City Farms – KQED/QUEST (2013)

On the forefront of Good Food Revolution Will Allen of Milwaukee demonstrates a working Urban Farm. He defines his effort as establishing oasis in a “food desert”. The program prepared by QUEST gives a brief biographical sketch and highlights from the project.

Following a significant career in basketball, Allen decided to go back to farming. In 2008 he was granted a prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant for his influential contributions to the urban agricultural practices.

“The Great Migration transformed the African-American experience from a rural to an urban one. The generation of African-Americans born in the wake of that migration — my generation — would live in a very different world from that of our ancestors. In that transition, we lost the agricultural skills that had once been our birthright.”

— Will Allen

In addition to composting, one of his successful implementations is growing fish beneath the plants which helps create additional fertilizer source. Aquaponics is an ecologically efficient way to produce protein. Fish are cold blooded and thus don’t burn away the food they eat as body heat. Sheeps, goats and cows therefore require huge amounts of food requiring more agricultural activity. Allen uses Tilapia fish which performs very well in captivity.

Allen has plans for scaling up agricultural operations and spread into other urban areas forming a network of “vertical farms.” He already has a design for a five-story greenhouse and education center in Milwaukee. He wants to build multi-story vertical farms.

There are many positive developments toward establishing a healthy way of life and initiatives like Seed Savers are helping ti form a solid foundation:

 

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