Milwaukee Edition
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print

Letter from Publisher

This past spring, I had the pleasure of seeing Growing Place: A Visual Study of Urban Farming, an urban agriculture exhibition that ran at the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Grohmann Museum. Milwaukee abounds with urban farms today, but the exhibition proved that our city has deep roots when it comes to growing food wherever space allows.

In the late 1800s, when Milwaukee was emerging as an industrial powerhouse, immigrants found work not just in brewing and iron mills, but also in urban fields, growing and harvesting crops such as celery. Planner and conservationist Charles Whitnall, who was influential in developing our stunning Milwaukee County Parks system, had called for fruit orchards to be planted throughout Downtown Milwaukee as early as 1911. Milwaukee led the nation in the victory garden harvests during World War I and World War II. After gardening hit a dip during mass consumerism, brought on by mid-century post-war affluence, Milwaukee activists and mentors again led in reviving urban gardening efforts to teach skills and grow food in areas hit by disinvestment and factory shutdowns during the 1970s and 1980s.

In the 1990s, Will Allen led a resurgence in urban farming, and although his signature project Growing Power has closed, he’s still leading urban farming efforts that teach sustainability and job skills while providing healthy nutritious food for everyone. Promoting similar visions and missions are Walnut Way, Victory Garden Initiative, We Got This, Alice’s Garden, HOME GR/OWN, Cream City Farms, Teens Grow Greens, CORE El Centro and countless nonprofits, government and other public and private entities. Innovative urban farmers are experimenting with hydroponics, aquaponics and microgreens to grow food all year long indoors, circumventing the limitations previously set by Wisconsin’s harsh winters.

I encourage you to support local agriculture by visiting one (or several) of the Milwaukee area’s vast farmers’ markets this season. Or tear a page from Milwaukee’s rich urban agricultural history and continue those traditions by growing your own vegetables and flowers in the yard or on a patio, or even start simple with herbs in small window boxes or planters. There’s an immense sense of joy and calm in playing in the dirt under the sun, smelling the rich scent of the Earth’s soil and watching your seeds sprout and grow into healthy and tasty fresh foods. UW-Extension has a wealth of information for aspiring gardeners (Milwaukee.Extension.Wisc.edu/horticulture).

Urban agriculture is a win-win for everyone, and together we can keep Milwaukee green and growing.

From my green thumb to yours,

Gabriella Buchnik, publisher

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Letter from Publisher

June brings us the opportunity to spend long, sunny days with children and to celebrate the fathers in our lives, making it a perfect time to focus on the well-being of the whole family, but especially on men’s health.

Letter from Publisher

This season is a great time for anyone to start experiencing the benefits of meditative, or therapeutic, gardening, also known as horticultural therapy.

Letter from Publisher

Adopting some of the ways of our grandparents and great-grandparents, such as reusing items and conserving resources, can contribute toward habits that are better not only for the planet, but also for our health.

Letter from Publisher

Food waste is beginning to garner attention recently, as its link to worldwide food insecurity and environmental damage increasingly comes into focus.

Letter from Publisher

Ethical financial planning and socially conscious investing is a primary theme of our February issue, presented in our Green Living article, “Investing for Good."

Letter from Publisher

Many of us are conscious about outdoor environmental issues such as clean air and drinking water. Yet many health perils can exist in our own homes.

Letter from Publisher

As we wrap up another year, many of us find ourselves again asking, “Where did this year go?” Myriad articles have tried to explain why we often perceive time—and life—moving by too quickly, especially as we age.

Letter from Publisher

Through awareness, education and action, we can all form healthy habits to protect our most vital, life-sustaining resource: water.

Letter from Publisher

“Game Changers,” one of Natural Awakenings’ themes for October, focuses on the youth of our nation taking the reins to make a difference in social and environmental areas.

Letter from Publisher

Natural Awakenings is just one of many publications delivering cutting-edge information about natural, noninvasive, non-pharmaceutical health remedies presented by health and wellness advocates, scientists and researchers.

Letter from Publisher

As we strive to stay true to our values and ensure that our children feel loved, we need to model this behavior by applying those values in our interactions with others.

Letter from Publisher

Wisconsinites are fortunate to have an abundance of local, organically grown choices. In its 2017 organic agriculture status report, the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems reported that, nationally, Wisconsin is second only to California in the overall number of organic farms and in the number of farms adding organic acres.