Posts Tagged ‘georgia’

Some retired basketball stars promote athletic shoes and sports drinks. Others, like former pro player Will Allen, become advocates for urban farming.  As the founder and CEO of Growing Power, Inc., Allen believes that all communities, regardless of social status or tax bracket, deserve access to nutritious and affordable food.  As the son of a sharecropper and ex-corporate sales leader, he has ample experience in both the agricultural and business sectors.  In 2008, he was awarded a “genius grant” by the John D. and Katherine T. McArthur Foundation for his efforts in furthering city farming.  He is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”, and part of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign for childhood fitness.

Beginning with a plot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Growing Power has now expanded to a handful of cities across the country, including urban centers in Mississippi, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Georgia.  By establishing Community Food Centers, the organization hopes to engage citizens in food production.  Growing Power demonstrates growing methods through on-site workshops and satellite training programs.  They also run outreach programs and educational seminars to bring together farmers and members of the community.  Many of their youth programs and talks are operated by a base of dedicated volunteers who reside in the places where they teach.  In addition to instruction, Growing Power distributes fresh meats and produce through cooperatives and food security programs.

Growing Power is a treasure trove of information, and is a resource for everything from vermicomposting to aquaponics.  Their Milwaukee operation is host to national conferences throughout the year and is a hub for those seeking to inform and empower themselves through agriculture. The Wisconsin headquarters is powered by an array of solar cells, and currently pursuing generating power from the anaerobic digestion of microorganisms.  They are even beginning experiments with vertical farming in order to produce the maximum amount of food in areas with limited space.

Get inspired with Growing Power!  Create a backyard garden, or volunteer your time and expertise at a local cooperative.  San Luis Obispo residents may want to explore the Central Coast Grown’s site for information on local CSA’s, talks, and farming classes in our part of the state.  Go on and get your hands in the soil and feed your body, spirit, and community!

Thinking of getting into the bamboo business?  Excited by the idea of growing the wonder-grass for food or construction projects?  Dream of a shady, peaceful zen grove? Whether you are looking to plant for fun or profit, you may want to seek advice from Daphne Lewis.  She is the author of several books including Farming Bamboo and Hardy Bamboos for Shoots & Poles that are great reference guides for the beginning farmer.  The publications cover the essentials, including species and site selection, irrigation and pest control, as well as harvesting and marketing your crop.

Residents of USDA zones 7 and 8 will be delighted to hear that their warm, humid climates are ideal for successful bamboo cultivation. As a rule, if corn will do well in your soil, so will bamboo.  This grass likes more summer than winter rain, and soils that are not easily saturated.

Many Southern states are beginning to experiment with bamboo, and Lewis herself has been involved with collecting data on American production.  In October of 2010, Lewis moved to Perry, Georgia from Seattle, Washington to investigate how many pounds per acre several different species of bamboo would yield.  For those interested in the particulars of variety and pound per acre, visit the ongoing study at her website,

Lewis is involved in all aspects of raising and selling bamboo from germination to fabrication.  Through her site and contributions to the American Bamboo Society’s blog, Lewis aims to educate farmers as to the many commercial advantages to their crop.  Whether it be selling the young shoots to restaurants for special dishes, bagged for charcoal or kindling, used as fodder for livestock, mulch, or building material, farming bamboo can be a profitable endeavor.

At Bambu Batu we are excited to see more bamboo grown on native ground, and look forward to seeing what her research and advocacy will produce in the future!