Clarke Food Garden spontaneously sprouts up in Milwaukee!

This is freaking awesome: a new community garden was created at the corner of Clarke and Bremen in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood. Seven families now garden there, which is even more impressive given that the garden was created on the weekend of June 13-14.

I spent some time trying to figure out where this was. Looking at the area in Google Maps, you see nothing but buildings. But, further digging revealed that the building that housed Clarke Foods [Google Maps] had a big fire in January 2008. (Milwaukee IMC has pictures; here’s a good photo of the remains of the building the day after.)

Once the remains were razed, an empty lot remained. It stayed empty until some neighbors made it into what looks like a wonderful community garden. According to the photo gallery on Facebook (FB account required), “The raised beds are built from donated lumber, and filled with organic compost from a reliable source. Plants were donated from a local greenhouse, and each of the beds has been taken over by a local family.”

The middle garden bed was made with “burlap bags from a local coffee distributor [that] were filled with compost with a tomato plant in each one. They form the ‘walls’ of a raised bed garden, with more tomato plants in the center. We plan a neighborhood tomato canning project for the fall.”

I applaud this wonderful use of an empty lot for such a constructive project. With a little creativity and community networking, an empty lot has been transformed. Bravo, Clarke Food Garden folks!


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.