City of Milwaukee officially supports and maintains an urban garden!

(I have no idea why this has sat as an unpublished draft since 14 August 2009. Here it is at last!)

As reported on WUWM this morning, Mayor Barrett was on the radio talking up the City’s vegetable gardens this morning. The Ziedler Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee, located on Broadway and Kilbourn Avenue just across from City Hall. It was really good to hear the Mayor speaking so enthusiastically about urban gardens, and he correctly identified some of the biggest advantages of growing food:

“The first thing is you’re going to get some great food, some nutritious food from this urban garden. This is less expensive than buying it off the shelf of a grocery store or in a restaurant. It also saves energy costs, transportation costs by growing this food locally as well,” Barrett says.

For a city with a large and deep base of poverty and hunger, this is very important. If people can grow much of their own food, they are better able to focus on helping their lives and their families succeed.

One detail in the story that I questioned was that it said “[Milwaukee] neighborhoods where residents are growing vegetable gardens on city lots include Walnut Way, Bay View and Fond du Lac Avenue.”

Bay View? Wait a sec, I live in Bay View. Where are we gardening? Oh — at Village Roots Garden, where I gardened for two years! The beautiful Village Roots Garden was once an empty lot that was acquired by Milwaukee Urban Gardens and turned into a lush community garden with the help of the Bay View Garden And Yard Society.

Village Roots was the first community garden, founded in 1998. Twelve years later, it was joined by the ambitious Bay View Hide House Community Garden. Hats off to BVGAYS for being so proactive and far-seeing, and helping me get my start with urban gardening.

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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.

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