By Eric Anderson
Community Events Coordinator
From May 13th – 27th Victory Garden Initiative was again able to build over 500 gardens throughout the Milwaukee Area! This was our 9th BLITZ, and the gardens built this year bring our total number of gardens built to over 3500. We may have had some rain, but it didn’t slow down our many volunteers who fanned out across the Milwaukee area to test out their shoveling skills.
This year, thanks to generous donations and sponsorship, we were able to subsidize more gardens than ever before. We built:
- 31 gardens in the Layton Boulevard West Neighborhood
- 21 in Clarke Square
- 37 within 53218
- 15 in the Washington Park Neighborhood
We we’re also able to subsidize other gardens throughout the city for organizations and individuals who needed some extra help. Many BLITZ gardens went to first-time gardeners, and plenty of the gardens went to gardeners who had ordered BLITZ gardens in the past and wanted to grow even more.
The BLITZ aims to engage residents from throughout the Milwaukee area and encourages everyone to grow their own food. Growing food in your own backyard (or front yard!) helps improve our city’s food system and brings us closer to an environmentally sustainable future. The gardens built and soil delivered this year will help connect people of all ages to the source of their fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
The BLITZ Numbers:
- 514 gardens built or yards of soil for gardens delivered (That’s at least 900,000 pounds of soil)
- More than 2100 hours or volunteer time donated during the BLITZ alone
- 19 volunteer groups donated their time
- Over 3000 packets of seeds delivered to gardeners
- 63 yards of soil moved in a single day (A BLITZ record!)
- 31 gardens at schools, 9 at churches, 33 for nonprofits, and 42 for community organizations
Many Thanks To:
The generous sponsorship of the Zilber Family Foundation, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Elm Grove Junior Guild, The Milwaukee Bucks, MGIC, Colectivo, Neighborhood Development Improvement Corporation, Marking Services Incorporated, Mandel Group, Johnson Controls, Bliffert Lumber and Hardware, We Energies, PKSD, and The Fill
Habitat for Humanity for allowing us to take over their space for 2 weeks and providing constant support
Case/CNH for allowing us to use their skid steer
Stein’s for all of the seeds we distributed to gardeners
Organic Valley for all of the great snacks
Blue Ribbon Organics and James Jutrzonka for providing our wonderful soil
The Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, and Housing Resources for letting us borrow their shovels, rakes, and wheelbarrows
Lakefront Brewery for the use of their trailer
MATC Students and Faculty for creating a recipe booklet to distribute to gardeners
Kelly Moore-Brands for guiding me through my first BLITZ
All of the other VGI staff for their tireless support
Jeff Leswing (Dirtman) for brightening our days and moving an incredible amount of soil
Willie Jacks for the snacks, motivation, and willingness to lead volunteers on FIVE garden-building routes in one day
Every other volunteer who made this BLITZ possible
The BLITZ is truly a community effort, and without the help of so many others this program could never have become what it is today.