April 8, 2011 | Author: laurell | 4 Comments
Growing Power is undertaking the most ambitious challenge in its 18-year history. In a partnership with the City of Milwaukee, we have been tasked to create up to 150 full-time jobs for low-income city residents. The plan is both a test and opportunity. It will allow us a rare chance to demonstrate how our organizational model can help bring sustainable jobs and healthy food to the communities that need it most.
On March 3rd, the City of Milwaukee’s Common Council approved a contribution of $425,000 toward our Plan. Growing Power promised to match this contribution of public funds dollar-for-dollar. Growing Power’s jobs program was the first such plan to receive support from the city’s African-American Male Unemployment Task Force, which seeks to ameliorate the extraordinarily high jobless rate of black men in the city—a figure that stood at 53% in 2009.
Our plan calls forus to hire twenty people within the first two months, and begin a process to recruit and hire 130 more. We will immediately train the new hires to build 150 hoop houses—inexpensive greenhouses—and in time teach them how to grow food intensively with techniques we pioneered at Growing Power. Proceeds from the food grown in those hoop houses will eventually help fund the salaries. In our hiring, we will partner with community agencies to effectively recruit currently unemployed people—and we will work with people who come from a variety of backgrounds, including those often discriminated against for having served time in correctional facilities at some point in their lives. We are optimistic about our new recruits and will maintain high standards and expectations for every employee.
We need everyone’s support to make this program a reality. We have a powerful opportunity to provide dignified work, and to grow what I like to call “the good food revolution.” Employment lowers crime and allows people to stabilize their own lives. Our new hires will feel part of a larger effort to improve the public health of our city. Milwaukee suffers from large disparities in access to healthy food, and has some of the highest rates of obesity, cancer and heart disease in the country. This new jobs program will provide fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods that often lack a single healthy option—and will serve as an example to other cities of how a local food system can be remodeled to create jobs and heal communities.
Please join Mayor Barrett and me for a press conference at Growing Power for the signing of this historic event.
Monday, April 11st, 2011
2:15p – 3:15p
Location: Growing Power
5500 W. Silver Spring Dr.
Milwaukee WI 53218
Thank you for your support.