Monday, February 21, 2011

Touring the Food Revolution

Yesterday I took my three girls to Sweet Water Organics for a tour of their facility at 2151 South Robinson Avenue in Milwaukee. Sweet Water is an indoor urban fish and vegetable farm in operation since 2008. I've been following their progress over the last couple of years and figured it was time to check the place out. Tours are $10 and absolutely worth the money if you have any interest in learning about pioneering sustainable agricultural practices occurring right here in Milwaukee.

Sweet Water is a fascinating project that brings the aquaponics system made famous in recent history by Growing Power's Will Allen to a repurposed industrial building on Milwaukee's south side. Aquaponics involves creating a growth cycle whereby fish like Tilapia and Perch are farmed in tanks; the waste they create is used to fertilize edible plants like lettuce, wheat grass, watercress, sprouts, and so on. This is an organic, sustainable growing method with the potential to revolutionize the food industry.

On our tour we congregated in a classroom and heard the back story of Milwaukee's aquaponics revolution from former Growing Power board member, Sweet Water co-founder, and local food revolutionary James Godsil, AKA "Olde." Following the lecture we were able to explore Sweet Water's aquaponics system. My three young daughters helped feed the fish. We then heard all about the science behind the aquaponics method. Following our aquaponics lesson was a Q + A period that was still going when I had to leave (my daughters started getting antsy). We were there for at least an hour and a half.

Sweet Water tours are every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at Noon; children under 10 are free. Growing Power (located on the north side of Milwaukee) gives daily tours at 1 p.m.

Learn more about Sweet Water Organics at

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