Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

Society, Foundation volunteers dig in at Growing Power

Release Date: March 18, 2011
Contact: Lisa Hildebrand - 608.442.3765 lisa.hildebrand@wismed.org

Madison, Wis. (March 18, 2011) – Staff members from the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation, along with several medical students, had a truly green experience Thursday, March 17 at Growing Power’s urban farm in Milwaukee. About 20 volunteers, including students from the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, picked worms, fed goats, gathered chicken eggs, turned compost and assisted with other tasks at the farm, 5500 W. Silver Spring Drive.

A nonprofit organization and land trust, Growing Power, Inc. works to provide equal access to healthy, high quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power, which has another urban farm in Chicago and is partnering with UW-Madison’s Slow Food chapter and the Resilience Research Center in Madison, welcomes volunteer assistance with open arms.

The Foundation is working to promote health beyond health care – connecting people and communities with opportunities and ways that they may take charge of their own health.

Gardening and access to fresh vegetables and produce is one important way to make happen. “This isn’t just about healthy food; it’s about making daily small but impactful choices in all areas of our lives. It is a statement to ourselves that we are worthy of making a choice that is good for our own body and soul,” said Society Senior Vice President Tim Bartholow, MD.

The urban farm has six greenhouses with more than 12,000 pots of herbs, greens and seedlings, including watercress and kale, as well as six hydroponic systems growing tilapia and perch. Other farm highlights include:


  • An apiary with five beehives


  • Three poultry hoop houses with laying hens and ducks


  • Outdoor pens for livestock (goats, rabbits, turkeys, etc.)


  • A sophisticated composting operation


  • An anaerobic digester that produces energy from the farm’s food waste


The St. Patrick’s Day volunteer event was a prelude to the Foundation’s Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction, where Growing Power’s founder and CEO, Will Allen, will share his unique expertise on urban agriculture and food policy. “Growing Power provides a great example of how, through true team work, despite limited access to resources and space, we can work together to improve health,” said Foundation Executive Director Rebecca Thompson, CPA.

The annual event provides the Foundation with financial assistance to award scholarships, fellowships and grants and meet its mission to advance the health of the people of Wisconsin. For more information, including registration details, about the Foundation Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction on April 7 in Madison, visit the Foundation website.

With nearly 12,500 members dedicated to the best interests of their patients, the Wisconsin Medical Society is the largest association of medical doctors in the state and a trusted source for health policy leadership since 1841.