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Your Board

Hi, I'm Your Board

Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of...
Your Board

Eyes Wide Shut

Board Beet
By Your Board on March 6, 2014

If you attended the Annual Meeting of Outpost Owners on February 16th you would have heard guest speaker Venice Williams, Executive Director of Alice’s Garden speak about creating a community table for all come to and share a meal. Venice shared many stories of growing up and gathering in the kitchen to share a meal of good food. There was something she said that struck me from her stories and that was we have our “Eyes wide shut.” I understood this to mean we are all a part of a larger community in which we need to make sure everyone has access to good and affordable food. This got me thinking, what am I doing? What is Milwaukee doing? What other cities are facing food accessibility issues?

In a recent article in the winter issue of YES! Magazine, which was all about how we eat (pick up a copy, it’s a great read and resource), I came across an article on six ways to feed a community. They were: 
1.    Backyard Bounty
2.    Extra Income
3.    Edible Investment
4.    Ultimate Potluck
5.    Desert Deliveries
6.    Taste of the Past

All six ideas were innovative; here are two of the six. Backyard Bounty refers to a program started in a neighborhood in Denver, Colorado called Re-Farm Denver. It’s a growing cooperative food economy from the backyard out. Re-farm supplies families with everything from seeds to irrigation systems. It has had tremendous success since it started in 2009 with seven families to more than 200 this year. This program is similar to Outpost’s 2022 Vision of Sustainability and the Grow-Op program, which is based on creating a farmer owned cooperative of urban farms.

Desert Deliveries is another way to feed a community. In the neighborhood of West Oakland potato chips and cheap beer are far more accessible than fresh fruit and vegetables. The neighborhood has 48 liquor stores and one full-service grocery store. More than 23 million Americans don’t have access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. They live in food deserts. Our city of Milwaukee is not immune. West Oakland answered the call and is doing something about their food deserts. They started Healthy Neighborhood Store Alliance (HNSA), an effort of the Mandela Marketplace to bring pesticide-free produce to corner stores. The produce comes from minority-owned farms within 200 miles of Oakland. 

One other initiative that I came across in another issue of YES! Magazine about sharing our harvest is a program in upstate New York called “Grow a Row, Give a Row” Gardeners who “grow a row, give a row,” plant more than they expect they’ll need and combine their efforts with neighbors to collect the overabundance and make donations throughout the season. Volunteers from Hamilton College harvest enough to donate half their crop every year. In 2012, those harvests yielded 900 lbs. 

What can we do as a community to share our bounty of good, healthy and accessible food so that everyone can gather at the table? Venice Williams put forth that charge to us at the Annual Owners Meeting. She asked us to not have our eyes wide shut, but to think and put into action ways to bring everyone to the table and share a meal.  What will you do? How can you make a difference big or small to create a community table of healthy, sustainable and affordable food? 

– Suzanne Garr
Board Director


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