Leana Nakielski, Growing Power
Rebecca Noricks, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
MILWAUKEE—Growing Power, a pioneer nonprofit in modern urban agriculture, today announced a five-year, $5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop and grow operations across the nation that will produce fresh, locally-grown food, train new farmers, and provide healthy produce for children and families in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
The “community food centers” are located in Detroit, New Orleans, Taos, N.M. and in the Mississippi delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi.
“Growing Power will help these local community food centers build organizational strength through strategic planning, leadership development, infrastructural development, financial sustainability guidance, anti-racism education and promoting networking opportunities,” said Growing Power CEO Will Allen.
Growing Power’s own Community Food Center and production farms in Milwaukee are producing more than a million pounds of food annually. The urban farm center supports fifteen hoop-houses for year-round production of plants and vegetables, more than 100,000 fish, and a livestock inventory of chickens, goats, honeybees and millions of worms in a space no larger than a small supermarket.
The food centers in other communities will not be replicas of Growing Power’s operation, but will instead be tailored by locals to fit the needs, resources, history and culture of each community.
“Traditional and cultural practices have much to share with the world in our common goal of sustainability,” said Pati Martinson, co-director of the Taos County Economic Development Corporation, a Growing Power grant partner in northern New Mexico working on food security, land tenure, water rights and other issues.
Since the grant work began several months ago, “We have learned a great deal about composting, hoop-house construction and other skills,” said Malik Yakini, chairman of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. “Our affiliation with Growing Power is particularly rewarding because we share the same commitment to access to good food and justice for all within the food system."
Other leaders involved in this work include: Nat Turner, founder, Our School at Blair Grocery (New Orleans); Dr. Barry Colley, CEO, Seven Harvest (Forrest City, Ark.); Dorothy Grady-Scarbrough, director, Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture (Shelby, Miss.); and Terrie Bad Hand, co-director, Taos County Economic Development Corporation (Taos, N.M.)
“One of the Kellogg Foundation’s core beliefs is that all people—particularly vulnerable children—deserve access to good food,” said Gail C. Christopher, vice president – program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “This investment will develop and support leaders and their work in communities to help more families and communities get the healthy and good food they need to be healthier and thrive.”
The announcement was made at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds, where Growing Power is hosting its biennial National-International Urban & Small Farm Conference. The event features up to 3,000 participants from across the globe, including farmers, chefs, urban planners, biologists, policymakers and others.
About Growing Power
Growing Power was started in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1993 by Will Allen, a 2008 winner of a MacArthur “Genius Award” who has long worked to produce and deliver healthy food to low-income communities. It is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of community food systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner. Their vision is to inspire communities to build sustainable food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound, creating a just world, one food-secure community at a time.
About W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.