Building with Community: Professional Development Training in Sustainable Food Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2003: $90,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Will Allen
Growing Power, Inc.

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: focus group, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: value added
  • Soil Management: composting
  • Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, leadership development, urban agriculture, community development

    Proposal abstract:

    Growing Power proposes an innovative approach to professional development via hands-on training in community food systems with diverse community members also in attendance to better utilize sustainable agricultural practices. Growing Power’s national community food center offers a setting that was designed for opportunities for interactive education and problem solving, developing training skills by experiential learning. What is the Growing Power Community Food Center? The Growing Power Community Food Center is the first of its kind in the nation. It is a two-acre farm located on the northwest side of Milwaukee. This historic site is the last remaining farm and greenhouse operation from the 1920’s. The Growing Power Community Food Center is open to the public. The Center offers schools, universities, government agencies, farmers, activists, and community members the opportunity to participate in understanding sustainable Community Food Systems. Over 3,000 visitors yearly have benefited from this opportunity to learn and participate in Community Food Systems. Growing Power allows for this to happen in an on-going continuum, serving as a practical training and research ‘living museum’ or idea factory for professionals ranging from farmers, USDA personnel to extension staff. Training areas include: bio-phyto remediation and soil health, aquaculture closed-loop systems, vermiculture, hydroponics, small and large scale composting, urban agriculture, perma-culture, food distribution, marketing, value added product development, community engagement and participatory leadership development and project planning.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Short-Term Outcomes: ·Increase knowledge of community food security and food systems in relation to sustainable agriculture systems through participatory hands on training. ·Apply training skills by immediately integrating at least one new sustainable strategy into teaching or practice post-training. ·Participate in activities with diverse professionals that will address learning styles, cultural/gender equity and listening skills through experiential workshops. ·Establish work groups comprised of diverse professionals. Intermediate Outcomes: ·Diverse participation in work groups to develop sustainable community food systems curriculum and other collaborative projects. ·Focus on a sustainable strategy or technology (i.e. Vermicompost) and integrate this training within their research or program delivery. oEmphasis on hands-on training to related constituents. oImproved program delivery to small farms, inner-city urban agriculture producers, new immigrant farmers and minority and women producers. Long Term Outcomes Systematic Changes: ·Apply sustainable community food system strategies in their research and education of diverse populations and audiences through hands-on participatory training as a result of this professional development series. ·Educators that are knowledgeable and motivated to work in partnership with farmers, ranchers, the general public, and each other to develop programs and activities that enhance the sustainability of our food and agriculture.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.