Coordinated by resident Ann Knoedler, the seasonal rental fee is just $25. Ann describes the project’s origins:
The garden started in the summer of 2012 after Ald. Willie Hines gifted the Uptown Crossing Neighborhood Assn. the double lot at 2321-25 N. 45th to start a community garden. We worked under the guidance of the former Milwaukee Urban Gardens, now called Groundwork Milwaukee.
In 2013, we purchased 8 garden beds from Victory Garden Initiative to get started (we received a generous donation from someone to make that happen) and 8 gardeners started planting. We also purchased a cherry tree and hazel nut bushes from VGI. For the first several years we paid a fee to the city to use a fire hydrant across the street as our water source.
In 2012, a young man named Russell Setum, a neighbor of ours, was gunned down in front of his mother (Leona Setum) and did not survive. So, in 2013 we held a dedication ceremony naming the cherry tree “Russell’s Hope” in memory of the victim. His family participated, and Ald. Stamper had a plaque made for them in Russell’s memory.
Our garden is dedicated to peace and growth, with the hope of countering the violence in our streets.
Over the years since 2013, we have added new garden beds, attracted more gardeners, planted raspberry bushes, asparagus and a butterfly garden. A few years ago, Groundwork Milwaukee installed a rain collection system with a roof/gutters/downspouts draining the rain into two 300 gallon rain totes. This has made it much easier to water the garden and saved us the hydrant fee.
About 2 years ago, we collaborated with ArtWorks for Milwaukee. And that summer their interns that were working at Tricklebee Cafe created about 6 signs for our garden and installed them on the chain link fence.
In January 2021, Groundwork asked us if we would like to be one of several Groundwork gardens to take part in a “Health Hub” pilot program (in collaboration with the American Cancer Society). We said yes.
As a result, in spring of 2021, Groundwork repaired garden beds, installed 5 new garden beds, applied a layer of composted soil to existing garden beds, and built an onsite bulletin board. As a “Health Hub” site, Groundwork also provided onsite gardening classes from April to September, many free seedlings, and a couple of cooking demos by Chef Marvin.
We hope you’ll stop by!