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On the last Saturday of every month, The Teen Creative Agency (TCA) hosts The Living Room, an on-site intimate, eclectic gathering for contemporary conversations, performances, and activites at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). The TCA is comprised of 25 curious, creative, committed youth who work on projects to transform select spaces within the museum interactivity. Last October, TCA visited both the Aquaponics Center and the Think-Do House at the Perry Ave Community Farm expressing interest in collaborating in The MYCELIA Project. This month, TCA invited Executive Director, Emmanuel Pratt, and the team from Sweet Water Foundation as their featured guests to collaborate on a pop-up mini-aquaponics installation in the lobby of the MCA as a way to engage MCA patrons and guests in an intimate and heart-felt conversation about community, art, engagement, sustainability, and social practice.
This past Friday, Sweet Water Foundation co-hosted the gallery opening of the “Water” exhibit at Arts@Large’s gallery space on the south side of Milwaukee. The “Water” exhibit features the work of 3rd grade students from Milwaukee Environmental Sciences and 7th and 8th grade students from Fernwood Montessori School, who each built small aquaponics systems at their schools with support from Sweet Water Foundation.
See the photos below, as the students proudly displayed their aquaponics systems to gallery visitors on Friday evening, and gave a formal presentation as well, explaining the details of how aquaponics works, and what they learned from building these systems. Hats off to the students from Milwaukee Environmental Sciences and Fernwood Montessori School for their excellent work!
The “Water” exhibit will be on display through the month of April, so please visit the Arts@Large gallery at 908 S 5th St, Milwaukee, WI during their open hours to check it out.
Emmanuel Pratt Speaks at Creative Time Summit at NYU
Emmanuel Pratt has dedicated himself to learning and teaching others about the issues that plague modern cities. A doctoral candidate in Urban Planning at Columbia University, he is the Executive Director of The Sweet Water Foundation, which seeks to integrate hands-on sustainable farming practices with interdisciplinary educational programming. The Mycelia Project has put this into practice by turning a deteriorating shoe factory into an aquaponic farm that uses nitrogen waste from tilapia-filled tanks to fertilize vegetables and herbs. He distributes these locally grown products to restaurants in the South Side of Chicago. In addition, The Mycelia Project has introduced a curriculum that educates everyone from kindergartners to graduate students about sustainability, repurposing, and urban renewal to schools across Chicago.
Why we love Emmanuel Pratt:
• Emmanuel brought sustainable farming to a “food desert” in Chicago by converting a deteriorating abandoned shoe factory into a lively and productive aquaponic fish and vegetable farm
• He has expanded his urban farming education initiative to 50 schools through his Sweet Water Foundation, teaching things like fishery management and soil chemistry
• Emmanuel emphasizes action. When describing what to expect at Sweet Water he states: “We’re gonna have a philosophical debate, but you’re probably gonna be doing it while you have a tool in your hand and you’re doing something”Source: Creative Time Summit
In less than three years, interest in our education programming has expanded exponentially. Through all of the various forms, we have reached approximately 100 schools at every level of the education pipeline. A crucial component of our process has been connecting teachers and students from different schools practicing aquaponics, facilitating information exchange and generating new ideas. Last May, Sweet Water in Milwaukee coordinated an Aquaponics in the Classroom showcase event, or “harvest celebration,” where students and teachers presented their aquaponic designs and models, spoke of challenges and successes, and ate salads harvested from aquaponic systems. The feedback from this showcase encourages us to repeat this event annually or even biannually with our growing list of schools and partners.
We were really inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of these students in design, construction, and presentation of their systems. As we kick off another year working with inspiration young people in Milwaukee and Chicago, we are excited to uncover what the new school year will bring!