Monday, Day 3
After waking up earlier than we liked and getting a bit lost, we finally found our way to Growing Power.
Growing Power is an organization that supports people from different backgrounds and environments in helping to provide access to healthy, safe food. It started out with a man with land to farm and teens looking for work in 1993. Today, Growing Power is a highly influential force for change on the local, national, and global level. Volunteers come from all walks of life; all ranges of age, background, and ability can be found lending a hand.
The farm is relatively small, but includes several greenhouses--some of which house chives, tomatoes, potatoes, and lettuce--goats, chickens, and a couple of rams with a love of bread. The goats were quite the escape artists as well.
We spent the day in different groups doing different tasks around the farm. These tasks including filling up wheelbarrows with wood chips, taxiing the wheelbarrows, spreading wood chips, spreading fresh soil on potted plants, and transporting compost. By the end of the day, we had wheeled several barrows of compost to an empty greenhouse, creating a sizable pile that rivaled some of us in height!
(This was the pile we were digging from, not the one we created!)
At the end of the day, we had the privilege of meeting the founder of Growing Power, Will Allen.
After about an hour of resting back at Home Base (a.k.a. the apartment our leaders live in and where we have meetings/meals), we set out once again, this time to meet with Rid Racism Milwaukee. This organization started back in 1995 with a goal to fight racism in Milwaukee. The mission had tried to spread to the rest of Wisconsin and beyond, but they realized that, for the moment, they would be more effective focusing on Milwaukee.
We spent a couple of hours having a discussion with five of its members--Dan, Reggie, Matt, Sue, and Ted. Over sub sandwiches, we discussed the group's history, their plans to achieve their goals, and their ideas on how to continue the conversation about race and racism in our own lives. Though we received many great pieces of advice, the most important was simply to arm ourselves with knowledge. We talked about when and how these conversations can take place--be it with a stranger who's conversation you overhear or the uncle at Thanksgiving--and how difficult it can be to overcome the fear and take a stand. But we also acknowledged the importance and effectiveness of it. And while Rid Racism is currently focused on Milwaukee, they hope to branch out further--indeed, they say they need to branch out further--and having these conversation about race and racism is one way to help. Our conversation was only supposed to last an hour, but we were all so involved that it went twice that! We could have stayed all night if we weren't all exhausted from the day's activities.
We look forward to tomorrow's adventures at Victory Garden Initiative and also to returning to Growing Power later in the week. We would also like to thank our community partners for these amazing opportunities to work with them and for Rid Racism for the amazing discussion (and to apologize if any names are misspelled).
Good night from Miltown,
Christina and Haylee