It’s always exciting to learn how innovative and creative the Greater Green Bay community is, even if it isn’t aware it’s happening.
Case in point, our community is making the availability of fresh, local produce year-round a priority. We see it by the turnout at our farmers markets. We see it in our grade schools, high schools and higher education institutions. What may be most exciting is how our community doesn’t let the harsh winters of northeastern Wisconsin stop fresh produce from ending up in a meal even when gardens are covered in snow and bitter cold temperatures keep us in our homes.
It’s inside these same places that keep us warm that we have successful indoor gardening efforts taking place throughout Greater Green Bay, especially in our schools.
WEST DE PERE, Wis. – “I think it’s going to be hundreds, we take kids in our culinary program introduction to food programs, ag science courses biology other advance horticulture type classes landscape courses so all those kids are going to be a part of this experience,” said Russell Gerke – Principal at W. De Pere High School
The Farmory in downtown Green Bay is a “farm with a social mission,” in the words of Program Director, Alex Smith. The historic armory turned “farmory” is being used to demonstrate to the community how the centuries old practice of farming can address the growing problem of food security in many of today’s urban areas. Unknown to many, downtown Green Bay is in the heart of a “food desert” — a designation given to areas where residents are anywhere from a half-mile to a mile away from a grocery store that stocks fresh produce. Through the collaborative work and knowledge of food professionals — community organizations and UW-Green Bay experts — water, food and more are making a return to the desert. Read more on page 23.
Food for Thought
Student researchers are playing key roles in one grad’s creative effort to provide urban residents with improved access to healthy food
At first glance, Green Bay would seem to be immune from the sort of healthy food-access issues more commonly found in bigger cities. Major grocery retailers are plentiful around the perimeter of the city, but therein lies the challenge: Residents of inner-city neighborhoods exist in what has become a food desert, where unhealthy, processed foods are often the only available choices.
Farmory sells mixed greens to Cannery
Adrienne Winter, Cannery general manager, said the partnership helps fill a notorious gap in the supply of produce during Wisconsin’s cold winter months.
The Farmory is still one year away from its grand opening but Thursday night, it opened its doors to give the public a peek at what’s happening inside.
The open house included an update about the project, which aims to bring sustainable indoor agriculture to Green Bay.
Urban farming is often viewed primarily as a food production solution, but the benefits of urban farming are much larger than that.
As an example, commercial urban farming projects are correlated with higher property values within a mile radius, and neighborhoods with these same urban farming projects are more likely to be socioeconomically diverse.
The concept is to create an indoor farm system.
Some food will be grown by using hydroponics, which is growing plants in water, without soil.
Officials say many people get the credit for helping to reach this point.
The United States Conference of Mayors has awarded a $50,000 grant to NeighborWorks Green Bay to a stalled project to convert an aging building into an urban, indoor farm.