We began our day in greenhouse one, where people and groups from around the country gathered together anxiously waiting for the day (and Will Allen!). As we waited, Growing Power provided a delicious and hardy breakfast, and we were able to meet and greet with unfamiliar faces and hear the many reasons for participating in the various workshops. I met a man from South Carolina whose ambition was to start up something similar to Growing Power in his community, I met many Milwaukee Public School teachers who were eager to learn more about implementing sustainable agriculture in their schools. The greenhouse was heated with passion and promise. We all came to Growing Power to listen, look and learn.
After breakfast and introductions, we received a full tour of the facility. After awhile, I had to remember to keep my mouth closed, there were so many moments where my jaw just dropped. The dangling mushroom chandeliers glistened in the sunlit greenhouse, hanging plant filled pots were overflowing with greenery, and the sound of swimming fish rang throughout greenhouse three, Aquaponics. The chickens in the chicken coop seemed happy-go-lucky, the goats gloated and grinned (they eat like kings!), and I've never seen a more luscious pile of compost.
When we finished the tour, we split up into our breakout workshop sessions. I was fortunate enough to attend the Microgreens (Sprouts) Year Round Production workshop on the first day and the Community Project Planning workshop on the second day. Each day I was surrounded by enthusiastic learners and it was inspiring to see the Good Food Revolution unfold firsthand. Growing Power opened my eyes to the fast growing Good Food movement and the great opportunities and potential for sustainable agriculture on our own campus here at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.