Victory Garden Initiative

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The Victory Garden Initiative is a Milwaukee-based program based on creating communities with sustainable food sources, as well as promoting healthy lifestyles. The Initiative primarily focuses on food security, sustainability education, and the health of ecosystems; it carries out these goals through activities such as the Victory Garden Blitz, the Fruity Nutty Blitz, and their Urban Garden.

The logo of the Victory Garden Initiative

History

The Victory Garden Initiative was founded in 2008 by Gretchen Mead, who wanted to create sustainable, healthy food sources in the Milwaukee area. The Victory Garden Initiative first began doing work in the community in May 2009, when Mead and a group of friends installed 35 garden beds in the course of a single day, which became the first of the annual Victory Garden Blitz events. [1] The Victory Gardens are named as such as a reference to the Victory Gardens of WWI and WWII, which were civilian gardens built in yards and parks to grow their own food and allow more resources to be used for their respective war efforts. The Victory Garden Initiative claims to be fighting for food security, self-sufficient communities, and healthy ecosystems; and thus used the name for themselves. [2]

Activities

The Victory Garden Initiative primarily carries out its mission through community events, in which volunteers are encouraged to join and help the Initiative. The two best known of these events are the Victory Garden Blitz and the Fruity Nutty Blitz. The Victory Garden Blitz is a community project to install as many victory gardens as possible over the course of two weeks. In 2017, this Blitz led to the establishment of 514 gardens across Milwaukee, for a total of over 3500 gardens built. [3] The Fruity Nutty Blitz is an event where the Initiative will plant fruit and nut trees in residential and community spaces over the course of three days. [4]

In addition to their events, the Initiative also has several established bases that they run constantly, such as their Urban Garden and the Farmhouse. The Urban Garden is a former 1.5 acre lot in the Harambee area of Milwaukee, but now acts as a base for the Initiative to grow food for the citizens of Harambee neighborhood. The Farmhouse is the in-progress home of the Initiative in the Harambee area, which is currently in the early stages of renovation. [5]

Community Contributions

In their ten years of operation, the Victory Garden Initiative has contributed heavily to Milwaukee communities. In their 2016 report, the Initiative laid out some of these contributions, such as:

  • Over 3000 gardens installed
  • 7 orchards planted
  • 150+ people trained to grow their own food
  • 800+ annual volunteers [6]

References

  1. "Victory Garden Initiative executive director cultivates seeds of hope, freedom", Milwaukee Neighborhood News Program, March 2017, http://milwaukeenns.org/2017/03/13/victory-garden-initiative-executive-director-cultivates-seeds-of-hope-freedom/
  2. "Victory Garden Initiative Home", Victory Garden Initiative, accessed May 2018, https://victorygardeninitiative.org/
  3. "Victory Garden Blitz", Victory Garden Initiative, accessed May 2018, https://victorygardeninitiative.org/BLITZ
  4. "Fruity Nutty Blitz", Victory Garden Initiative, accessed May 2018, https://victorygardeninitiative.org/FruityNuttyBLITZ
  5. "Gather and Create", Victory Garden Initiative Blog, published March 2018, https://victorygardeninitiative.wordpress.com/
  6. "2016 Annual Report", Victory Garden Initiative, 2016, pg. 6, https://victorygardeninitiative.org/resources/Documents/2016%20Annual%20Report.pdf

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