Archive for the ‘’ category

Where Do You Get Your Veggies?

April 22, 2010

For some families in Milwaukee and Madison, the answer is from  a weekly box they pick up from a local farmer. I looked at the community-supported agriculture movement in a post for CSA subscriptions are booming, but I found  some problems for both farmers and consumers.

The story begins:

The local food movement is providing a noticeable boost this spring to Wisconsin farmers who sell seasonal-vegetable subscriptions to families in the Milwaukee and Madison areas.

“We’re having a real growth spurt,” says John Hendrickson, a senior outreach specialist with UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “Local food has just been exploding.”

In Milwaukee, more than a thousand people turned out at a March open house at the Urban Ecology Center. Fourteen farmers offered subscriptions in a program called community-supported agriculture (CSA).

“We saw a lot of people from the suburbs this year,” says coordinator Jamie Ferschinger. “The idea of fresh, local food, and getting it from someone you know, is starting to spread.”

Madison’s CSA program is far bigger. Consumer demand has so grown that the organizers moved the CSA open house from Olbrich Gardens to the much larger Monona Terrace Convention Center, where a record 42 farmers talked to about 1,700 interested consumers.

Read more here.


At the Organic Farming Conference

March 8, 2010

This was my third year of covering the annual gathering of organic-farming advocates in La Crosse.  It’s always an interesting experience because of the unusual mixture of commerce and ideology.

As I said in the advance story  for “The gathering is a combination pep rally, reunion, trade show, Chautauqua, political rally and big-time party for farmers who share a common mission of fighting industrialized agriculture and its dependence on chemical additives.” Read more here.

In a post-conference story, I detailed how the Wisconsin organic community is split by the new, tougher  pasture rules being enforced for dairies. Read about it here.

What Madison and Milwaukee could learn from Denver

November 23, 2009

One measure of the stagnant political culture in Wisconsin has been the failure to sort out a 21st century transportation strategy, especially in southeastern Wisconsin but also in greater Dane County. Reality is that economic markets and job-sheds transcend Wisconsin’s 19th century political boundaries. Yet our communities are locked in endless turf battles as if those regional facts of life don’t exist.

I was curious to hear what city planner Peter Park had to say about his experiences in Denver. As you’ll see from this story for, Denver is far ahead of any Wisconsin community, and Park is one of those really bright guys you seek out for his insight.

Park: Milwaukee’s former planner embraces rail as key to urban development

By Marc Eisen

Peter Park, the star urban planner behind Milwaukee’s downtown revival, returned to Wisconsin Friday to discuss the lessons he’s learned in his new work as Denver’s planning chief.

“We need to look at transportation and development together. They’re not separate,” he told a gathering of several hundred environmentalists at the Promega Corporation’s Biopharmaceutical Technology Center in Fitchburg.

Park, 46, is working the land-use side of the most ambitious transportation project underway in the United States — the $4.7 billion FasTracks program. It promises 119 miles of light-rail and commuter-rail tracks by 2017, including 70 train stops that are expected to be the focal point of new residential and commercial development in the Denver area.

“Doing all this at once is crazy and scary,” Park admitted. “But if we’re going to grow [the transit system], now’s a great time for it.” Metropolitan Denver’s population of about 2.7 million, he noted, is expected to hit 4.3 million by 2035.

Park’s talk to the “Bringing Bioneers to Wisconsin” conference was a stark reminder that Wisconsin’s marquee cities, Milwaukee and Madison, are laggards in sorting out their 21st century transportation systems.

Read more here.

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