September 19, 2011

"Milwaukee recognized for urban farms, aquaponics."

"International team recognizes Milwaukee's 'high potential' to improve access to healthy food, revitalize neighbor hoods and create jobs."
Many cities, including Milwaukee, have "food deserts," or large areas without traditional grocery stores because poverty is high, and supermarkets choose not to operate there. As a result, residents have less access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Neighborhood corner stores and convenience stores typically don't offer quality fresh produce....
Hence, "high potential" for urban farms and aquaponics. I sense high potential for boondoggle-ponics. There aren't enough grocery stores, so you want people in the city to farm? You want the poor to become farm workers... subsistence farmer workers? Is that really a good use of city space and human labor? Who benefits?

By the way, inserting a space in the word "neighborhoods" — see above — creates the wrong impression.

108 comments:

Triangle Man said...

I said it before when this was proposed for Detroit, but they should be careful that all the light and space of Milwaukee doesn't put the zap on their heads.

Patrick said...

Typically left idealized version of farming, plus throwing in all of the BS about organic farming. Seems all nice when the rich lefties go out and get their "community share acre" food, and even spend a weekend or two hoeing out weeds.

Try to live on that, or actually run a farm that needs to survive on more than what amounts to donations? Yeah, good luck with that. People in the "neighbor hood" have to earn money and don't have time for all of that.

MarkG said...

We already know that the urban "poor" are too "busy" to do gardening from the school-garden thread a few days back.

AJ Lynch said...

"boondoggleponics" LOL!

Fred4Pres said...

Cities like Detroit certainly have lots of available land for these urban farms. Maybe they should open up the new frontier to homesteaders.

Lance said...

What's "aquaponics"? From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

"Aquaponics...is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In the aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the animals. The term aquaponics is a portmanteau of the terms aquaculture and hydroponic."

Sounds like a fairly stinky operation. Will anyone want to live next to it?

Also note the need for power to pump the water from tank to tank. Are these people going to have the means to install and maintain the pumps and circuits, or is the city planning to subsidize all that?

AJ Lynch said...

There are entire sociology majors devoted to this theory. They simply won't accept the fact that potato chips taste way better than any salad.

Irene said...

Yesterday at our urban dog-training class, an owner inquired about the best way to keep his dog from eating feces. He explained that he had "free-range ducks and chickens," and that the yard was filled with tasty nuggets.

New dimension of bourgeois bohemian.

traditionalguy said...

Food riots are roaming bands (bandits) that steal ripe crops from the fields after the farmers planted and worked on them for over 3 months.

That was originally the need for a "government" which in return for there food surplus would guard the farmers against the bandits. This encouraged farmers to do the work.

So it sounds like a good lesson in private property and the legal system.

The medieval Manorial system were small communities with their own laws and courts.

MayBee said...

The word "fresh" when associated with food sets off the same alarm bells as the word "social" when associated with justice.

timmaguire42 said...

It's a way to put a nice spin on urban decay--make it look like all that empty land is empty on purpose.

But if farming (more like what most of us would call gardening) is intended to help poor people grow the healthy food they can't buy, then the "farmers" probably won't attend to details like getting the soil tested. Which is something they really probably ought to do.

edutcher said...

I love this, "large areas without traditional grocery stores because poverty is high, and supermarkets choose not to operate there."

If they mean crime is so high (in Madison?) that nobody can run a business there, they should say so.

In any case, the farming dodge may yield some positive results. Since it's labor-intensive, it may force some of the local hoodla to take time away from their criminal pursuits.

trumpetdaddy said...

Grocery store chains "choose" not to locate stores in urban areas. So much is contained in the word "choose" in this context.

Why do grocery store chains "choose" not to open stores in urban areas? Rather than addressing the answers to that question these advocates move right on to urban farming as the "solution."

Dealing with the hard reality of crime, poverty, and market economies is so much less fun than proposing novel "solutions" that enable one to feel creative and innovative. And of course come with that sweet, sweet government grant money.

Triangle Man said...

Of course, they already have the Milorganite fertilizer, so maybe not so crazy after all.

Scott M said...

Normally I would agree with the boodoggle moniker, but I've seen some really interesting proposals for urban farming, most specifically for Detroit, that I believe require at least trying out. With government money? Only through tax breaks.

Still...a worth concept worth a try as long as a "concerned" citizen's group can front the dough.

YoungHegelian said...

This meme that the poor can't find fresh vegetables is such nonsense.
What, the bodegas have disappeared too?

The real problem is that no one knows how to cook anymore. Especially young women, who in the not too distant past one could assume had some kitchen skills.

Hell, the lack of cooking skills goes all the way up the socio-economic ladder. I've worked with lots of women who couldn't even bake cookies for the office Christmas cookie swap!

BarryD said...

Uh, doesn't that just mean that Milwaukee residents are turning the city into one big marijuana farm?

Triangle Man said...

This meme that the poor can't find fresh vegetables is such nonsense. What, the bodegas have disappeared too?

Yes, they are gone many places. Compare the margins on selling lottery tickets and cigarettes to perishable food items.

karrde said...

Well, there was a news story a few years back in Detroit about a local guy.

He was an old man, originally from somewhere in the Deep South.

He would trap (and sell the meat from) racoons to others in the down-and-out neighborhoods.

Would the people who support urban farms also support this practice?

edutcher said...

YoungHegelian said...

This meme that the poor can't find fresh vegetables is such nonsense.
What, the bodegas have disappeared too?

The real problem is that no one knows how to cook anymore. Especially young women, who in the not too distant past one could assume had some kitchen skills.


Oh, you, you... sexist!

Don't you know the modern, liberated woman has so many more important things to do with her time than all those activities that defined her slavery to the patriarchy?

Protesting the repeal of collective bargaining rights, abortions, having her vajayjay sequined are all more important than learning to cook.

Besides - all the best cooks are men.

AllenS said...

Why not have them grow cotton?

Triangle Man said...

Why not have them grow cotton?

Wisconsin is great for many crops, but cotton isn't one of them. Tobacco neither.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Warning, rant ahead:

No one needs *fresh* produce! This concept never fails to drive me crazy. If your family is hard up for food money, your best and healthiest choices are frozen vegatables. They are more nutritious, cheaper, and can be bought and kept in bulk if you can only get to the grocery store periodically. Fresh veggies are nice, but they are a frivolous luxury.

People pushing *fresh* are idiots who only make worse the lives of the people they purport to help.

- Lyssa

AllenS said...

Grow field corn, and then you could make liquor.

EDH said...

Speaking of OCD, whenever I hear one of these putative nutrition experts repeatedly utter the words "fresh fruits and veggies," particulatly "veggies," I want to kick that person in the groin, hard.

YoungHegelian said...

@edutcher,

As you might guess, the disappearance of the traditionally feminine home skills is a big bugaboo for me.

The guy skills have still been maintained somehow. Boys don't work on cars so much, but they work on computers. But the chick skills -- gone!

Example: go into the power tool section at Home Depot. Guys of every shape and color, including white native born Americans. Go to a fabric store like G Street Fabric in Rockville, MD. All the shoppers are immigrant women.

AllenS said...

Triangle, there used to be quite a bit of tobacco grown in WI. Around the SW part of the state. If you've ever on highway 35 around Genoa there is a big tobacco building betwen the railroad tracks and the Mississippi. Also, there is another tobacco barn in Viroqua IIRC. Isn't one of the commenters from Viroqua?

EDH said...

MayBee said...
The word "fresh" when associated with food sets off the same alarm bells as the word "social" when associated with justice.

Yea, beside the friendly informality of "veggies," the puritanical qualifier "fresh" pisses me off too.

AllenS said...

Check this out:
WI tobacco

Scott M said...

Boys don't work on cars so much, but they work on computers.

It's tough to work on modern cars like we used to because they ARE computers.

Calypso Facto said...

Don't they know the product of their urban gardens will just be stolen, and the thefts then rationalized at Althouse?

edutcher said...

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Warning, rant ahead:

No one needs *fresh* produce! This concept never fails to drive me crazy. If your family is hard up for food money, your best and healthiest choices are frozen vegatables. They are more nutritious, cheaper, and can be bought and kept in bulk if you can only get to the grocery store periodically. Fresh veggies are nice, but they are a frivolous luxury.

People pushing *fresh* are idiots who only make worse the lives of the people they purport to help.

- Lyssa


You broke the code.

PS Thanks for the warning. They should be required by Federal law.

MayBee said...

lyssa-

I absolutely agree with your rant. Not only are frozen fruits, vegetables, and even meats (like fish!) cheaper, more accessible, and longer lasting for the consumer, they are better in the exact same way for the store.

That's how we know "fresh" means something other than "healthy", and more like "boondoggle".

EDH- veggies. It's like they are trying to make the hated vegetable seem like an old friend.

Clyde said...

Just don't call them "plantations." Some urban folks might take that the wrong way.

roesch-voltaire said...

Of course Will Allen has already done this successfully and will serve as a model-- this from a news clipping:His efforts have paid off in significant ways. Today his nonprofit, Growing Power, operates a handful of urban farms and community growing centers around Milwaukee and downtown.

Kit said...

Who benefits? Will Allen is creating jobs and markets in the poorest parts of Milwaukee that many have given up on. He's literally creating something out of nothing - soil and fertilizers out of garbage - for gardens (food) and for landscaping (beautification). This is a good thing. A really good thing.

ic said...

It's a great idea, the only way for the unemployed, permanently unemployable if Obama's "malaise" lasts a few more years, to put food on their tables.

Chip S. said...

This is gonna be some expensive food:

IBM recommends that the city develop policies to encourage aquaponics growth, including low-cost leases of city-owned property and tax incremental financing to help start-ups. Federal grants also may be available, the report says.

What a sad end for IBM, as a peddler of bullshit consulting services.

Ann Althouse said...

"Who benefits? Will Allen is creating jobs and markets in the poorest parts of Milwaukee that many have given up on. He's literally creating something out of nothing - soil and fertilizers out of garbage - for gardens (food) and for landscaping (beautification). This is a good thing. A really good thing."

It sounds pretty to affluent, educated, well-meaning good people, but I want to know more about what's really going on. Where does the money come from? It's not really free-market economics, is it? What kind of jobs are these? Farm workers?

Pogo said...

Will Allen's 'success' relies entirely on subsidies from the gubmint and other businesses.

He says so himself, though he hardly realizes it.

Last year I sat through a very loooooong talk by Allen about his company. It's bullshit on stilts. All except the worms and the fish, which he found out people will pay him for.

The rest of his business is plain old crony capitalism, with the multi-culti New Age lefty sheen of the nature gods thrown in.
Hell, he said his new farms each require the equipment and labor be donated by Home Depot and other corporations. Shakedown, all of it.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I farm for a living, growing vegetables: certified organic at that. Around here, and there's no reason to believe it's different anywhere else, the entire "urban farming" thing is nothing more than a method for leftie gardeners to access a stream of one government grant after another.

This absolute waste of tax dollars really began with the 2007 Farm Bill, written soon after Democrats took over both houses of Congress.

My operation is far from huge, and it's a safe bet I produce more veggies in a week than any two of these "urban farms" combined can grow in an entire season.

As with nearly everything done by the left it's all about ensuring that the facilitators, managers, and so on can continue to live in the style to which they've become accustomed.

When people receive grants to offer grant-proposal-writing courses to this or that 'under-served' group you know it's just a leftie gravy train.

Urban farming is what they had in Rome in the early 6th Century.

Scott M said...

Urban farming is what they had in Rome in the early 6th Century.

Or post-Change Oregon.

Lyle said...

It's FREAK economics. Progressives just lack economic literacy. Thank God they're failing politically for the moment.

Chip S. said...

It's not really free-market economics, is it?

No, it's what Pogo said--hucksterism. The tell is this:

"Demand for locally produced food far outpaces the production right now," Allen said.

If that were true, there'd be no need for all those grants and tax breaks.

Sigivald said...

What the hell is wrong with these people?

(And "supermarkets choose not to operate there", they say?

Well, that's one way of putting "theft makes it too hard to make a profit".

Supermarkets do, indeed, choose to not stay open when they're losing money.)

Also, as usual, we're left with the unasked question of is there sufficient demand for fresh fruits and vegetables?

Dalrymple's analysis of the cooking and eating habits of the urban poor in Britain suggest that the issue is more lack of demand (especially in quantities sufficient to prevent spoilage) than that The Bad Grocery Stores Hate Selling Healthy Food To Poor Folks.

roesch-voltaire said...

Pogo all sorts of successful folks are depended on govt contracts or subsidies from corn farmers/Midland Daniels to Boeing-- so what is your point? Why your smug sneer in this case and not others?

DADvocate said...

AllenS - 200 acres of tobacco being grown in Wisconsin? My fater-in-law probably grew that much by himself before the subsidies were stopped.

Lyssa's right about frozen food.

That horrid bastion of conservativism, business and wealth, Walmart, just gave Growing Power $1 million. I wonder if Growing Power could ever make enough money to be self-supporting. Growing stuff in greenhouses isn't cheap.

gutless said...

What a great idea! I can hear the urban poor singing in the fields already. I always liked that "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" number. How about collocating a government cheese factory? If we put our minds to it this could be a breakthrough.

Pogo said...

"..all sorts of successful folks are depended on govt contracts or subsidies from corn farmers/Midland Daniels to Boeing-- so what is your point? Why your smug sneer in this case and not others?"

Because this is the post's topic.

I sneer (unsmugly) at them, too.

All those subsidies should cease; it's all crony capitalism/national socialism.

JimMuy said...

Snark: Oh, so now the left wants to put the blacks (and poor) on a farm working in the hot sun all day for little more than just enough food to eat?

How progressive.

Pogo said...

" I wonder if Growing Power could ever make enough money to be self-supporting."

No, they cannot. Or else they would do so already.

It's the usual utopian economics of unicorn farts subsidized by fiat and grants, subsidies and donations.

And WalMart just got shaken down, but in a feel-good, diversity way.

Strelnikov said...

Why not? It worked for Zimbabwe.

Pogo said...

Although their fish farm does well enough that some young men in Milwaukee copied just that portion of their operations for an independent business.

DADvocate said...

Although their fish farm does well enough that some young men in Milwaukee copied just that portion of their operations for an independent business.

Mike Row worked on a talapia farm in one episode of Dirty Jobs. You can raise a lot of fish in a small area. This farm was in the desert which is an advantage over Wisconsin as talapia need warm water.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Most of the women (90%) that I know in NYC can't cook to save their lives. I mean educated, middle class women in their 20s-50s. Some of them were raised by mothers who couldn't cook. What the rest of them are thinking I don't know.

Most of the guys I know here CAN cook, however. We knew that being bachelors meant doing your own laundry and cooking your own chicken mole.

The upside is that cooking a simple dinner really impresses the ladies.

JimMuy said...

If they really wanted fresh vegetables, they'd already be growing them.

There's a website that'll show you how to grow 100 pounds of potatoes in 4 square feet with less than $30 in materials.
There's hundreds of websites devoted to container and patio gardening. It can be done already if they wanted to do it.

traditionalguy said...

The point I see as high lighted here is the spotlight on food for the starving poor.

Michelle let that slip out from day one. The Obama teachings are how to eat for one more day in an energy starved and CO2 free world.

Stalin's best work were his intentionally caused famines.

Of course that means if you vote right, then you eat.

Egyptians are starving as we speak.
Therefore Egypt is open to an offer of food they cannot refuse.

Pogo said...

The Egyptians are starving?

Let them eat ka'ak!

rhhardin said...

It's a lot more efficient to trade your skills for food than to become a food producer.

Ann Althouse said...

"There's a website that'll show you how to grow 100 pounds of potatoes in 4 square feet with less than $30 in materials."

But with $30 you can buy about 150 pounds of potatoes! With no labor.

Just this morning Obama was all: "It's math!"

Can we please do the math? Economics involves the efficient use of labor, materials, and land.

Scott M said...

But with $30 you can buy about 150 pounds of potatoes! With no labor.

Once, right? If you set it up to grow, how many iterations of 100 lbs of potatoes can you get?

MayBee said...

Once, right? If you set it up to grow, how many iterations of 100 lbs of potatoes can you get?

Buy the 150 lbs, eat 100 lbs, and bury the rest of the potatoes in dirt. In no time, you will be growing more potatoes.

Scott M said...

That's my point. Once you get it set up, how hard is it to just keep raising potatoes?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The real problem is that no one knows how to cook anymore. Especially young women, who in the not too distant past one could assume had some kitchen skills.

ABSOLUTELY!!

This is also one of my pet peeves/concerns. If you know how to cook and have other basic home economic skills your life will be much better off.

People used to learn those things from their families, mothers, aunts, sisters etc. Since we have several generations of people who either never learned or refused to learn they need to turn to other sources like schools.

Schools used to routinely teach 'home economics'. They quit for some reason. I guess it was too sexists or something.

I offered to teach basic cooking skills at our local food pantry. The people who staffed it said that it wouldn't work because the people who got the free food refused to take the fresh "veggies" or bulk items like flour, sugar etc. Instead they whined if they didn't get pre packaged food and potato chips. (Except for the Mexican families who wanted the beans, rice and fresh vegetables. They know how to cook and how to stretch the dollar.)

Waste of time, because they refuse help.

junyo said...

"No one needs *fresh* produce! This concept never fails to drive me crazy. If your family is hard up for food money, your best and healthiest choices are frozen vegatables."

No one needs much of anything. But if it's better, and teaches self sufficiency, why poopoo it?

Besides that, you're wrong. Gardening isn't exactly labor/time frugal, but done correctly it's cheap as all get out, esp. after the initial learning curve. This season my wife has turned $20 worth of seeds into a couple hundred dollars worth of fresh produce with a few weekends of sweat equity - and that's compared to supermarket crap and not hippy grown local produce. And if you want to preserve your produce, canning is pretty easy, again after the initial learning curve. And it eliminates the need for tons of freezer space and/or trips to the market, which means you can spend the money you saved filling your existing freezer space with protein.

There are boodoogles; this isn't one of them.

MayBee said...

ScottM- perhaps that's why the White House so frowns upon potatoes.

AllenS said...

DADvocate, I was surprised to see that 200 acres were in tobacco. I was under the impression that nobody grew tobacco in WI anymore. Now it sounds like there will be a lot more grown. SW WI has a lot of farms that have tobacco barns, and those tobacco warehouses that I talked about earlier are pretty big.

Scott M said...

ScottM- perhaps that's why the White House so frowns upon potatoes.

Are you suggesting that the Obama's hate us Irish?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But with $30 you can buy about 150 pounds of potatoes! With no labor.

However, eating just 150 pounds of potatoes with no other vegetables is going to ensure several things.

You are going to go crazy being fed nothing but potatoes and you are going to have some vitamin deficiencies to deal with.

I have several 4x8 foot raised beds on my property. I could have planted a 3/4 acre garden on the side of our orchard by plowing the earth making furrows etc....but the raised beds are more efficient, easier to water and weed, less labor intensive and grow more than enough varieties of vegetables.

If the urban poor wanted to get up off of their lazy asses and plant ONE of those beds per family, they would have plenty of 'fresh veggies' (lol). But....they won't do it.

Shanna said...

This meme that the poor can't find fresh vegetables is such nonsense. What, the bodegas have disappeared too?

I also wonder why people always act like if there is not a grocery store next door you are just out of luck. People who live in the rural areas generally have a car or vehicle of some sort, and people who live in urban areas have public transportation. I’m not convinced this is a real problem.

And I might add that there is nothing wrong with frozen veggies and fruits, which can keep in the freezer, even though you do have to know how to cook them. (or what lyssa said)

Calypso Facto said...

Only if those urban tobacco warehouses haven't already been turned into trendy apartments for UW Madison professors and grad students, AllenS.

Peter said...

“Go into the power tool section at Home Depot. Guys of every shape and color, including white native born Americans. Go to a fabric store like G Street Fabric in Rockville, MD. All the shoppers are immigrant women.”

You can do economically useful work with a power tool (at least, you can if you own your residence). But, you can buy a garment made in Bangladesh for less than the cost of the pattern and materials you’d need to make it yourself.

YoungHegelian said...

@Peter

Stuff made in Bangladesh is cheaper if you don't mind crappy clothes that disintegrate in a year or two, especially women's clothes, which are generally much crappier than men's clothing.

Also, curtains, upholstery, etc. come out out of fabric stores. They all involve lots of local custom labor to work with, and if you can do them in house you save a bundle.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Go to a fabric store like G Street Fabric in Rockville, MD. All the shoppers are immigrant women.”

Interesting. The fabric store that I just went to this weekend (Joannes) was full of LoLs (little ole ladies) who were buying up fabric for crafty projects, yarn, quilting and getting geared up for Christmas.

Quite a few younger women who are getting back into the 'earth groovy' feel of making their clothing from scratch. I get a distinct 1970's vibe from the crafting community now. Good thing I saved all my patterns and craft magazines from those days :-D I'm back in style!! woo hoo!

Maybe some immigrant women, but not that you would notice.

BTW: if the economy keeps on tanking I would look into the stock of just such companies that would benefit from our new austerity. Fabric/crafting stores and hardware stores.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

DBQ said: This is also one of my pet peeves/concerns. If you know how to cook and have other basic home economic skills your life will be much better off. . .

I've long advocated that high schools should have some sort of "adult living" class where you learn basic finance (responsible credit!), basic home/auto maintenance, sex ed, child care, insurance, a few bits about law (your rights if you get arrested, etc.), and nutrition with cooking skills.

If you don't know these things, pretty much everything else is a waste of time. Of course, schools are awfully good at wasted time.

- Lyssa

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Junyo, I think that you misunderstood my point (which, admittedly, was somewhat off-topic)- I'm a big fan of gardening and garden myself (or I did; I'm mid-move right now and sadly apartment-bound while waiting for my darn house to sell). But it, and the produce that it gives me, is a luxury. Not a particularly expensive one, but not a necessary one by any means.

My point is that there is no reason to feel sad for the poor because they don't have easy access to *fresh* produce.

Doug said...

Another boondoggle arising from the sudden interest in "food deserts" is Mrs. Obama's pushing retailers and produce suppliers to "incentivize" urban shoppers to buy fresh produce instead of Cheetos. The Produce Marketing Association has joyfully joined forces with FLOTUS to channel taxpayer dollars into food deserts to subsidize the cost to consumers and to underwrite the loss of retailers - we are talking millions and billions of dollars here.
All because "retailers have chosen not to service these areas" ... or is it that urban shoppers have chosen not to support retailers that bring highly perishable food products to market?
I submit that this administration will flush billions down the rathole in this well-intentioned but misguided program, and thereby set up a lifetime subsidy much like the farms subsidies that will never go away.

Kirk Parker said...

r-v,

"...govt contracts or subsidies ..."

The fact that you can conflate these two very different things really troubles me. Just what do you teach?


"That's my point. Once you get it set up, how hard is it to just keep raising potatoes? "

So hard that this year, we've got some potatoes that reseeded themselves for the 2nd year in a row.

BJM said...

"Many cities, including Milwaukee, have "food deserts," or large areas without traditional grocery stores because poverty is high, and supermarkets choose not to operate there".

Gee I wonder why that is? Maybe it has something to do with customers and employees being mugged, stores shoplifted blind, cashiers held up at gun point and parking lots turned into drug dispensaries and gang outposts.

We watched chain after chain try to maintain a grocery business in West Oakland, E.14th , and Richmond, but in the end it's just too dangerous.

BJM said...

Allen also doesn't seem to realize that the poor have a long tradition of creating tasty food from the cheapest cuts of meat and veggies...the stuff his ilk passes up. Has he never had collard greens and trotters? short ribs stewed with kimchee & turnips? Or Menudo?

Not only is he a dunderheaded boffin, but he's probably a food snob as well.

Chip S. said...

"dunderheaded boffin"?

You sure about that?

Sounded cool, though. Very W.C. Fieldsian.

BJM said...

@Chip S.

Yes. The term is used to note a nerdy type who can't cross the street without endangering himself and others, or one who pursues elaborate, unrealistic theories. Boffins are highly intelligent, well educated and expert in their field.

Boffins usually, but not always, have limited social skills as they tend to congregate with other boffins, as in the left's elitist echo chamber, and are clueless about how others, the poor in this case, think or live.

Boffin is also a left-handed compliment or term of endearment as we use "geek" to describe a nerdy friend.

Dunderheaded boffin is probably oxymoronic, but describes Allen and the social engineering he finds so attractive, because he's not a poor minority living in the hood, rather well, don't you think?

Chip S. said...

@BJM, I think calling this guy a "boffin" is too charitable. He seems more like a grifter to me. YMMV.

James said...

Have you ever seen Will Allen? He's a former pro basketball player and he looks in good enough shape to play even now. I'm 6'6" 250 Lbs and he's bigger than me. He might be several things but "nerdy type" he's not.

Milwaukee said...

BJM said...

Allen also doesn't seem to realize that the poor have a long tradition of creating tasty food from the cheapest cuts of meat and veggies...the stuff his ilk passes up. Has he never had collard greens and trotters? short ribs stewed with kimchee & turnips? Or Menudo?


What the heck are you talking about? Please tell us what alternate universe this happens in, because that universe doesn't include Black Milwaukee. The thread winner here was the comment that "potato chips taste better than salad." The urban poor in Milwaukee don't make all those tasty things because they don't cook. That is an art lost when high schools all became college prep factories. These liberated women are interested in living off our dole, or being professional women, not in home making. The women's liberation movement taught women that being a stay at home mom was demeaning.

In Milwaukee I had to seek out the Hispanic grocery stores to find cheap dried beans. I inquired in my new city: "Where do the poor people buy groceries? Dried beans are expensive here." The reply was "Oh, they have food stamps."

gutless said...

So we have sex education for high school girls but no Cooking 101? This may result in great mate bait but what happens when it's time for macaroni and cheese? Eventually you have to get out of bed. I speak partly in jealousy. Girls when I was in high school were amateurs in both amour and cooking although I think a bit stronger in cooking. Nonetheless, sexual enthusiasm made up for a lot. My first love was imaginative, daring and frisky apparently an untrained natural, sigh. Those were the days.

Milwaukee said...

West Side Story provides us with some insight into those unemployed young men. They sure as heck are not going to work at menial wages farming.

from Officer Krupke:
"Dear kindly social worker,
They say go earn a buck.
Like be a soda jerker,
Which means like be a schumck.
It's not I'm anti-social,
I'm only anti-work.
Gloryosky! That's why I'm a jerk!"

So Officer Krupke: Krup You!

Milwaukee said...

There is no incentive for the poor to learn to save money and cook their own food. One of the reasons the Black community has more health problems than the White community is diet: Blacks spend a higher proportion of their food budget on fast food than Whites do.

Given a choice between a grocery store with a racial mixed customer and employees base and a store which was mainly White, I felt I got better service at the mostly White store. Same chain of grocery store.

Milwaukee said...

Home sewing machines sold in this country are entirely manufactured out of this county. My sewing machine is a Singer, and was made round about 1914. It won't zig-zag or do a button, but it works really well. The expense of just fabric is enough for me to resist making my own shirts.

I do bake my own bread and make my own yogurt. Simple, cheap and easy.

HT said...

Will Allen has done a simply amazing job in Milwaukee. I'm not a fan of water farming or whatever it's called, but Will Allen is a fantastic urban farmer who's correctly assessed that the secret to great produce is in the soil. He is to be admired. Go Will.

HT said...

Poor people don't cook? What? Ever been to a family picnic or seen one? A fish fry? What are those people doing? Drawing pictures of food?

The level of gross generalization is gross.

HT said...

Allen also doesn't seem to realize that the poor have a long tradition of creating tasty food from the cheapest cuts of meat and veggies...the stuff his ilk passes up. Has he never had collard greens and trotters? short ribs stewed with kimchee & turnips? Or Menudo?

He's from Maryland, and his parents were sharecroppers in South Carolina.

What do you really think?

Milwaukee said...

I just came across this on Drudge.
" MY EBT " by @MREBT


Sort of explains one perspective about food and culture.

HT said...

That was cute and catchy. Thanks for the link. What all round wrongness, right?: I know when I was his age, I searched out only the best in argula and greens, and top quality meats. With my unlimited income and all.

No - fast food didn't appeal in the slightest to this 18-22 y.o.

Milwaukee said...

Fast food restaurants boomed in the 1970's when more and more moms entered the work force. McDonald's and Burger King competed in advertising for the children's market. They knew exhausted parents would yield to where the children wanted to go. In those days many thought it was a nutty idea. Kentucky Fried Chicken pitched complete meals: buckets of chicken with potatoes, gravy and a salad. Home made is probably going to be cheaper and healthier than restaurant prepared meals.

HT are we talking about too different things? I'm sure than there are poor families where there once was a mom, now a grandma or great-grandma, who knew how to stretch a dollar and turn simple ingredients into tasty food. I'm just not seeing that tradition being carried on in our urban centers. I'm waiting to eat a pizza I just put into the oven. I made the crust from scratch, used a jar of pizza sauce and fresh vegetables: onions, green peppers and broccoli. The green olives are out of a jar. My homemade pizza will probably cost about what a commercially available pizza would. But I think it will be tastier and healthier. Too much cheese on that store bought pizza, processed meats and probably more grease in the dough. But my pizza took a little more time and effort, while that store bought one would be quick and easy.

SenatorMark4 said...

I wrote a little pamphlet called "My Jeffersonian Home" that starts off with Jefferson, passes through aguaponics, and ends up on the asteroids. 99 cents for your Kindle. The main point is that WE CAN build sustainable lives for ourselves even in the city. Mock the art!

HT said...

Hey Milwaukee, you're preaching to the choir when it comes to home cooked meals, and your pizza sounds san frantastic. Depends who you're talking about when you say inner city. If it's someone w/ a good paying job, who has the luxury of time, then yeah, chances are he does cook at home and takes pleasure in it and savors it. If you're talking about someone with two jobs, chances are they're eating fast food and not so healthy.

Probably in the past, before the advent of fast food, when there was a woman at home, there was more home cooking going on. I have occasion to work with 7 black women. Now, it's not in DC (it's in the South) and of them, I'd say 2, but more like one, espouses the values you're talking about. She bargain shops like crazy and gets GOOD tasting food that's also healthy. She has to do this b/c she has diabetes. There is at least one other woman in the group who is severely overweight, and she needs to do a much better job at watching what she eats (actually the first woman, w/ diabetes, is not overweight), but she works two jobs. She really doesn't have time. She might be married, I don't know. But, at the same time, she's imparted some excellent values to her 14 year old son, who is amazingly self-sufficient. The first woman (with diabetes) has a retired stay at home husband - he takes EXCELLENT care of her, and they have one of the best relationships I've ever seen in my life.

And on the other hand, if you're talking about people who are on EBT or WIC or whatever, then I would imagine their resources are limited vis a vis homemade pizza ingredients.

HT said...

Lest I come across as excuse-making, let me add that heck yes, people (all people; certainly not just inner city people) need to eat better, and make more of an effort. The key is attention. Who is paying attention? Who is absorbing things? That is the key.

Sixty Grit said...

Wasn't the soil in the White House garden contaminated with lead, rendering the vegetables inedible?

I can't imagine urban soil is a good place to grow anything you are going to ingest. Metals, heavy and light, soil bacteria and other contamination might require replacing the topsoil, at a minimum.

Security is also an issue.

How are the grow houses managed?

Synova said...

"Many cities, including Milwaukee, have "food deserts," or large areas without traditional grocery stores because poverty is high, and supermarkets choose not to operate there."

Darn good thing so many people are vigilant on behalf of the poor and make sure that the evil Wal-mart isn't able to open a Superstore.

Because then it would be *really* bad.

Hey! I got *a* tomato off of my tomato plant today--the first one this year. Over the course of the summer my blackberry bush (newly planted) bore six very tasty berries.

Growing food helps to feed my family and everyone should do it. If every urban family had a window-box they'd have TONS of fresh vegetables. WAY more than Walmart delivers so cheaply at a Superstore. But they are evil, you know.

Sixty Grit said...

Wasn't the soil in the White House garden contaminated with lead, rendering the vegetables inedible?

I can't imagine urban soil is a good place to grow anything you are going to ingest. Metals, heavy and light, soil bacteria and other contamination might require replacing the topsoil, at a minimum.

Security is also an issue.

How are the grow houses managed?

T J Sawyer said...

I scan my EBT
to buy my broccoli.

To pay me and my bitch
Obama tax the rich.

Come on Folks,
help me rhyme

To EBT
it's not a crime.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

if you're talking about people who are on EBT or WIC or whatever, then I would imagine their resources are limited vis a vis homemade pizza ingredients.

Why?

You are just making excuses.

The groceries that they can buy on food stamps are just the same as those that can be bought with cash. Milk, cheese, eggs, flour, yeast, salt, tomato sauce, sausage, onions.

Salvation Army, Goodwill, St Vincent DePaul all have inexpensive kitchen supplies like pans, utensils, dishes...even table linens.

There is no excuse for not cooking decent food and having some mealtime with your family.

They just don't want to cook.

And lest you think that I don't know what I'm talking about, when I was just out on my own I collected food stamps for a while (and participated in the USDA commodity program). I STILL have some of the cast iron pans that I got from St Vincent's (over 40 years ago).

There is no shame in being in need of assistance. The shame is to make it your freaking lifestyle and demand that others work so you don't have to.

Oligonicella said...

roesch-voltaire --

"Pogo all sorts of successful folks are depended on govt contracts or subsidies from corn farmers/Midland Daniels to Boeing-- so what is your point?"

No Roesch. The definition of success is not "I make my living on grants and subsidies." That you equate contracts and subsidies shows you don't know what you're talking about or you are purposely conflating the concepts.

Oligonicella said...

DADvocate --

"You can raise a lot of fish in a small area. This farm was in the desert which is an advantage over Wisconsin as talapia need warm water."

Interesting problem for the North. If you build it correctly, you could do composting in such a way as to heat the water.

Large piles to heat up with radiators in them down-slope from the tanks with regulation in the connecting pipes.

In a large factory basement would be good. I understand someone is raising crayfish in the KC underground mines.

Oligonicella said...

Peter --
"But, you can buy a garment made in Bangladesh for less than the cost of the pattern and materials you’d need to make it yourself."

And the difference is more than enough to justify the change. It depends on what you want in your clothing.

But for good wear?

Please, that imported crap has lower thread count of lower quality threads held together by the same low quality threads.

It will wear in half the time at best and will not fit properly, so you might as well know how to dart and tuck.

You should pop off those extra buttons you get and stash them, because the others will indeed break in half or pop off and you'll need to know how to put one on (other than the simple double lap they use by machine).

I could go on, but guys, if you can sew a shirt, you can assemble a business shirt of some mighty fine silk of your pattern choosing for less than $40. If you're good enough, same thing for the suit (more bucks, of course).

You know who makes tailor-made men's clothing? Men who can sew.

RonF said...

and supermarkets choose not to operate there.

Ooooo, those eeeeevil supermarkets. No commentary on WHY supermarkets "choose" not to operate there. Like - it's dangerous for the employees to travel back and forth to their jobs, security costs are higher, people don't have as much disposable income to buy food, etc., etc. Which all adds up to - they can't make money there. Which means that the store will close, or that the entire corporation will lose money and then everyone will lose their jobs.

Sabinal said...

Patrick said...

Typically left idealized version of farming, plus throwing in all of the BS about organic farming. Seems all nice when the rich lefties go out and get their "community share acre" food, and even spend a weekend or two hoeing out weeds.

Try to live on that, or actually run a farm that needs to survive on more than what amounts to donations? Yeah, good luck with that. People in the "neighbor hood" have to earn money and don't have time for all of that.


so true...reminds me of Bourdrain's book Medium Raw, where he skews the false romanticism of Alice Waters and the latte lib idea of farming. Esp in Italy, where the tomato pickers are African migrants and farmers rely more on renting their homes (at least that's what Mr. B says)