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    Milwaukee: The Good Land for Sustainable Beer & Festivals

    Despite Milwaukee being a part of the Rust Belt, this former factory city is trying to make a sustainable comeback. Like the rest of the 50 states, Milwaukee is threatened by climate change – including extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding. In July 2013, Milwaukee Mayor Barrett launched ReFresh Milwaukee, a citywide strategic plan to help promote an environmental, economic and socially sustainable future.

    Similar to Greenworks, ReFresh addresses sustainability across buildings, energy, food, mobility and more. One key difference that I would love Philadelphia to incorporate is a Human Capital element (page 35 of their PDF), which includes green jobs, internships for youth and diversity/inclusion for local leaders.

    Until I began talking about Milwaukee as a cross-country sustainability tour stop, I had no idea how many people loved this city. As I stepped out into Milwaukee from the train, it began to rain. I took the bus to Bayview to my Airbnb’s host and instantly felt at home.

    Elise Airbnb Milwaukee

    Elise is full of Milwaukee pride, and her apartment shows it.

    After a 4.5 hour sleep in preparation for my trip, I was ready for an easy night. Local restaurant Odd Duck sources food locally (and I chose a local beer to pair), right around the corner in Bayview. After walking through the neighborhood, I returned to the Airbnb to find Elise there, who was content to share a beer and hang in for the evening.

    Although I enjoyed learning about Elise’s Wisconsin life and Real Housewives reunions, I was also thrilled to hear she’s in Milwaukee’s city pilot compost program. For $13.95/month, she gets curbside compost pickup. She also works for Milwaukee Brewing Company and is part of the tour group, which also lead to my Sunday plans.

    Milwaukee Brewing Company – Sustainable BrewingMilwaukee Brewing Company Tour

    Milwaukee Brewing Company is a small craft brewery known for brewing with tea and its unique flavors.

    MIlwaukee brewing company flavors

    It’s also sustainable, as it’s Wisconsin’s first solar brewery with 28 solar panels on the roof, which heats water for the brewing process.  MBC also reused boilers from Pabst (PBR fans, I know you love those Philly Dive bars) rather than purchase new ones. Their boiler runs on biodiesel created from used vegetable oil 30% of the time.

    Milwaukee Brewing Company solar power

    Similar to Yards and Philadelphia Brewing Company, MBC donates spent grains to Growing Power, a national nonprofit organization to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities.

    Milwaukee Public Market

    Milwaukee Public Market

    A mini version of Reading Terminal, Milwaukee Public Market leases out space to primarily small and local businesses. The setup reminded me of Columbus’s North Market, which also has visitor seating upstairs overlooking the vendors.

    Vendors included On the Bus, featuring quick vegan bites (and a VW van), and Green Kitchen where I had a delicious pear smoothie. I couldn’t leave Wisconsin without having cheese curds, so I ordered a side (aka 2 meals for me) of fried cheese curds and local cheese/crackers for the train.

    With a brief 24 hours in Milwaukee, it’s a city I would certainly love to visit again!

    Julie & Elise MIlwaukee
    My Airbnb host & new friend, Elise!

    Readers, have you seen Milwaukee? Tell us any fun facts in the comments.

    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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