Recent News
Upcoming Events
Sweet Water Recipes


Old News Made New

Q: Is your building for sale?

A: The building at 2151 S. Robinson has been for sale off and on for a few years now and the owner is currently looking for a tenant for the half of the space that we no longer use for our growing, education and community events. Sweet Water's operations take place indoors and on an adjacent property that is not part of the lease at 2151 S. Robinson Ave.

This entry was posted on March 08 2013

Sweet Water, India & WEDC Meeting

Another great step in our continued relationship with India.  This past week we had a meeting with numerous esteemed individuals:

Ms. Karuna Gopal (Vanakuru), Foundation for Futuristic Cities,,, Mr. Pranab Dasgupta, Confederation of Indian Industry – Triveni Water Institute,, Mr. Irfan Yasin, Jammu & Kashmir Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, Mr. Vijay Kumar Garg, RUIFDCO - Rajasthan Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation, Mr. Sanjay Bhat, Voltas Ltd.,, Dr. Sunny George, Mahattil Advisors Consultants and Educators, LLP, Mr. Shajan John, Mahattil International LLC, Lora Klenke, WEDC, Stanley Pfrang, WEDC

We would also like to thank our Water Council, Milwaukee Bio Culture Industry, City and Civil Society partners, along with the Sweet Water staff and supporters who made this important moment possible.

This Water Focused Trade Delegation from India will be a critical moment in Milwaukee's evolution as a 21st Century "organic and global city," advancing earth friendly bio-culture industry innovations that will create good careers for citizens in Milwaukee and India, promote sustainable development, and advance mighty collaborations across civilizations, cultures, and national boundaries.  We are creating technological innovations that will help heal the planet and enhance the health of our citizens.

The Sweet Water Foundation and Sweet Water Organics have many resources to share to accelerate the diffusion of what might became humanity's most prolific and earth friendly method of food production--ever! *3 years ago the Sweet Water Organics partners began to manifest visions of commercializing, democratizing, and globalizing aquaponics and other bio-culture innovations.  *2 years ago the Sweet Water Foundation was founded to harvest the information and the resource networks of SWO,  to acceleratge the education piece for the democratzing/globalizing ambition, hypothesizing that an aquaponics skilled and knowledge equiped work force and an educated population were necessary conditions for the commercial ambitions. *A year and a few months ago the State Deparment organized a Sweet Water visit to several Indian cities, right after IBM identified aquaponics in Milwaukee as a key innovation for a new world, followed by the Harvard Business School identifying the Milwaukee Sweet Water partnership as an innovation key to America's renewal. *A few months ago Shajan John , with Chaya Nayak of the SWF Board, with the help of Stanley Pfrang of WEDC, Maj Fischer of the UW Madison International Interns Program, built upon the work of Emmanuel Pratt, Jesse Blom, Jill Frey, and Matt Ray with a USDA/MTEC project for teacher training, to help set up an Aquaponics Demonstration center at St. Albert's College in Cochi, India.  Around the same time the MacArthur Foundation awarded the Badge Based Digital Training grant, while this season we are rolling out, with MPS and Growing Power, a aquaponics teacher training cohort.

Let's build upon India's organic farming traditions and understandings, information revolution resources, e.g. eChoupal, the powerful and subtle marriage of spiritual with scientific wisdom

Let's advance what Shajan John calls "eco change" experimental projects in urban agriculture and aquaponics, student/mindful eco change tourism projects, and other areas where Milwaukee's fresh water and other industries are complimentary with India's human and culture blessings.

This entry was posted on September 14 2012

Sweet Water Wins Digital Media and Learning Competition

September 6, 2012 - Milwaukee, WI—We are pleased to announce Sweet Water Foundation (SWF) has won a grant in the amount of $175,000 from the 4th annual Digital Media and Learning Competition, held in conjunction with the Mozilla Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Sweet Water was selected as one of 30 winners out of 500 international applicants for its innovative approach marrying lifelong education with project-based learning through urban agriculture and aquaponics, the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a closed-loop water system.

Created in 2007, The Digital Media and Learning Competition is a funding program provided by the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, University of California, and Duke University  to “find and inspire the most innovative uses of new media in support of connected learning”--- learning that occurs in and out of school, in physical places and in online spaces. The badge-based lifelong learning competition focuses on “badges as a means to inspire learning, confirm accomplishment, or validate the acquisition of knowledge or skills.” Ultimately the badge-based learning system aims to improve the academic achievement, economic opportunity, civic engagement, and opportunities for lifelong learning.

The funding from this competition will support Sweet Water in the development and implementation of an “AQUAPONS” online platform for learning and assessment in the emerging field of aquaponics. The Sweet Water AQUAPONS badge system will establish a methodological framework for connecting, assessing, evaluating, and placing emerging “aquapons” – people practicing aquaponics. The program will serve a rapidly expanding network of aquapons (locally, regionally, nationally, globally) and the emerging 21st century industry of aquaponics.  The long-term vision is the creation of a repository of learning and assessment models for aquaponics and urban agriculture that will give students of all ages and backgrounds a means of learning, sharing, validating, and showcasing the knowledge and skills that they possess.

Sweet Water AQUAPONS builds upon the curricular-based focus of the USDA-funded Midwest Aquaponics Expertise Development Initiative (MAEDI) and the Urban Schools Aquaponics (USA) projectsupported by a grant through the NEA Foundation and AT&T Foundation Partnership (2009-2012). Each of these initiatives have laid the groundwork for both an innovative teacher training and educational pilot program and the development of a support network advancing a hands-on, interdisciplinary curriculum to improve students’ interest and achievement within the Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) disciplines. The  Sweet Water AQUAPONS program also builds upon the recent success of the The Growing NetworksWisconsin – Kerala Aquaponics Connection,  a collaborative partnership between Sweet Water, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Mahattil LLC, which introduced aquaponic farming to communities in Kerala, India this past summer.

According to SWF Executive Director, Emmanuel Pratt, “the Sweet Water AQUAPONS lifelong learning program will be a game changer for SWF’s educational endeavors. This online platform will allow SWF to exponentially reach a global audience looking to explore the interdisciplinary opportunities in aquaponics and urban agriculture as dynamic pathways towards 21st century careers.”

This 12-month grant from the Digital Media and Learning Competition will allow SWF to contribute to a robust badge ecosystem, where traditional and 21st century skills and achievements are inspired, recognized, translated across contexts, and displayed and managed across the web using Mozilla’s Open Badge Infrastructure.  All winning badge systems will launch and join the badge ecosystem in mid-2013. SWF will partner with a host of other Milwaukee-based partners, including SmartWave, Snowfall Creative, and Alverno College, who will work over the course of the next 12 months to launch the project.  An online copy of the proposal can be found at this link:

This entry was posted on September 06 2012

Sweet Water’s Organic Certification Process

Update: We've received our USDA Organic Certification and our sprouts, micros and wheatgrass are all know USDA Certified Organic.


We're getting closer to our organic certification everyday.  While not 100% of the products we sell from Sweet Water will be certified all are grown from organic seed and are not treated with chemical agents.  Many of you have asked about the fish - there is no organic certification for fish in the United States.

Update:  A recent confidential complaint against Sweet Water was checked into by the NOP and closed without incident.


Where we are at – we’ve been working diligently over the last year to firm up USDA certification for our farm.  Yes, this should have been done long ago but it wasn’t a priority for our previous staff and our current staff has stayed quite busy between community events, education and the everyday running of the farm, regardless we’ve made progress.  Working with our organic certifying agency we’ve figured out which part of our operations can be certified right away and the ones that we’ll need to work on.  Once we go through our next inspection we should have more news and possibly a target date for a change in our retail packaging.

We’ve always been growing from premium organic seed, sometimes paying double over conventional seed.  We don’t use any non-organic pest or disease control methods (i.e. chemical fertilizers or pesticides) nor would we.  We still have ladybugs and a praying mantis family as farm residents to help control any pests that make their way in.  We will continue to grow good, clean, local produce and fish with or without certification and our products will always be GMO free.


This entry was posted on August 01 2012

Sweet Water Organics How To: Filleting Fish

Many people are intimidated by the thought of cleaning fish, Sweet Water volunteer Margaret Muza demonstrates just how simple it is to fillet a fish. Enjoy.

Images by Kelly Anderson and Joel Van Haren
Edit by Kelly Anderson
Music by The Fatty Acids

This entry was posted on September 12 2011

Our sprouts are really good, and really good for you!

Sprouts are considered as wonder foods. They rank as the freshest and most nutritious of all vegetables available to the human diet. By a process of natural transmutation, sprouted food acquires vastly improved digestibility and nutritional qualities when compared to non-sprouted embryo from which it derives.

Sprout nutrition facts
Broccoli sprouts: Broccoli sprouts have a mildly peppery flavor They are also high in the cancer fighting compound, sulforaphane.
Uses: Excellent juiced or in salads

Radish sprouts: Radish sprouts have 29 times more vitamin C than milk and 4 times the vitamin A. These spicy spouts have 10 times more calcium than a potato and contain more vitamin C than a pineapple.
Uses: Too delicate for cooking, radish sprouts are generally used to spice up salads or sandwiches.

Sunflower sprouts:  Sunflower sprouts are a rich source of lecithin and vitamin D. The sunflower sprout is known for its crispness and nutty flavor. It breaks down fatty acids into an easily digestible, water soluble form.
Uses: A delicious addition to salads. They can also be juiced and used in green drinks.

Pea Shoots: Pea Shoots are a nutritious leaf with high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A.

*  Add to tossed salads
* Use in coleslaw (cabbage, clover, radish)
* Try in wraps and roll-ups (alfalfa, sunflower, radish)
* Stir-fry with other vegetables (alfalfa, clover, radish, mung bean, lentil)
* Replace celery in sandwich spreads (lentil, radish)
* Mix with soft cheeses for a dip (mung bean, radish)
* Grind up and use in sandwich spreads (lentil, radish)
* Eat them fresh and uncooked in a sprout salad (salad mixes)
* Top omelet or scrambled eggs (alfalfa, clover, radish)
* Add to sushi (radish, sunflower)
* Saute with onions (mung bean, clover, radish)
* Puree with peas or beans (mung bean, lentil)
* Add to baked beans (lentil)
* Steam and serve with butter (mung bean, lentil)
* Use in sandwiches instead of lettuce (alfalfa, clover, radish)

This entry was posted on July 12 2011

Plight of the yellow perch

This is why we need fish farms such as Sweet Water Organics more than ever!

Plight of the yellow perch
Journal Sentinel, By: Paul A. Smith, July 9, 2011

Exerpt: Perch have suffered from years of extremely poor recruitment, or survival of young fish, since the early 1990s.

The decline of the native fish is thought to be linked to drastic changes in the lake's food web brought on by invasive zebra and quagga mussels in the last two decades.

In addition to poor recruitment, a troubling sex imbalance has recently emerged in the population, prompting research into a hormonal syndrome.

"There is certainly concern for the perch," said Pradeep Hirethota, senior fisheries biologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

According to population estimates, the number of perch in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan has declined from 24.6 million in 1990 to 2.6 million in 2000 to 316,210 in 2009, the last year for which data are available.

In response to the decline, Wisconsin closed the commercial perch fishery on Lake Michigan in 1996. Illinois and Indiana also closed their commercial perch fisheries. Michigan allows some tribal harvest of perch.

Read the full story

This entry was posted on July 11 2011

Sweet Water perch is on the menu for President Obama’s Dinner at mk Restaurant on April 14th!

mk The Restaurant Serving Sustainable and Locally Produced Food and Wine for President Obama's Dinner Thursday, April 14th. Sweet Water Perch is on the menu!
mk The Restaurant’s Chefs Michael Kornick and Erick Williams will be preparing a spectacular dinner featuring only sustainably produced food and wine from America for President Obama’s fundraising dinner on Thursday, April 14th. Highlights from the menu will feature perch from Sweet Water, steak from Bill Kurtis’ Tall Grass Beef Company, as well as Qupe and Au Bon Climat wines.

Starting off the night will be a hors d’oeurves of perch served with Fish Bar tartar sauce. This isn’t your typical perch. The fish have been commercially raised by Sweet Water through an innovative aquaponic system of agriculture, which is a simultaneous cultivation of plants and fish. Through their aquaponic agriculture, Sweet Water is helping address global warming and food insecurity in the 21st Century while providing people with locally grown fish.

Guests will also enjoy Tallgrass beef tartare. Tallgrass Beef Company is one of America’s leaders in grass-fed beef, which produces healthier meat that is higher in Omega-3s and vitamins. The cattle are never raised in feedlots or are given hormones. Instead they are raised naturally in pastures, which results in better tasting meat which is also better for the environment.

The elegant hors d’oeurves of perch, beef and lobster will be paired with a 2009 Qupe Cuve Chardonnay. Qupe Vineyards is based in California’s Central Coast and employs traditional winemaking practices and they are committed to sourcing the best grapes.  In 2010, Food & Wine Magazine named Qupe one of the World’s 50 Most Influential Winemakers.

The evening will progress to an exceptional dinner of Maine salmon and seared Maine scallops with short ribs that will be paired with a 2007 Au Bon Climat pinot noir. Au Bon Climat is located on the world-famous Bien Nacido winery in California’s Santa Barbara County and sources the best fruit the Central Coast has to offer. Food & Wine Magazine named Jim Cleneden "Winemaker of the Year" in 2001, and in 2007, Jim was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. Au Bon Climat’s wines continue to earn international praise.

Serving sustainable, local and environmentally conscious food and wine is at the core of chefs Michael Kornick and Erick Williams’ culinary philosophy, and President Obama’s dinner is no exception.

Sweet Water recently opened a retail store. We are filling our store with great Sweet Water products and merchandise, as well as other goods from some of our valuable partners. The Store is currently open Wednesdays and Fridays from 4pm to 7pm. Tours are available every Wednesday and Friday at 6pm and Sundays at noon. You can also purchase Sweet Water perch from
Empire Fish. Sweet Water is located at 2151 S. Robinson Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207.

This entry was posted on April 13 2011

City wins grant to develop urban farms

IBM will announce Wednesday that Milwaukee is among 24 cities worldwide to receive a Smarter Cities Challenge grant, which will give the city access to top IBM experts and technology to potentially expand local, cutting-edge urban agriculture efforts around the globe.

Read more at jsonline:

This entry was posted on March 09 2011

NPR Covers Sweet Water’s Work With Local Perch

Indoor Perch Farm Does The Work For Lake Michigan - By Susan Bence

This entry was posted on November 21 2010