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Monday, April 11, 2011

Growing Power initiative to create 150 new jobs

From an article in Biz Times Daily:

With legislation signed by Mayor Tom Barrett following a unanimous vote by the Milwaukee Common Council, Growing Power Inc., has been awarded $425,000 to build 150 hoop house gardens on vacant land within the city.
The farms will be tended by beginning urban farmers, creating 150 new jobs that will be filled by unemployed people in Milwaukee.

Growing Power’s proposal, called “Growing Capacity for the Green Economy,” was made in February to Milwaukee’s African-American Male Unemployment Task Force, whose mission is to work with community organizations and businesses to reduce joblessness among black males in Milwaukee. Recent estimates have put Milwaukee’s African-American male unemployment rate at more than 25 percent, one of the highest rates in the nation.

The grant, which comes from federal Housing and Urban Development funding, will be administered by Milwaukee’s Community Development Block Grant office.

“This is a strong beginning,” said Will Allen, founder of Growing Power and nationally recognized urban agriculture leader. “To do this program right, we will need three times this amount. Our workers will need training and we will need support staff, in addition to the hoop houses themselves.”

Despite the financial challenge, Allen is upbeat about the program’s future.

“We can find this money. The low overall cost for the benefits the program will bring – both in terms of creating jobs and providing fresh, nutritious food for urban families – will hopefully be a powerful formula for success” Allen said.

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