Our ‘living’ systems are composed of carbon residue, microorganisms,
minerals, and red wriggler worms. The resulting material is remarkably
fertile, giving plants access to the nutrients needed for both plant
growth and for human nutrition. The “closed-loop”
ecological approach to this system allows for the clean up of
contaminants in the soil, for digestion and transformation of food
waste, and for the production of fertilizer that is far more effective
than chemical treatments. The high
microbial count in our system helps fight off soil disease and breaks
down food waste rapidly, keeping plants strong and healthy.
compost is made with recycled food waste, farm waste, brewery waste,
and coffee grounds. Bread, dairy, or meat
products are not included in the compost. The
product of Vermicomposting (intensive composting in boxes with worms)
is also added to the growing system. The
resulting worm castings are a low impact, completely sustainable
product that has the NPK ratio of a strong fertilizer and the perfect
pH for planting vegetables. The compost
and castings are added to fields and raised beds as mulch, a soil
amendment, and in the form of foliar teas. In
the urban growing environments raised beds are built called
“Living Biological Worm Systems;” these beds are
constructed with a layer of raw compost seeded with a healthy worm
population and then capped with castings and/or topsoil.
These raised beds maintain their fertility with
little or no amendment for up to five years.
101: Growing Power Style
It all starts with food waste –
food waste literally by
the truck load. Not only does Growing
all of our farm waste in Milwaukee,
Chicago, but we also pick-up food
Produce, Beans and Barley, Garden Fresh, and Outpost Natural Foods
Cooperative in Milwaukee, just to name a few. We collect over
400,000 lbs. of food waste per week!
Milwaukee is famous for its beer, but
what happens to all of that
brewery waste? At Growing Power it
becomes worm food. We collect over 48,000-64,000 lbs. of brewery
waste from Lakefront Brewery
Did you know worms like coffee
too? Since 2000, Alterra
Coffee has delivered the used coffee
grounds from their
Prospect Avenue café to our
vermicomposting bins at
Growing Power Food Center and Training
We also collect the coffee grounds from
Northwestern Mutual's cafeteria. It is a great nitrogen
We collect over 1,400 lbs. of coffee grounds a week.
Extra! Read all about it.
Or for those of you not reading the
newspaper, we compost over 500 pounds of newspapers per week
from the Milwaukee Journal
Need some other options for your
Growing Power also collects:
For those of you counting, Growing
Power composts more than 43 million pounds of waste per year!
That's a lot of waste not going into landfills every year.