Food Truck Friday at Morgan Park

One of the most satisfying elements of my job as a county supervisor has been working with my neighbors to create Food Truck Friday at Morgan Park. This wonderful biannual event fills a tiny triangular park with hundreds of people who buy freshly prepared food from over a dozen food trucks along the park perimeter.

Original art by dwelliphant.

Food Truck Friday is the brainchild of two park neighbors, Kirsten and Sheri. They were both integral to starting the group Friends of Morgan Park. Sheri is the proprietor of a store across the street from Morgan Park. She noted that there are few options for food this far south on Kinnickinnic Avenue during the Bay View Neighborhood Association’s biannual Gallery Night events. She and Kirsten put their heads together, and Food Truck Friday began in the late summer of 2014.

We expected maybe a few dozen people to show up to partake from the five food trucks that day, but well over five hundred people came to the park that day!

Morgan Park is a little green triangle of grass and tall trees, less than an acre in size. It’s uncommon for there to be more than two or three people in the park for any length of time. So imagine now five hundred folks clamoring around food trucks, sitting in lawn chairs and enjoying the company of neighbors. Despite its size, the crowd was very good to the park, making sure to find trash cans and clean up after themselves. Once the people and the food trucks had left, you could hardly tell there had been an event there.

The following four Food Truck Fridays have each been bigger and better-attended. We look forward to the next one this June!

Below: The smell of hickory barbecue wafts across Morgan Park during Food Truck Friday on June 6, 2014.

June 6 2014 FTF


Two stories in the Compass about gardens in Bay View

The current issue of the fine local newspaper The Bay View Compass (which I write for) has two three stories about gardening in Bay View. The feature is about the rooftop garden at Future Green, which features a solar-powered automatic watering system. They also used some of my photos from the May 23 garden installation at our house, and mention that a rain garden will be installed at Humboldt Park Elementary School. You’d think that I would have paid more attention to that, as I told my editor that I noticed they’d torn out a lot of the pavement surrounding that school. Having moved and written a senior thesis and then done a huge amount of other stuff in the same short time frame, you’ll forgive me if I miss a bit, Jay.….

It must be noted that after the five raised beds were built that day (the 23rd), Stacie took it upon herself to build another raised bed and a circular herb garden in the front yard, all of which are in pictures elsewhere on this blog.

Bay View Plant Sale is this coming Saturday May 30

The upcoming Bay View Garden And Yard Society‘s annual Plant Sale is a great event at which you can buy quality plants for your home, garden, or urban farm. While there’s a particular interest in food crops this year, the plant sale will have everything from tropical plants to indoor plants and all varieties in between.

The sale is on Saturday May 30 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at South Shore Park, 2900 S Shore Drive in Bay View. Here’s a map in case you need it.

Here are the posters, all neatly lined up together as WordPress just apparently would not do:
plant sale combo
And here’s a PDF version of the tomato poster in case you need it.

All credit for these awesome designs goes to Bob Solem of BV GAYS. Thanks, bOB!

A new home, a new home garden

Some very good news: I will no longer have upstairs neighbors! They’re good people, but it’ll be nice not to have people coming in and out all hours of night and day.

The other good news: along with the new digs, we will have a huge garden! By city standards, having almost 1,000 square feet as a garden is huge. But such things are possible on the south side, and that’s exactly what we’ve got now.

Which leads me to my question… what should we call it? I’ve a few ideas, but you can add yours, too:

Second, because it’s going to be such a big space, I’m looking for some suckers GOOD PEOPLE, possibly you, who would be willing to lend some assistance in setting up and tending the beds. Plus, you’re entitled to plant and grow your own crops, and, naturally, take it harvest home with you when.

And if you’re interested in helping set up the yard-farm and grow some food, drop me a line: my email is haazah –> @ <– If you can figure out how to turn that into a usable email address (and not spam me), you’re a good candidate for the garden.


St. Francis meeting on Cardinal Stritch: So crowded, it’s cancelled!

The headlines blared: “Public hearing on rezoning of We Energies and Cousins Center parcels at 7pm in city of St. Francis City Hall, 4235 S. Nicholson Ave.”

A public hearing! Who could stay away? Would affected City of Milwaukee residents be able to testify? What would happen when St. Francis was asked exactly what was being asked of their little city?

Well, apparently I was not the only one who had some questions about this. For tonight, myself and at least a hundred people, if not more, tried to fit into the same space at St. Francis City Hall to testify.

As the Bay View Compass said, “The public hearing is for the public to testify on the proposed rezoning to a planned unit development (PUD) as proposed by Cardinal Stritch University for the 129-acre parcels the school hopes to acquire. This area, including a prairie that would be replaced by parking lots and sports fields in the preliminary Stritch plan, includes the east portion of and area buffering the Seminary Woods.”

[Disclosure: I work and write for the Bay View Compass.]

So, what happens when a record crowd turns out to testify? The line wraps around city hall on the cold winter night, and crowded outside the small hearing room on the second floor of the fire house…

And the meeting was cancelled.

I have to say, from a safety standpoint, I supported the decision. From a meeting management standpoint, I supported the decision. On no other grounds did I support the decision, but it seems a smart move. The woman whom I believe was St. Francis City Attorney Michele Ford told me that she did it because the people standing in the hallway couldn’t hear what was going on, which she said “was illegal.”

Now, I’m not an attorney, but I don’t think that’s illegal. It was good that they did it, as this issue will ceratinly require a much bigger room, such as an auditorium, to get everyone’s testimony. I hope that they’ll let us non-St. Francis residents testify, as the construction of a four-story parking garage and the accompanying daytime traffic will certainly have an impact on my neighborhood. There’s the apparently unforseen impacts on the St. Francis taxpayers. For instance, they won’t make a dime on property taxes from Cardinal Stritch. And they’ll certainly need more police, more utilities, more road work, and so on.

This is to speak nothing of the increased traffic, or the negligable effect this will have on the St. Francis economy. Yay, low-paying part-time teaching jobs! Maybe I will have something to do with my history degree after all.