Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How one woman turned a food desert into a deep well of opportunity

Ways To Subscribe
Students learning about hydroponics

Mitchelle Lyle grew up in Milwaukee’s Amani neighborhood, a community with limited access to fresh produce and grocery stores — not that she would’ve known that as a child. Lyle was surrounded by gardens and fresh produce, often enjoying tomatoes with salt and vinegar as a snack. This early exposure to gardening and self-sustainability would later inspire her mission to give back to her community.

Lyle’s professional journey led her through engineering and manufacturing, driven by a passion for science and mathematics. Upon returning to Milwaukee in 2018, she was disheartened to see her childhood neighborhood in decline. This spurred her into action.

"I felt a sense of responsibility to do something,” she recalled. “If you have achieved success, then what is your responsibility to the rest of the community that you came from?".

Determined to make a difference, Lyle brainstormed the issues facing her community, identifying food and health disparities as critical areas. She then launched the Hydroponics STEM Program, a five-week summer initiative designed to educate students about the history of agriculture through the lens of Black history, and teach them practical skills in hydroponics and STEM.

In this episode of Uniquely Milwaukee, we sit down with Lyle, the director of Milwaukee's Hydroponics STEM Program, to explore her personal journey and her deep connection to the Amani neighborhood. We also throw ourselves into the program itself by playing with water balloons! OK, it’s actually a lesson about fluid dynamics, but it does highlight the initiative’s fun, hands-on approach to learning.

Audio Storyteller / 88Nine On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee