diversity between two nominally very different groups that have found a road to peace within this huge development. >> well, i want to add one comment about rego park because there was -- rego park, when you think of rego park or you go there, what you see is a lot of single-family, small houses set back from the street with what used to be gardens in front. that was when it was an italian neighborhood. there were gardens. ..
cultural tensions because people just are not -- the are not used to growing vegetables in their yard. >> another footnote on that. you won't understand without understanding real-estate development, and in the case of legal park in the 1920's there was a company called for your good real estate. that's where you get the part from and they developed a whole network of single-family houses, etc., which became regal park but as a real-estate development and you have these garden cities
which stemmed from the british inspired ideal communities in sunnyside gardens or jackson etc. so you have all these wonderful laboratory examples in queens of the urban experience, and i must say that our weekly exploration always gave us -- it was unexpected when we went to queens. >> one of the boulevards is called utopia parkway, and utopia was supposed to be utopian and there was a bunch of jus' got together and they decided for a community. it never took off but we still have the name utopia parkway but there is no utopia. >> joseph cornell had a house on utopia parkway. >> i would like to thank the speakers for the wonderful talk this evening and engaging
>> one of the most interesting aspects i think of the cell phone effort is that some of the people that solved these problems actually came from the military work and one guy in particular spend a lot of time talking with had done a lot of work on the radar to become the discriminatory radar work in south pacific where they had a small facility working with western electric and at the time he would come back from this tour of duty and work on highly sophisticated assistance, came back to bell labs and said there were going to discontinue the kind of thinking and somebody suggested why don't you talk to these guys that are working on cellular and maybe you'll have something for them. it was again, part of maybe
serendipity of bell labs that he was the guy with the kind of knowledge that very few people in the world had at that one particular time, and they drafted him into the project and soon enough he had a van and he was going on to philadelphia and had cleared out the van and stuffed it with a lot of electronic equipment and they would test all the signals to make the cell phone systems go. in 1993, will allen bought a 2-acre plot of land in close proximity to milwaukee's biggest housing project. from this initial purchase, mr. speed created a new urban form that melrose 40 tons of vegetables and raise is 100,000 fish that can feed 10,000 people a year. he recounts his career change from a former professional
basketball player and executive at procter and gamble to urban farmer and ceo of the growing power. this is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> welcome to boswell the company i am the proprietor and this is our 11130 a day. we are preventing to be presenting will allen author of "the good food revolution." will allen as conforming the production and delivery of healthy food to underserved urban populations. after a brief career in professional basketball, and a number of years and corporate marketing and proctor and gamble, will allen returned to his roots as a farmer using his retirement package to purchase a plot of inner-city land with greenhouses for his bill to the company, country's preeminent urban farming and he's now the ceo of "growing power," an organization that develops community food systems. in 2008, will was named john d. and katherine t. macarthur's fellow, a genius grant, only the
second former ever to be so honored. he's also -- [applause] >> he's also a member of the clinton global initiative, and in february 2010 he was invited to the white house to join the first lady michelle obama in launching a quote code let's move," her program to reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity in america. may, 2010, "time" magazine named him to the time 100 world's most influential people coming and then in 2011 -- [applause] -- allen was named as one of the world's most influential by michael pollan and forbes magazine. he was named the 2012 ncaa theodore roosevelt award recipient. he lives with his wife in oak creek wisconsin. and now the video. [applause] ♪
100 scholarship offers and my goal was to get an education and play professional basketball, and i said i will never go back. we were able to move from less than 1% of local food production to 10%. there was a billion dollars change. growing energy here from a growing soil and the community because we are headed here in a community that badly needs food support of is the whole concept about growing community as well as providing the most important. ♪
>> my father was a sharecropper but unlike many african-american males at that time, he wanted myself and my brothers to know where our food came from and for practical reasons to be able to grow our own food. >> [inaudible] largest housing project project we have it was pretty much what is called the food desert and the only agricultural test of food is from the storage and
what they call fast-food swaps. >> i was in cleveland when i met with the mayor of cleveland, and he really gets it. ♪ we are starting to get a lot of waste from food wholesalers. they throw away thousands and thousands of pounds of food waste each week. i want the same food to go to all people in all communities, and to do that you have to figure out ways of reducing production costs, and part of that is what we do here in terms of growing soil by using renewable energy to keep the costs so you can get that food to people at reasonable cost. >> how did you do that? how did you make that happen? how can we do that? it's a unique farm system that's
part of i think ag of the future. how we grow food here very intensively, using every square foot and everything that we discovered we pass on to folks that come here. not like we want to make money out of it. everything we discover we tack on to other programs. >> i don't think i've ever interviewed anybody that was officially named a genius by a major foundation. how did you found out that you were getting the arthur genius award? >> [inaudible] hundreds and thousands of acres in the cities like detroit ohio, buffalo, new york, chicago. the of 33 square miles of land. ♪
i always believe in having a diverse group of folks to work with. diversity is the top of my agenda. one of the desperations i made with the city is i would hire kids from the community, then we started getting looked at as an ancestor to community because we were providing jobs. >> why use to walk past here every day when i was in high school to go to the basketball court and one day i just stopped in here. i never thought i would be doing something like this. ♪ >> for everyone's help whether they are from detroit or some small rural community in alabama and mississippi or upstate and wisconsin, we engage those communities, so it's not just inner city, it's not just urban. its rural communities that are hurting today as well. but it's really all about food. and how we are going to try to
change the existing food system to make it something that really works for everybody. some people think because they spend a lot of money on food that is fresh and good. but we know when it travels many miles it loses a lot of its nutrient value high and the system that we need is to go back to those days where the food system was local. a sustainable food system is the only way to really end ponder in the world. the industrial food system hasn't worked. >> we have to change our food policy, our national food policy, and to do that we need concrete projects like this and others around the country. you can't just stand in line trying to lobby. you have to prove that this works. it's something that we need to continue to grow. there are some challenges that we have to overcome to make it
>> good evening. i don't know if this works. [laughter] these things never worked for me. it's great to be here tonight. great to be back in milwaukee. i just flew in a few minutes ago from miami. i was an l.a. early in the week and then i went to miami. i was invited by the president of the university of miami. donna shalala of you w. madison is now the president at the university of miami and gave the commencement speech to the graduating class yesterday and was an honor especially in 1967i led merrill lynch and went to the university where i was the first african-american
basketball player in 1967, so it was kind of a really special weekend for me and it's also special to be back home. [laughter] tomorrow i'm heading to new york. before i get started by one to bring that charles wilson who co-wrote this book with me and acknowledge a couple people that helped with the book. i don't know if you want to do that. [applause] >> one of my friends told me once that you get with your wallet and your heart and your book does the same thing i feel
really grateful to will. >> i have respect for instrumental in helping. a very graceful writer that got this project off the ground. don richards who is in the book a board member of growing power. >> don is right here. >> i think devotee knows a don -- everybody knows done triet he's putting in a good word when he was applying to get that to silver spring the church wanted that as well, and he said i think we have enough churches in our community. [laughter]
he said what you are doing is religion as self. and i want to thank jennifer who has beautiful pictures in this book. [applause] great photographer. there's lots of other people i'm sure i am for getting. but think you. [applause] we also have some other folks that are instrumental in the work that we do. one of them as sarah, our facilities manager and you've probably run into her. where are you mad? -- where arthu at? [applause] >> and also, we have a couple of
their people here with the growing power and really wanted to thank them because the way we operate at "growing power" we really are a team after some of the teams i've played in the perspective and so forth we have 110 employees to be hiring another 150 over the next year they do a lot of heavy lifting. [applause] and we are embarking on a strategic plan. if you want to stand up? [applause] leading us to our second strategic plan and the first
strategic plan brought us the way we are today so we are to be developing over the next year takes us into the future going through kind of a succession plan and so forth. so looking forward to that and really want to see thank as part of that. the work that we are doing in milwaukee if it wasn't for the community and everybody in the community in terms of this is a grassroots kind of revolution that started as a movement and now i call what the revolution because it really is like traveling around the country everywhere thousands of people shop thief for talks and thousands of people are getting involved and we realize that our food system is broken. we realize that our health you
can read articles on tv every day. was on "time" magazine and they show this little baby that is predicted to be 300 pounds by the time that person reached 30 years of age. we know that one-third of those are obese. we know that we are eating a lot of food that's not really good food even though we can pay a lot for it. when it travels it loses a lot of its nutrient value. and really the only way -- use it for the first time in march, 2010, the on the way to end hunger to lose about 5 million people to food and water around the world is the local food system, not to the industrial food system that we have. the industrial food system going to go away anytime soon? no. but we should work on developing a system we use to have in this country where most of the food was grown within the states we lived, and now we have a tremendous opportunity because of what has happened in rural
america to use some of the land in the city's and some of those cities that have vacant land. milwaukee has become the leader around the world, and it's looked at as a place where folks can come and get knowledge around how to start their businesses and develop their times not just community values but community farms. the part of what we are going to do over the next few years is quantify a lot of things because we have to have concrete examples about how things work and what really people believe because there are still a lot of nay-sayers. they say that doesn't work. that never works, and i think it
is even more when people say things don't work. but we are going to be quantifying this does work and we are going to do it here in milwaukee. milwaukee right now less than 1% is worker roane and over the next two years our goal is to take up to 10% and that has huge implications in terms of jobs and different categories of jobs you wouldn't necessarily look at as farm jobs because this new kind of growing food levels everybody. everybody in this room, and that is the one thing that connects all of us is that we have to have food. we should be able to get food in our bellies within a day and a half of production to get that nutrient and medical folks are working now recognize that and they are participating with us in terms of getting the word out that food is madison.
most of us eat bad medicine so good medicine the only way to do that is to develop the infrastructure and the system to be able to do that. it's not easy but it can be fun if everyone works together. everybody needs to be at what i call the good food revolution table. we can't afford any more to keep people away from the table because we don't like their politics or the way they were or what companies they represent. every major corporate company today has a sustainable mission, so everybody wants to live in the system will cities and manifest every major city has a 2020 plan to become green and sustainable. and if we don't have green and sustainable food systems, then they will never reach those
goals. food is the number one things in our lives, as any to start with food although most rank it in the top ten towards the bottom. so i think we have an opportunity here in milwaukee in the whole milwaukee area to prove that this can happen. i believe that over the next couple of years we will be doubled to quantify a lot of things to really get back into our diets because we cannot commercially physically in lake michigan it's been banned and of course as the contaminants. we are going to build a system and use some of those to drive not just thousands, but millions we have here in the city of milwaukee something that we don't have anywhere else to make
this possible, and to build enough greenhouses are of the city. they have 100 acres of greenhouses to be able to grow food year-round and that's what we do now, we grow food year-round because it's not good just to eat food for 20 weeks out of the year but to eat healthy food three and 65 days of the year and recently we launched this program which is important to assist families putting in 20,000 backyard gardens and that's kind of first line of defense if people didn't grow their own food, the percentage in the backyard, barred from on balcony's, containers, whatever, that is important. but i think every bit the nose to contaminate. so what we do is grow soil and we will take 40 million pounds
of the food rescued and carbon residue and grow thousands of years of compost to be able to do this. if you remember anything i say tonight it's all about the soil. it's what is in the soil. any time i tell you that. so, we want to grow food without chemicals the only way to do that is with soil. i'm going to stop their. we probably need the light. okay. i'm going to share of u.s. -- share a few images. she started everything in terms of food and part of my family
had a very diverse family background but my grandfather was chickasaw indian, and that's my mother and father. they can at the washington, d.c. area and my father was a sharecropper and headed north along with my mother and a lot of that is illustrated in the book. in 1993 this is what i purchased and this is what it looks like now. these are the young people i work with, and there's something unusual about these young people. they are under 30 years of age. they came from their neighborhood and that is how we got engaged with the neighbors,
with some of these kids and there's something different about them than the kids today. and i tell you, these are young people that have their parents pulling them. [applause] we started growing back in those early years and you can see one of the greenhouses built in the late 1920's and started resurrecting and that's how it looked and we started composting more food, waste and carbon waste. today we have at this 17,000 pounds of worms and these are people over 30-years-old to concede the of coats on. this is in the wintertime. in the greenhouse. we had an old boiler and it
didn't work very well. i had to go and stoke the thing, to get -- kick it to get it going. we started -- and remember this image. this was the program in 19951 tank was the lead tank and one was the filter tank and a 55-gallon drums for use to move them time to time so from that you will see how we have of the head and there are a number of those along the north wall. we also grew a lot of plants because that is what the greenhouse is set up to do. we use those to decorate the
city and then i would teach the kids how to grow food. one of the things i noticed -- many of these kids had better reading or writing skills. after they did hands-on we would have them write about it and improve their writing skills and they would want to dig deeper and we would give them some reading on microorganisms or whatever and other grades what improved. one of the last part of course is tending fruit. my family always did that and would teach those kids draw on the same that we did as a family has teaching these kids in those early days. the other thing we did this help build fifer skills. many of these young people didn't know how to use tools and
now until you're 18 years of age, well, i recall those rules, teaching these kids life skills. [applause] we would teach these young people life skills and some in the audience today. but a life skill. and then for programs and volunteering back in those days and i also look at the juvenile justice system for or five years and coming back into the community had to go through this transitional school, and i would use agriculture as a way of helping them do that. so they would bring the compost and put it on the sides of the grass in the hillside and they would go through and donate, and
that was a healing process. they've taken so much from society and now they were getting back so it was important for them. then we would work with the neighborhood's in those early days. the kids would grow and then bring them to the neighborhood house and the it some problems. it would remove the compost. and what look like this. and what happened. what happened was people started paying attention looking at the flowers to identify the community we did this around the entire block.
this was on 25th and brown. this project the drug dealers would hang out about 75 years of compost and we would do these waterbeds. the drug dealers went away because people started turning their heads. now they were looking at the flowers and that became a crime fighting tool believe it or not and the kids have summer jobs at the time the city cut a lot of the programs and kids had jobs and really worked. then we started working with the communities the would come to the workshop in milwaukee because they were suffering from
enhanced diabetes and because many of them are not farmers the start with the youth to come and spend the weekend and they would have these interchanges. we would work in communities like invalid and chicago where they started growing food and that was another crime fighting tool. in 1995 we wrote this article and that kind of took off in the turn-of-the-century. this is what it looks like today. the total transformation we use a lot of the energy because that is going to be an important piece in the agriculture for 25% of the energy and industrial
agriculture in terms of shipping food all over the place and processing the food 25%. so if we are able to grow local food is very important to have renewable energy and things like that because we capture all of the water and all of the buildings and reuse that water in the project. the solar panels take about a quarter of the joost and will be adding more and also we are looking at a wind generator. every time i go home i look at that. i've got to have the one of those. laughter cut we call this the
community food center, and the community food center is where people can come and purchase food and learn about food and learn of how to grow food with many different things around the food system because one of the multicultural multi generational organizations in the country led by a person of color, so it's about being amol to cultural organization to have just like every culture you can think of working. these are the faces of people that come to growing power over 15,000 lives in the workshops and a thousand cars a year now.
[laughter] >> okay. it's all about the soil. what we have to do is grow soymeal and as i travel around the country i tell people and the cities and of mayors and devotee also talked to the need a large composting operation to be able to grow because they are contaminated not only in our inner cities and suburban areas and the rural communities because we use to spray everything and all the
microorganisms' being killed off in the farm fields to make honey sweeny to resurrect our soil and the only way to do that is to put in the land fill every day and put us back into mother earth and that is what we do. so we do a million tons of compost and some have participated in that. and we have animals. about 200 feet away from our presidents and people ask me how can you composting have animals? the key to getting involved in the agriculture you have to engage your neighbors and get them on board to be able to -- [laughter] they are smart. we also have over 500 layers.
and of course we raise 100 of thousand fish. and that's what they look like. and these for some of the things this is a research project that we are going to be doing with the institute over the next two years to quantify things that have never been quantified about growing fish. we have seven different types of systems to be able to do if do this work and different types of food stock, things like worms, food waste, so we are growing in number of fish. the latest fish we have started a research on is a resilient
fish that on the nuts and berries and vegetables waste. degette to 60 pounds, and the case one so we have to start raising some of those and they have a lot of omega three fatty acids. this project means a lot to the city in terms of really starting to grow because if we had a million pounds the would be sold by tomorrow morning. that is how much in demand. >> that is a 10,000 gallen system. when you're building greenhouse production every bit of space is important so we try to use the
low ground greenhouse gas producers. this is a 10,000 gallen system and we put the water up to those beds and three mediates with the fish get out as far as the semiotic relationship. it has 10,000 gallen systems. the one on the right and the one on the left. the water temperature is heated to 85 degrees. we have solar water systems that keeps about 70% of the water now, so we are able to offset the cost it keeps the greenhouse but much more effective by having the hot water that you just lose growing in a
greenhouse. we also teach a beekeeping because in the agriculture we are losing these, so we teach the beekeeping with hundreds of people even our youth so we are able to get over 100 pounds which is about 50% of the rural farmers today because all you folks grow flowers in the city so they are coming over and stealing paulen and so forth. this is another project. we've turned it into an agricultural site on the rooftops and this is romaine lettuce. that was back in february and
then we transported to the compost in 2000. this less has also been in the public schools almost all of our public school systems have food delivered by. last year we drew 100,000 pounds with no school lunch program. this year we're going to go 50,000 lunch program. mms be as we develop relationships with all this work is about developing relationships with folks and this is where we have the composting site in the 40's food waste into compost up on the
hill in three months. we have the temperatures up across the street this is where we are growing tomatoes. we just planted those. these tomatoes are big and very productive and we will house these until about january, february. they just keep producing tomatoes. they just keep climbing the ball the way to the ceiling. yet the 16th as we are adding 19 more and we have a crew everyday would build an infrastructure to increase their locally grown
food, and we build these from scratch. >> these young men for building houses every day. we have a crew of about six to nine and we are adding about five new employees to the crew every month this is important because it shows you need to grow food on every bit of space can find. this is a fire station. i got a call from the chief and he heard about what we are doing and didn't want to cut the grass anymore. he thought we are doing is great with with 16th reservoir.
now that is what is growing. we don't dig down. it's all on the site. just recently on earth day. these are the participants from all over the country and some outside of the country we have folks from canada and sweden at the workshops so folks from all over the world come to these workshops, and one of the pieces that we do is project planning that leads the group's interactions. it's not one of those sit at the table for two or three years until you find yourself out of a business. this is about provisioning ahead
with your farm is going to look like and then going into action. this is quinby an effective tool that we use to get folks into action. this is the idea. the regional and outreach centers around the u.s.. we did this workshop a week ago in washington, d.c. as we found a year contract at the university's district of columbia which is a land grant universities to the district columbia, and what they wanted to do is start growing soil. i convinced them they needed to grow soil for the folks that are wanting to do urban agriculture in the washington, d.c. area, and this is an important to me bring about 10 miles so we went and estimated one of the compost we went down with a staff about seven of the staff and did a
workshop and this is kind of the energy. i'm not trying to tell them. next, next. >> this particular young man has painted a truck that looks like a cabin and he goes around and picks up food waste from different homes and he takes it to farms to the food to the residents. this is one of the most important things to the commercial urbanized training for them a few years ago he wanted to do rooftop garden and put before he left the program, he changed his mind and he
wanted to start composting, picking a waste. he doesn't do composting himself but he picks up the waste in this particular truck and others. next to read next. next. slow down a little bit. next. next. so we bring milwaukee all the materials and we are training lots of folks on the regional area. how to do composting. next. next. next. next.
>> so this is all done in to days and devotee gets a handgun during this. with him slow down a little bit. >> that is the only way that we can learn how to find out on the farm. i've never seen anybody learn how to farm. this is chicago. this is probably the most in the nation. this is 150 different varieties art on the far more french provision of plants.
we've been doing this for seven years and they've given us more land to grow. this program gets marketed throughout the area on 100,000 pounds and we also bring probably the most famous housing project in the country the presbyterian church of this land by using it as a peace garden and this has been a huge success, another project grown on top of asphalt. it's been a great project in terms of different folks and different cultures and growing foods. this is the latest farm, 7-acre farm that had an opportunity to
get more in this area from bridgeport to right across the river for the average income is 50,000 bridgeport on the other side of the river is 19 paulson 4700 those and people switch quinby important. a lot of renewable energy. we were at the chicago flower and garden show in 2011, 2012. this is our display. one of the things we wanted to do and i tried to start with that in the 90's these gardens need to be esthetically. it's important to enhance rather than having ugly gardens that people really don't want to be a part of. and these young people if they were not participating they were probably doing something that isn't so good they get paid in the summertime to be in these programs and many of them stay
with us from 8-years-old. this is the future. we hope to be breaking the ground in this project. this has been designed right next to the parent firm and will be the first of the kind in the world with a large retail stores and a greenhouse is stacked on top of each other that would house over 400 people in the second floor and have a teaching kitchen to become involved in culinary arts and could also hopefully be the start of a project that we are working ith all of the universities here in the area in madison and some of the other universities to have a nutritional and the agricultural institute starting with the master's and doctoral students the would be housed and they would move that the army reserve base and build the institute of
their but it has got 24 offered spaces. next. thank very much. [applause] >> one person i didn't introduce that i would like to, you ought to stand up? ena has been working with me for a number of years and we have been putting together a video for a couple of years that will be coming out also that talks about the work that we are doing and the future of the work.
he got a small slice tonight because my normal powerpoint has almost a thousand images. [laughter] this one has only 200 something. but you got lucky. okay. i'm going to take some questions now. i think we have a process for this. >> thank you so much for another informative and inspiring talk. we are very fortunate to have you in milwaukee. thank you for setting us up here. i heard you speak at the university recently come in and you mentioned you are going to be doing something that the state fair. can you elaborate on that? >> we will be having probably the largest international conference in the country this
coming september on a seventh come eighth and ninth. we have 17 different ones that involve every aspect of their lives and corporate tracks, so we have kind of a who's who list and they are coming. we don't pay them anything. we just give them a free entrance into the conference, so a lot of these national folks that are working along the food system are going to be coming in and we are going to have over 200 breakout sessions and keynote addresses and there will be a huge presence. we are looking forward to that. this is a separate national conference two years ago in 2010 we had about 1500 people will be
at the expo center so i would like to invite everybody to that. all of the food from our infrastructure and local food prepared. we have a chef's knife which is the highlight. we have over 30 different stations on saturday night at the conference and it's a wonderful thing where if they take our food and make all of this amazing kind of food. so looking forward to that. we have been working on that for over a year. for devotee wants to be a part of what we are still looking for help. >> join us and sign up. over here. this young man. do you want to step up? ..
let's go out and sell products and services. so we do a lot of service work. we sell a lot of products. we have a small development team. we do write some grants. we'veline fortunate that folks get to know us, we've been able to get some sizable grants, but we just don't out and beg for money every day. we want to, like i said, prove this is cash flow what we're doing, and all the different aspects of integrated farming system.
yes? [inaudible] >> do you want to step to the mic? >> two questions. one is, i don't mean to be fa since but -- facetious but i grew up understanding that eating vegetables from greenhouses was not good. >> well, you know what? growing foodes all about the soil. it's really not about greenhouses in terms of maybe the traditional way of growing in greenhouses was always chemicals, using a lot of chemicals in terms of even the hydroponic systems and just growing in the soil. if you go to
most greenhouses they use large amounts of chemicals. we don't. so it's all about the soil and what's in the soil and the microorganisms, tickling the root fibers of the plants and the good taste. if you have healthy soil and micronutrients you're going to get good taste of food, and question use a lot of worm castings, a few hundred thousand pounds of worm castings a year. so, that's really important to have the right nutrients in the soil. >> thank you. one other quick question. do you have a relationship with post-natural foods? >> we do. we have permanent placement of our products at all 0 three outpost stores. we have a great relationship with them and we work with them at sinai hospital, getting their food. we have a farm stand at sinai hospital and also in -- as well.
so, one of the most important things is integrative medicine and getting food as part of those programs out to the community. >> okay. thank you. >> you talked about this project in chicago was instrumental in different groups mending fences. i wonder if you could talk about that a little bit more? >> yeah. a huge housing project. it's been dismantled but they're keeping the low rices and gentrification, and new people are moving into the community, a first presbyterian church, which is a church of 4,000 folks in downtown chicago. wanted to use this piece of land we purchased. the original purpose was to build a community center, but they didn't have the funding to do that. so, they came to us and asked us
if we would help them in terms of setting up a large-scale community garden that would mend fences and they could recruit some folks from the community to join their church and try to bring people together culturally. people from different cultures and so forth. so it's really been a big success in doing that. >> way in the back there. you want to come up? >> you had shown the construction of, like, four greenhouses in washington, near washington, and i just -- a huge crew, everybody knew what they were to do, everything well organized, everything -- two days you did -- so how do you
get all the people? how did these people know this is coming? how do you get all these people signed on for the project? and then completed it in such a short time. >> okay. first of all -- that's a great question because that's port of the outreach that folks we work with, organizations. we're not trying to go out and put growing power businesses all over the country. we work the existing organization and we assist them in building infrastructure and give them training. the way that works is those organizations recruit the folks to come to the workshop, and those people have no knowledge, absolutely zero knowledge, how to build a hoop house. so what you saw are people that are learning, going through the hands-on process. we bring six of our staff to all
of these locations around the country. we load up our trucks with all the materials because early on we learned that when we used to send lists out to folks to purchase this material, we'd get there and nothing would be there, or half the stuff would be missing. so we load up one of our 24-foot trucks and go up there and we kind of lead the training. and with 30-40 people, you can put up a 20x48-foot house in two days, and people learn, and that's how people -- once they learn how to do this, they can take it back to their farms or their community-based organizations and take that knowledge back. >> well, thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> my question is on soil. knowing that the quality of soil
is very important, my first gardening was on the south side of chicago. at that time i used a chemical herbicide but i grew good-testing food. here in the victory garden, indicated making the -- i'm not as concerned about the soil here as i would be there on the south side of chicago, where it may be toxic because of the dairy industry. is there a concern if you have a backyard, you have not been using toxic thing -- i was amassed when i got to milwaukee and saw the water. the water looks healthy. so i -- my question is, i'm going right directly into the soil. get a soil test but i'm -- itself i don't, i'm going --
>> let me answer that for you, because milwaukee is one of the heaviest lead cities in america. there's more lead on the south side of milwaukee -- i think they were ranked at one point number one in the nation. so certain plants take up lead in their -- like mustards and -- a lot of different plants take up the lead, and we eat that, especially the vulnerable kids and stuff. we won kerr why they have heavy lead problems and so forth when they get tested. so, we have no digging equipment. now, if you're going to do a full spectrum test of all your soil in the backyard, it's going cost you a few thousand dollars and it's not really practical to do that. we found a method that epa likes. we put two feet of new soil on top of existing soil, and the microroot fibers don't go down into the hard pan clay. i'm looking for nutrients down
there. but that's the technique we've been using for many years, and even though epa was not signed on and said this is the method, but they will be coming out with some -- because of all the activity. but we're in a city where we have a lot of old houses that used to use lead paint, and that paint lead has been spread around the yards, and we have arsenic and other bad guys in the soil. i would not eat food that was grown directly in soil inside the city. me personally, i wouldn't want any of you to eat food because if you just think you have really healthy soil without really finding out for sure. so, it's really important to grow some soil. okay. over here. this young man.
>> can you comment on landfill contaminations from sources like electronics and trash and how that affects the food supply? >> i don't have a lot of knowledge. i know landfills aren't got. the first that goes into landfill is food waste and the nitrogen leeches out and causes groundwater contamination. we know that. so that's why it's important to keep food waste out. one of the things we're going to start at the new housing project at west lawn, a mixed income development, reconstructing the 75-acre project, and we're going to start milwaukee's first food waste pickup from the homes there. we're training folks that are moving in there on what what to put into the container because we don't rags and diapers and things like that. so, we have a sticker on the
container, and that will be a pilot project for the whole city of milwaukee. and we hope we can roll this out -- i talked to the mayor about this, and he is very interested. we're going to start it there, and work out all the kinks. >> over here. we're going back and forth. >> i understand that there may be three areas for you to grow that i didn't see much of in here. one is the abandoned buildings in the valley here. another is schools. where there might be a couple of science teachers and some of these schools who are actually setting up a system like yours quietly, they are, under cover, and the third place is internationally. what are we building over there? and especially places like
palestine or desert areas where hunger is killing millions of people. what are the projects. >> i'll try to answer those questions, but my memory is short so you might have to remind me. let's start with the schools. we are training teachers. i was -- they keep you on campus and don't give you any practical learning so one thing we're doing is working with teachers now, and they're coming to our weekly trainings over a five-month period and learning how to do hands-on education because that's important today, and many of our kids learn in a hand-on way before they get interested and really learning the traditional ways. so we're working with teachers. it's not undercover, by the way. it's been funded by a number of sources, and many teachers are very interested in -- i know we're working with a college and
marquette and other schools. so it's really important that our teachers learn how to pass on, because one of the messages we give our kids, we talk about the five superfood groups, kale and blueberries and three others and then we match them down the haul and give them in the world's worst food. so as far as gardens on the school grounds, it's very important, of course, they started it in california and in milwaukee we have a number of school gardens we have installed, matter of fact we signed a 20-year lease with maple tree school, every class in the school has a garden. and the community has a garden. so it's a combination community garden and a school garden. so that's important. as far as international work, i'm part of the global
initiative, we're doing some work around the world now, and kenya, and we're develop something projects in zimbabwe and south africa, and i have a big interest in doing stuff in different countries. we have done some, who in ukraine. once the russians got out of there. so we've been doing a lot of work in those areas, too. [inaudible] >> we're looking at abandoned buildings and also looking at abandoned schools women have over 20 closed schools and some of them have a lot of acreage. i have a contract with mps on my desk to look over that we're going to start putting up hoop houses at the school on about 40 -- i think it's 42nd and silver springs that's been closed for five or six years.
so'll be able to put up 30 20x96-foot hoop houses on top of as fault. so we're looking at every type of -- any space we can fine, but definitely these buildings. like i said, the building we're building now, a hatchery on tenth and north avenue, we built eight greenhouses on the 2 359-acre facility. i showed images of the lettuce there. so we also have a farm at forest homes cemetery. they had old greenhouses there. we res -- resurrected the greenhouses and keeping people out of the cemetery longer as they eat that food. [applause]
>> until most of us are eating more than 1% and up to 100% organic local food, do you have any ideas of things we can do about biologically engineered food in this country. >> you can stop buying it. i think that would be the first thing. one of the problems when you to a retail grocery store, you have to search for local labels. we're going to try to do and and we've done it at outpost, they buy locally grown fooled in the summer anytime but we need to have locally grown food all year around and that's what our project is about, not growing food 20 weeks out of the year. >> you looking at biologically engineered food. >> people are looking at and it complaining been it but our approach is to change the
dynamics how people access their food, and one thing we're trying to do is get stores to have locally grown sections, so when you walk into the vegetable aisle, instead of searching for the locally grown food, it will be labeled, big sign, and it will have the farms and maybe pictures of the farmers that are growing this locally grown food, and then you can make -- it will be easier to make those choices. but until we build the infrastructure -- remember, we're less than 1%. if we can get up to 10%, implications are tremendous in terms of 10% less trucks coming in across the country, all the money saved in the -- stays in the local community to create jobs, 10% or more, way more than 10% better health for ourselves if we're eating this food. >> thank you. >> this young man. [inaudible] [laughing] >> they do a number of things
besides act crazy because -- kind of fun animals. we make cheese. there's a cheese plant. a friend of mine, bob wills -- probably heard of him -- opening a cheese plant on the south side. one of the only ones i know about in the country, inside a major city. we'll be taking on milk, goats milk to make cheese. >> this young lady. try to answer everybody's questions. >> i heard you talk about how you never dig into soil. you have soil and you're making your own fresh water system. i wanted to elaborate on what she was saying that there's lot of people out there other activists that think that the genetically modified food is contaminating our natural seed and there's a lot of people out
there who believe you have to save your seeds in order to have natural or organic cultures. so i want to get your opinion on that and if you think seed saving has to be part of the future. >> we do seed saving but that's a whole other business. so we participate with folks in seed companies that do heirloom seeds and open pollinated seeds. we don't use any -- matter of fact, very few seeds on the vegetable line, tomatoes and corn, probably the only ones that are genetically modified that you can fine out. most of the stuff is cash crop, stuff like soybean, corn, cotton, things like that. but as far as vegetable seeds, yeah, it's important for us to start seed saving. a lot of companies we support that do seed save on the organic side. but that's a whole nuther business. and we try to support people
that want to go into those kind of businesses, and i hope more people want to do it. if you want to do it, we'll definitely try to help you. yes? >> yes. i'm concerned about my new friend who really wants to do farming in her house. has growing power considered scholarships or funding for anyone that is this enthusiastic? >> absolutely. we have scholarships. we also have -- when we launched this 20,000 backyard gardens, we had some corporate companies that gave over $30,000 to be able to purchase soil for low-income folks. every ten gardens we sell, we donate one to a low-income family. we don't just want these gardens
and this soil to go to folks that have a lot of money. we want everybody, and that's the way we work. we want our food to go to everybody in our community. we want the same food, the same food to go to every area of our city, our state, or whatever. that's the way a just food system. this work is about social justice and food justice, and we have an organization called growing food in justice that we have in growing power. we sponsor over a thousand different organizations around the country, and we have meetings on growing food in justice. [applause] >> will, here's a softball for you. urban farming, we saw the goats and the chickens. how many total livestock do you have, within 100,000.
>> we don't have that many. but -- because of the state's allocation but we have over 50 goats and 500 chickens. so, when we do tours, one of the things about our tour, we tour thousands of kids every year, and many of the programs won't allow kids to go to farms because of the economics so they get to see a real farm inside the city and that's another reason. >> what about the red wigglers. >> we have billions of those, and by the way, don, those are also our employees. we have -- we're really the biggest employer in the world. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you very much. they're cutting me off -- one more. [inaudible]
>> people who are really interested -- people who want to support. you're a tremendous leader. your enthusiasm is unbelievable. what are you doing to ensure that this initiative continues well beyond you? this is a long process. >> martinelli is helping us to lead our organization to a succession plan. we have -- i have the most wonderful staff in the world, i think, and these young people are learning every day. i pass on everything i can to our staff, and our strategic plan is much different than most organizations. our strategic plan and -- frank do you want to say a couple words how we engage our entire management staff? >> that's a great question. >> thanks, will. well, i would start by saying
that one of the hallmarks of a great leader, he or she thinks about the future, what needs to be done today so that the mission of the organization will thrive and will have impact in the future, and that's really why will is supporting and leading this strategic planning process. and like most tragedyic planning processes, it's really important, in a nonprofit to involve the board and the staff together, and then also to really throw the net wide in terms of, who do we talk to? who do we ask about the future? what's changing in the world around an organization like growing power? what are the implications of those changes, and then how does growing power need itself to change in order to be around in the future? and i think -- i've said this to will and the others -- there's a special challenge to an organization like growing power, which is all about sustainability, your challenge,
our challenge, is to build an organization that is sustainable itself. >> thank you, frank. [applause] >> i'm not going to be around forever and i'm trying to pass on to the next generation dish believe in the next generation, matter of fact, over 75% of the folks around the country are under 40 years of age for the first time. before it was mostly academics studying the food system and crusty old farmers like myself. but now we have young people that want to become farmers but farm in a different way, and most of the future farmers will not come from the rural community. they'll be coming from colleges and universities and programs around the country. they'll be growing on rooftops and on asphalt and building inside buildings, and building
>> if we turn away from the needs of others, we align ourselves with those forces which are bringing about this suffering. >> the white house is a bully pulpit and you ought to take advantage of it. >> obesity in this country is nothing short of a public health crisis. >> little antennas went up and told me when somebody had their own agenda. >> so much influence in that office. a shame to waste it. >> i think they serve as a window on the past to what was going on with american women. >> she becomes the chief confidante. the only one in the world he can trust. >> many of the women who were first ladies, a lot of them were writers, journalists. >> they are in many cases, quite frankly, more interesting as human beings than their husbands.
if only because they are not first and for most define lid political amibition. >> dolly was socially department and politically savvy. >> dolly madison loved every minute of it. mrs. monroe it absolutely halted. >> warned her husband, you can't rule without including what women weren't and what women have to contribute. >> during the statement he was a little breathless and too much looking down, and i think it was a little too fast. not enough change of pace. >> yes, ma'am. >> probably the most tragic of all of our first ladies. >> they never should have married. >> she made a entry in her memoir she said i myself never made any decisions. i only decided what was important, and when to present it to my husband. now, you stop and think about how much power that is.
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