Transition Milwaukee

Rebuilding Community Resilience & Self-Reliance

Power Down Week 2010

Visit other years:2012, 2011

June 21 --- June 27

Power Down is a Game with 2 rules:

  1. Make your carbon foot print as small as you can
  2. Do it with others

PRIZES will be awarded for:

  • smallest carbon foot print
  • largest change
  • most creative way to power down

Prizes include:A shaving razor, hand coffee grinder, rain barrels, treadle sewing machine, time bank hours and more. All prizes to be awarded at the end of the week.


We are also going to have two major challenges going on for most of the week:

  1. Building a cob oven. Cob is made of sand, clay, and straw.This project will be going on all week, Green Folk Garden
  2. Making energy with bikes and other scavenged materials. Build something to save/make energy or power something without buying new materials. We already have a great active team that is working on building a human powered system (bike and treadmill) that will power our amplifier for July 5th, Energy Independence Day. Join them, 6:30 every Wednesday night Carlos's garage.

Both of these challenges will be participant lead, so feel free to join in with what is already happening, or get ready to jump in this June!

Power Down Week Events Calendar:

Everyone can help right away by looking around for existing materials we will use to acheive our goals during the Power Down week. Part of the challenge is not buying anything newfor our projects!:

Some items we will need: shiny metal, clear plastic, wood for building solar shower and components of the cob oven, bricks, alternators, generators, bikes, ideas, treadmills, life-cycles, batteries, and ???
*** All of the workshops are offered free of charge, but you may be asked by your workshop coordinator to make a monetary donation or a donation of Time Bank Hours.
*** PLEASE NOTE: Additional workshops and spontaneous activities can be announced at the Kick-Off festivities on Monday the 21st.

Monday, June 21

4:00 – 7:30 pm- Power Down Kick Off
To fully enjoy the week this is a must attend! The Kick Off event will include registration, the start of the game, creation of our "Actual Social Networking Wall", Power Down Week Henna tattoo's, and caricature artists (to have a powered-down picture of yourself on your social network page!). - Falcon Bowl.

5:30 – 7:30 pm- Strawberry Ice Cream Social - We will have free ice. People are encouraged to think of a way to make ice cream with out electricity -- a hand crank ice cream maker, or shake it in a plastic bag, roll a can in a can in a tire.... bring your own materials and or ingredients and we will all share! We will also be baking bread in a cob oven. -- Green Folk Garden

7:30 – 9:30 pm- Summer Solstice Celebration - Celebrate by drumming, sharing poetry  and song, and witnessing sunset with host Harvey Taylor. Bring a drum, a favorite song or poem, and a blanket to sit on. Enjoy unplugged fun with neighbors and friends on the longest day of the year – Reservoir Park, Meinicke St., 1 block south of North Ave.

Tuesday, June 22

10:00 am - Build Solar Showers - Learn how to construct a solar shower Garden Park.

10:00 am -1:00 pm - Cob Oven building - Two traditions that have been passed down through the ages: baking bread and building with earthen materials will be demonstrated. Learn the cob dance and how to re-purpose materials. Hands and feet will be our tools for the week! - Green Folk Garden (Continues All Week)

2:00 pm - ? - Build a Bike Trailer Workshop - Come help build a bike trailer - 2953 N. Booth St.

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm - Rooftop Garden Tour- Join in a garden tour two rooftop gardens in Milwaukee. Ask questions and discuss gardening in Milwaukee. Travel between gardens will be done via bicycle (please bring a lock)- meet at 3720 N. Fratney Street in the parking lot. Second location on North Palmer Street south of Capital. Contact Stacy LaPoint with questions (414-807-4068)

6:00 pm - Panel Discussion: "False Hopes of Sustainability in Urban Environments" - With so much pressure to be 'green' these days, come to learn and discuss the actual potential of living sustainably in a neighborhood like Riverwest. – Cream City Collective

6:00 pm - Homebrew Beer Workshop - Learn the art of homebrewing (beginner) - 2955 N Booth St. (Cancelled in case of rain)

7:30 pm - Lecture: International responses to Powerdown Issues - Tom Brandstetter and Myles Saigh will discuss what can we learn from those that live on 1/2 and even 1/15 the energy of Americans. Stories and photos from Denmark, India, and Earth Haven, NC. What are the conditions that make this possible and what to we need to nurture? What's within our ability to change quickly and what are the obstacles for systemic change. Building low embedded energy natural shelter is within our grasp. Examples of building natural methods will be shown by Myles (Please bring a chair) - The Pink House Studio

After Lecture above - Carbon Footprinting Lecture - Find out ways to measure your personal carbon footprinting during Power Down Week based on Kilowatt and gasoline usage - The Pink House Studio - for information contact Chris Terbrueggn 520-7935

Wednesday, June 23

9:30 am - Solar Oven Home-baked Bread workshop and solar baking experiment - The Pink House Studio

10:00 am - 1:00 pm Cob Oven Demonstration  (cont.) - Green Folk Garden

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Construct and Paint Rainbarrels, Then build Solar Showers! - We will construct 6 rain barrels using hand drills! & then paint them! fun for kids too. We will discuss rain gardens, uses for rain water, city codes and guides for installation. The barrels will be used during the week for solar showers in the park – bring paint clothes, a snack to share, and donation for materials if you can – Garden Park

6:00 pm - Homebrew Beer Workshop Learn the art of homebrewing (intermediate)  -  Greenfolks Garden (Will be cancelled in case of rain)

6:00 pm - Energy/Bike Generator Learning Lab - Carlos's garage

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm - "Pins & Needles" sewing/crafting/clothes mending - Cream City Collective

9:00 pm - Bremen Cafe's Acoustical Wednesdays goes totally unplugged! - Open Mic night and Entertainment by candlelight - Bremen Cafe

Thursday, June 24

10:00 am - 1:00 pm Cob Oven Demonstration (cont.) - Green Folk Garden

12:00 pm - Stretch and move - Bring a Yoga Mat if you have one - COA/Kilbourn Park

12:00 pm - Bike Tune-up Workshop - Ayton from Truly Spoken Cycles will help us tune up are bikes for the Oak Creek bike ride on Saturday. Please make a donation to Truly Spoken Cycles. Gordon Park Picnic Shelter

4:00 pm - Knot and lashing Workshop (All ages) – Concordia Gardens

5:00 pm - Local Food Challenge & Kale-gate Party Pot Luck – Come enjoy the food of the future at the Powerdown Food Challenge Kale-gate Party. Bring a dish to pass using your favorite Kale recipe. Sponsored by The Victory Garden Initiative - Concordia Gardens

5:00 pm - Soap-making Workshop/Demo - Concordia Gardens

5:00 pm – Raw Food WorkshopConcordia Gardens

6:00 pm - Homebrew Beer Workshop - Learn the art of homebrewing (intermediate/advanced) - 2955 N Booth St. (Cancelled in case of rain)

6:00 pm - 7:15 - Free and Easy Yoga - Please bring bottle of water, Yoga Mat or towel, wear comfy clothes - The Pink House Studio

7:00 pm – Song Circle – Singing and enjoying with Peggy Hong (please bring something to sit on) – Concordia Gardens

Friday, June 25

10:00 am - 1:00 pm - Cob Oven Demonstration (cont.) - Green Folk Garden

11:00am - Power Down Soapmaking workshop - No fire, no electricity, no thermometers, just a pound of great soap made by you! - Bring Rubber gloves, eye protection, shoebox w/lid and towel or blanket to wrap the shoebox. - The Pink House Studio - information : Virginia Cassel 414-803-8974 - Donation of 3 timebank hours requested (material cost for this workshop is approx $10)

2:00 pm - Measuring your Personal Carbon Foot Print - Lets explore ways to calculate your carbon foot print during Power Down Week by putting Plan C into action. "Calculate, Compare, Confront are the three skills needed for achieving reduction." The Pink House Studio

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm – Urban Beekeeping Beesentation – Learn about bees, Beepods and beekeeping in the city. Plus visit a Beepod in Riverwest – Green Folk Garden - Led by Charbee Koenen & Terri Kinis, Questions:

6:00 pm - Mushroom Workshop - Learn to grow the miraculous, carnivorous, edible Oyster Mushroom in your very own backyard. A beloved white, leafy species of mushroom with the power to break down oil spills into simple carbons, the Oyster mushroom, high in protein, minerals and cholesterol-reducing statins can be easily grown on straw and other cellulosic materials (old phonebooks, toilet paper rolls, etc). Led by home-grower, Tina Samuels.- Concordia Gardens

5:30 - 7:00 pm – Massage Workshop for Participants - Bring lotion and a towel. - The Pink House Studio

7:30 pm - Music Making - Kilbourn Park

(Time TBD) - Urban Camping Night - Check Cream City Collectivedoor for location and details to be posted by that morning.

Saturday, June 26

9:00 am – 4:00 pm - Bike to Oak Creek Coal-fired Power Plant - We will begin an epic 40 mile journey via bike or bus. We will travel south with several Powerdown friendly stops along the way. Our quest is to look upon and witness our local "spill". The Oak Creek coal fired plant at noon. This visual meditation will result in a lasting personal Powerdown for the witness. We return to Garden Park and at 4 PM wash the coal and oil off our skins in the group solar shower waiting for us. – Ride begins and ends at Garden Park - For more information contact Tom Brandstetter 262-385-5530

10:00 am - Solar Convection Dehydrator Building - with Erik Lindberg and Nikolai Usack - Sponsored by the Victory Garden Initiative - Erik Lindberg's Rooftop Garden - for directions please call Gretchen Mead at (414)-333-2537

10:00 am - 12:00 pm - Container Gardening for Kids - Bring a creative container or create one from tarp material. All ages welcome - Concordia Gardens

11:00 am - 1:00 - Hands across the Sand - At the event we'll join hands and unite to end our addiction to oil. We'll call on President Obama to move America beyond oil over the next two decades - Sponsored by the Sierra Club - Bradford Beach - Questions email:

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Powered-down Fertilizer for the Garden: Humanure and "Liquid-gold" Workshop for Adults - Learn how you can safely collect the best fertilizer ever made and reduce your water bill at the same time. Concordia Gardens

3:00 pm - Foraging walk - The Milwaukee Urban Foragers will lead a walk-about through Riverwest to collectively identify the many wild edible plants existing in our neighborhood parks, woods, and yards. - pencil, notebook, magnifying lens, and any books on foraging and/or wild edible plants that you can get your hands on! - Meet at the picnic shelter at Gordon Park

8:00 pm - Free Movie - The Pink House Studio

Sunday, June 27

10:00 am - 2:00 pm - Powerdown Pancake Breakfast - Cream City Collective

10:00 am - 12:30 pm - Talk About Power Down Week and Caucus on Game Winners - Pink House Studio.

1:00 pm - Block Party – We’ll be Dancing in the Streets – Dancing lessons: Capoeira, Samba, and Hoola Hoop Lessons - 2400 Block of Booth St, 53212

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm - Tour of Bill Sell's Garden - We will plunge into an urban wild space and get up close and personal with dozens of native varieties of grasses and flowers. Also some perennials; maybe (if the seeds come through) some herbs. Bring cameras - Long pants and socks - a good idea but not essential if you don't mind the feeling of plants against your skin. Sandals are fine. - 2827 S. Lenox St. 53207 (call : 272-3787 if lost)

2:00 pm - Yarn Spinning Workshop - Learn how to spin your own yarn using a CD drop spindle and provided merino wool (a softer wool). You will learn how to prep the fiber, how to use the drop spindle, and what you should do when you are done spinning to set the twist. It is recommended to bring a chair to sit in. - 2400 Block of Booth St.

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm - Upcycled Fashion Workshop - Used recycled materials to create earrings, necklaces or bracelets, some material will be provided but please bring materials to use, siscors, pliers, ribbon or wire. - Project M

5:00 pm - Prizes and Rewards for Power Downers! - 2400 Block of Booth St, 53212 - Rain location - Polish Falcon


Location Guide:

  • Falcon Bowl / Polish Falcon – 801 E. Clark St.
  • Greenfolks Garden – 500 Wright St.
  • Concordia Gardens – Concordia and Palmer
  • Pink House Studio – 601 E Wright
  • Cream City Collective –  732 W. Clark St.
  • Carlos's garage – Booth Street Alley Between Meineke and Wright
  • Block Party - 2400 Block of N. Booth St, Riverwest, Milwaukee, WI 53212



View Power Down 2010, Milwaukee, WI in a larger map



power down week workgroup

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The Shepherd-Express
Power Down Week in Riverwest


The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
'Power Down Week' organizers plan self-sufficient Independence Day



Power Down Week is a participant run and lead event. We are not supplying anything other than challenging the neighborhood to a game, offering ways to connect to each other and helping to coordinating spaces and needs. Participants and neighbors are responsible for their own safety, comfort, enjoyment and learning. Workshops and events are free or for donation, check what materials you might need to bring. We will not be supplying trash cans, so bring reusable for food events, most are near compost deposit spots.

Things you might consider depending on the event: plates, cups, reusable water bottles, chair, pillow, blanket, sun protection, materials to make the project the workshop is about etc. Participants and neighbors are responsible for their own safety, comfort, enjoyment and learning.

To support space rental and organizing, donations from participants from $5 - $100 will be welcome, however all are invited to join. We plan on doing much of this event on trade, workshop leaders will be offered to be paid with time bank hours, workshop attendees are encouraged to donate to the Milwaukee Time Exchange


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Comment by Sarah Moore on June 29, 2010 at 1:16pm
look at this great email I got!

Hi Sarah,

I heard a brief spot on the radio announcing that one neighborhood was powering down, and wanted to let you know that here in another neighborhood, Bay View, my family powered down the whole week. A week was nice because it made us really evaluate habits....we watched maybe 15 minutes of TV the whole week. I limited my time on the computer to one hour a day....No Facebook....just keeping up with work, no lights on after sunset....early nights to bed....did two loads of laundry and washed the dog in solar warmed rainwater....ate vegetarian meals most meals and on and on. Thanks for the mindfulness lesson, and I know some of those habits will continue.

Love to you and the boys.

Stephanie Sandy
Comment by Sarah Moore on June 19, 2010 at 3:18pm
Prizes For the Week! Thank you everyone!!!

Bike trailer to be PDW workshop with Artist and Craftsman Remodeling
Hand crank coffee and spice grinder
Solar Shower bags
Bike basket Beans and Barley
Bike Rack Truly Spokes
Rain barrels
water heater blankets
1/2 gallon refillable Beer Growlers
Farmers package a wheel barrow, spade shovel, hoe and 10 seed packets Bliffert Lumber & Hardware
Treadle sewing machine
Massage gift certificates Katie Madeke and Claire Moore
Sun glass Vision Eye Art
Café Corazon Gift certificate
Centro Café Gift certificate
KRS Hair Studio Gift certificate
AND MORE! Do you have a prize to donate? bring it to the kick off!
Comment by Meghan K. Martin on June 16, 2010 at 2:09pm
Just in-
Riverwest 24 is donating a sign-up ticket to raffle off to volunteers who help peddle the bike powered generators for the Energy Independence Day celebration July 5.

Volunteers who peddle for a shift of 30 minutes can enter a drawing to win a ticket to participate in the Riverwest 24 Hour bike race July 30th. RW24 has almost reached their limit of racers so tickets are hard to come by.

Thank you RW24!

Get ready to start peddling! :)
Comment by Sarah Moore on June 1, 2010 at 9:31pm
Come to the kick off at the polish falcon! it is going to set the mood for the whole week
Comment by Sarah Moore on May 24, 2010 at 5:04pm
more info to come soon! sign up for our power down week work group to get updates.

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