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Year-round crops

May 12, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

Could the Upper Peninsula grow crops year-round? Could the region create an aqua farming industry to supply local markets with fish such as perch, or even warm-water tilapia? And could the two be combined so that crops that purify the waters of the fish ponds be harvested for consumption?

Looking at the experience of Growing Power, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee started by former professional basketball player Will Allen, the answer is an unqualified yes.

Allen, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant for his pioneering work in sustainable urban agriculture, has come up with numerous innovative ways to produce nutritious food year-round in cold climates.

Using greenhouses to capture heat, the organization grows crops on beds of compost that give off heat as they decompose into soil, thus allowing the never-ending growing season.

Watercress, grown in abundance in the organization's fish tanks, filter out harmful toxins in fish waste. The end product this symbiotic relationship is the harvest of both fish and plant for local markets.

Fact Box

The Daily Mining Gazette welcomes letters to the editor from readers.

Letters should be signed and include name, address and telephone number. Names will not be withheld and letters should be no longer than 400 words. No personal attacks. Writers are limited to one letter per month. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length, as well as for spelling and punctuation.

Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor, The Daily Mining Gazette, P.O. Box 368, Houghton, MI 49931. Letters may also be e-mailed to or submitted on the Gazette's Web site,, by clicking on "Submit News."

If it can be done in Milwaukee, why not the U.P.? For more information, visit

David Goska




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