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MILWAUKEE COMMUNITY GARDENS

Current Trends and Recommendations

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning

MILWAUKEE COMMUNITY GARDENS
Current Trends and Recommendations

Matthew B. Mikolajewski May 2002

ACKNOWLEGEMENTS
This report was made possible by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and through the support of the Wisconsin Food System Partnership and the Milwaukee Urban Food Systems Initiative. As an urban planning graduate student, the preparation of this report was extremely beneficial. I must acknowledge those individuals who significantly contributed to this report, and in turn, my education. Professor Welford Sanders, of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Department of Urban Planning, provided valuable input and assistance throughout all stages of this project and report. Through meetings and informal discussions, the following individuals provided a wealth of information about community gardening in Milwaukee and elsewhere: Mike Salinas, Milwaukee Urban Gardens Inc.; Dennis Lukaszewski, University of Wisconsin – Extension; Will Allen, Growing Power; Mark Weaver, U.S. Forest Service America’s Outdoors Program; Martin Bailkey, University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Landscape Architecture; Sharon Adams, Walnut Way Conservation Corps.; Tim Locke, Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee; Prof. Jerry Kaufman, University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Urban and Regional Planning; and the Milwaukee Community Gardening Coalition meeting attendees.

Matthew B. Mikolajewski, May 2002

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ….…………………….…………………………..… 1 THE GARDENS …..…………………………………………….…..… 3 Rental ……..………………………………………….……… 4 School ……..………………………………………………..… 5 Youth ………………………………………………………..… 5 Demonstration ………………………………………...……… 6 Accessible ...………………………………………………..… 6 Neighborhood …….……………………………………..…… 7 COMMUNITY GARDENING ORGANIZATIONS …….………...….. 8 Milwaukee Community Gardening Coalition ……..….…….. 9 Milwaukee Urban Gardens Inc. …………...………..….….… 9 University of Wisconsin – Extension ……………….…..…… 9 U.S. Forest Service ……………………………...……..……. 9 Growing Power ………………………………….….……...…. 10 Milwaukee Community Service Corp. …………...….….…. 10 Hunger Task Force ……………………………………..……. 10 City of Milwaukee ………………………………………..….. 11 Milwaukee County ………………………………………..….. 11 Community Based Organizations …………………………... 11 MAJOR ISSUES …………………………………….…..…………….. 12 Land Tenure ………………………...…………………..…..... 13 Zoning …………………………………..………………..……. 15 Planning ………………………………….……………………. 16 Location and Design …………………….…………………… 17 Maintenance ………………………………..………………….18 Organization ………………...………………………………… 19 Funding ……………………………………….……………….. 19 Government Cooperation ……………………………..……… 19 Public Education ………………..……………………………. 20

CASE STUDIES ……………………………………………….…….... 21 Seattle, Washington ……………………………….………….. 22 Portland, Oregon ………………………………………………23 San Francisco, California …………………………………….. 23 Boston, Massachusetts ……………………………………..…24 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ……………….……………….…. 25 Madison, Wisconsin ………………………..……………….… 26 RECOMMENDATIONS …………..………………………………….... 27 Community Gardening Organizations …………………….… 28 City of Milwaukee ……………………………………………... 30 Milwaukee County …………………………………………….. 31 University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee …………………….…. 31 CONCLUSION ……………………………………………………….… 32 REFERENCES …………………………………………………….…... 33 APPENDIX A: COMMUNITY GARDEN CONTACTS ……….…..… 29 APPENDIX B: COMMUNITY GARDEN MAPS ……………………..38

LIST OF FIGURES
Cover: 5th Street and Mineral Street Figure 1: 3rd Street & Bruce Street - rental garden ……………….. 4 Figure 2: 23r d Street & Ramsey Street - Victory School garden …. 5 Figure 3: Demonstration garden …………………………………..… 6 Figure 4: Garden Park - neighborhood garden …………….……… 7 Source: www.ouropenspaces.org Figure 5: Garden Park Farmers Market …………………………..… 7 Figure 6: Garden Park ………………………………………………… 7 Figure 7: 5th Street & Mineral Street - rental garden ……………..… 14 Figure 8: Seattle P-Patch Garden………………………………….… 22 Source: www.cityofseattle.net Figure 9: Village of Arts and Humanities - Philadelphia …………… 25 Source: www.villagearts.org Figure 10: Troy Gardens Plan - Madison …………………………… 26 Source: http://designcoalition.org Figure 11: 5 Street & Roger Street – rental garden …………….… 31
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Unless otherwise noted, photographs are from the author’s collection.

INTRODUCTION
Milwaukee County is home to dozens of community gardens, serving a diverse set of individuals and needs. For some, community gardening is a hobby. Community gardening enables others on a limited food budget the ability to supplement their diet with fresh produce. Community gardens provide open, green space within dense urban neighborhoods, and teach area youth about the environment, while giving the elderly a chance to stay active. Community gardens within Milwaukee can be broadly described as rental, school, youth, demonstration, accessible, or neighborhood. Numerous organizations commit time, talent, and financial resources towards the maintenance and promotion of community gardens throughout Milwaukee County. These organizations include the Milwaukee Community Garden Coalition, Milwaukee Urban Gardens Inc., the University of Wisconsin – Extension (Milwaukee County), and Growing Power. Although Milwaukee has a strong base of community gardens, there are some improvements that can and should be made. Community gardens are currently protected by local zoning ordinances and plans on a very limited basis. As such, the land tenure of garden sites, frequently on publicly owned parcels, is often precarious. In a similar manner, local government officials have not fully recognized the value o f community gardens as a way to improve and maintain residential neighborhoods. Although most gardens are well managed, and provide an aesthetic improvement to their surrounding neighborhoods, the ability of community garden organizations to provide the funding and human capital required to fully maintain and expand gardens is a source of concern. All of these issues can be resolved, and have been resolved elsewhere in the country. With renewed vigilance on the part of community gardeners, and increased support from government officials, community gardening can remain an important and valuable land use within Milwaukee. This report describes the current status of community gardening in Milwaukee County. First, a description of the types of community gardens is presented. This is followed by a discussion about organizations that are currently involved with gardening throughout Milwaukee. Next, some of the major issues facing gardens are examined.

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This is followed by a series of case studies to show how many of the issues facing Milwaukee’s community gardens are being addressed elsewhere. Finally, a series of recommendations for how Milwaukee’s community gardens can be improved is presented. This report is written primarily for three groups of individuals. First, there are the gardeners, who create, maintain, and preserve community gardens within Milwaukee. This report summarizes what these individuals already know, while providing suggestions on how community gardening can be improved. The second target audience includes civic leaders and municipal employees who have influence over the presence of community gardens throughout the Milwaukee metro region. This report encourages these individuals to view community gardening as a legitimate land use, worthy of further protection and promotion. County residents are the third group. This report provides a summary for those individuals who would like to become more involved with gardening in the Milwaukee area.

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THE GARDENS
Community gardens can be found at several dozen locations throughout Milwaukee County (Appendix B). These locations can be broadly described as rental, school, youth, demonstration, accessible, or neighborhood gardens. Some locations are a combination of these garden types.

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Rental Gardens
Rental gardens are locations where people can rent garden plots for their personal use. University of Wisconsin – Extension (Milwaukee County) maintains over 1500 rental garden plots at thirteen locations throughout the county. Extension employees prepare the locations for planting, provide water, and give technical advice to gardeners. A 400 square foot garden plot rents for $15.00 a season, and a 900 square foot plot rents for $25.00. Typically, these garden plots have 85% occupancy with an annual turnover rate of about 20%. Over half of Extension garden locations are over ten years old. Extension rental gardens vary in size, form, and ownership status. With over 800 garden plots, the Milwaukee County Grounds (City of Wauwatosa) community garden is the largest maintained by Extension. At the other end of the extreme, Extension’s 3rd Street & Bruce Street location contains only ten plots, and is nestled within a single lot owned by the City of Milwaukee. Most Extension rental garden sites have 20-30 plots on parcels owned by the City of Milwaukee. Although vegetables are most commonly grown at rental garden locations, one will also find annual and perennial flowers. Extension rental garden locations attract people from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. Generally, renters at the County Grounds are individuals who travel from outside the immediate area to garden. Those gardeners within the smaller, neighborhood gardens are mostly local residents.

Figure 1: 3rd Street & Bruce Street

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School Gardens
School gardens help to enrich the curriculum at seven local public and private schools. School administrators and teachers generally maintain these locations. As they are intended to help teachers assist with their environmental and natural science classes, these gardens contain all sorts of vegetables and flowers, and are used for a variety of different activities. School gardens, such as the one located at Victory School (23rd Street & Ramsey Street), can greatly improve the appearance of the campus and surrounding neighborhood. This garden includes a pathway and benches to be enjoyed by all residents in the area.

Figure 2: 23rd Street & Ramsey Street

Youth Gardens
Youth gardens, found at four locations throughout Milwaukee, provide area children with educational and community building activities. Unlike school gardens, youth gardens are not operated by the staff of a specific school. For example, Lynden Hill (23rd Street & McKinley Boulevard) is a three acre youth environmental education garden developed in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service’s America’s Outdoors program and the Milwaukee Public School District.

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Demonstration Gardens
Demonstration gardens, found at four locations, educate the public about the importance of urban agriculture, while providing gardeners with valuable information. An excellent example can be found at Growing Power (55th Street & Silver Spring Drive). Growing Power staff provide formal and informal training sessions for people interested in learning how to maximize the benefits of their garden plots.

Figure 3: Demonstration Garden

Accessible Gardens
Accessible gardens provide space for gardeners with special needs at four locations throughout Milwaukee County. These garden plots are often in the form of raised beds that allow individuals with wheel chairs a walkers to garden. These nd community gardens are available at public locations, such as Grant Park (City of South Milwaukee), and private facilities, such as the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care (City of St. Francis).

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Neighborhood Gardens
Neighborhood gardens provide valuable green space within urban

neighborhoods at sixteen locations throughout the county.

These gardens are

maintained by a variety of individuals and organizations. Garden Park (Bremen Street & Locust Street) was a vacant lot that has been transformed into an attractive corner along a busy city thoroughfare. Complete with public art and benches, Garden Park provides a green oasis for residents of the surrounding Riverwest neighborhood.

Figure 4: Garden Park Source: www.ouropenspaces.org

Figure 5: Garden Park Farmers Market

Figure 6: Garden Park

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COMMUNITY GARDENING ORGANIZATIONS
Metro Milwaukee residents and civic leaders are fortunate to have numerous organizations committed to fostering community gardens. Through time, talent, and financial resources, the individuals within these organizations have sought to promote, maintain, and expand gardens throughout Milwaukee County. organizations are described next. Some of these

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Milwaukee Community Gardening Coalition
The Milwaukee Community Gardening Coalition (MCGC) serves as a semiformal network of concerned citizens and professionals. Through monthly meetings, coalition members seek to promote the “long-term protection and sustenance of community gardens” in addition to providing “training, education, support and resources to groups interested in establishing community gardens and other neighborhood-scale green spaces” throughout Milwaukee County (MCGC 2000). Many members of the additional organizations listed below are in regular attendance at MCGC meetings. As such, the coalition serves as a centralized institution for supporting community gardening within Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Urban Gardens Inc.
This new non-profit organization has created a land trust for the purpose of purchasing and developing land for community gardens. Milwaukee Urban Gardens Inc. provides education, design guidance, and some maintenance assistance to groups of individuals interested in gardening the sites that they obtain.

University of Wisconsin – Extension
The Extension’s Urban Agriculture Program coordinates several gardening activities in the region. These include the Accessible Garden Program, Project SEEDS (School Environmental Education Demonstration Sites), Project FEEDS (Food and Ecosystem Educational Demonstration Sites), and rental garden plots. Extension staff provide gardening information and assistance to the public.

U.S. Forest Service
The America’s Outdoors program, of the U.S. Forest Service, promotes the creation and protection of public open spaces, including community gardens, throughout Milwaukee. Although the Forest Service does not maintain direct control over these

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public spaces, the agency acts as a link between federal programs and local open space efforts. The America’s Outdoors program provides environmental education for central city youth.

Growing Power
This not-for-profit organization is involved in a number of urban food system activities, including education, growing, processing, and retailing. Growing Power maintains its own greenhouses, demonstration gardens, and retail establishment within the City of Milwaukee. Growing Power hosts urban agriculture workshops and educates school children about food system issues. Growing Power actively supports youth entrepreneurial activities by aiding students in aquaculture (fish farming) and vermiculture (the production of compost from worm castings). Students learn valuable environmental and economic lessons, while earning money at the same time.

Milwaukee Community Service Corp.
In addition to its numerous landscaping projects throughout the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Community Service Corp. helps to maintain several community gardens.

Hunger Task Force
Hunger Task Force supports the use of community gardens as a way of combating food scarcity problems within the city. available. Although they currently do not maintain any community gardens, they may be willing to do so as resources become

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City of Milwaukee
The City of Milwaukee provides short-term leases for individuals who would like to garden on city-owned vacant lots. In general, the city does not view gardens as permanent, and the sites are often developed into other uses when such opportunities become available. Along with city administrators, the local Alderpersons play a crucial role in the presence and permanence of community gardens within their districts. If an Alderperson does not support a garden within their district, it stands less of a chance of remaining a permanent fixture within that neighborhood.

Milwaukee County
For decades, rental garden plots have been located within the County Grounds (City of Wauwatosa). In recent years, the county has sold a substantial amount of its land holdings to private entities, removing garden plots. Although the county appears to be willing to work with gardeners to relocate their plots, permanence of community gardens on county land remains somewhat uncertain.

Community Based Organizations
Numerous community-based organizations exist throughout the Milwaukee area. Many of these groups have the financial, personnel, and organizational structure available to maintain a community garden. Each of these organizations would benefit from community building activities associated with gardening. These organizations should be included in the creation and maintenance of gardens throughout Milwaukee. For example, the Walnut Way Conservation Corps. is using several community gardens for community building and fundraising activities. Likewise, Garden Park serves as a centerpiece for Riverwest neighborhood organizations. Ultimately, it is the residents of Milwaukee who will determine whether or not community gardens are considered a legitimate land use that should be located within their neighborhoods. Likewise, Milwaukeeans will be the ones who are most benefited by the presence of gardens within their community.

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MAJOR ISSUES
A literature review and consultations with the organizations highlighted above revealed the following issues that should be addressed at this time.

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Land Tenure
Most community gardens are located on vacant, city-owned lots or county-owned land. As alternative uses for the land arise, the gardens are often removed.
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For

example, the proposal to construct a new Super K-mart (20 Street & Garfield Avenue) may necessitate the removal of a large rental and youth garden. Although this retail establishment will greatly benefit the residents and economy of the surrounding neighborhood, one must recognize that the store might be built at the expense of community gardeners. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of community gardens removed to fulfill similar development purposes. operated in 1997. The relationship between community gardening and vacant parcels owned by the City of Milwaukee must be further scrutinized. The city has assumed ownership of hundreds of vacant parcels, and the number continues to grow. foreseeable future. One reason developers shy away from these parcels is because they are located within central city neighborhoods that are not considered attractive for new commercial or residential development. The presence of community gardens, and other positive amenities, could make these neighborhoods more attractive to new investment. The City of Milwaukee must recognize the intrinsic value of community gardens, and their role in neighborhood redevelopment activities. Ironically, the ability of community gardens to improve neighborhoods can lead to their own demise. Efforts must be taken to ensure that community gardens are preserved in the face of potential development pressure. In other words, civic leaders could use community gardens to help improve neighborhoods, recognizing that they must be protected once the neighborhood has been rehabilitated. The importance of protecting community gardens does not apply to only central city neighborhoods, but to all locations throughout the county. County and other municipal officials must recognize that community gardens located within more stable and economically healthy neighborhoods can help ensure that communities stay that way. Although the city actively attempts to redevelop these sites, many are and will not be developed in the University of Wisconsin – Extension has lost about half of the nearly 3000 rental garden plots it

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One may argue that community gardeners can simply move to another vacant parcel once a proposal is submitted for a site that already contains a garden. Unfortunately, this policy is a great waste of resources. It takes countless people hours, hundreds of dollars of supplies, and years for urban soil to be cultivated into fertile ground. In addition, the fences, paths, and sitting areas that often accompany gardens are often wasted once a garden is removed. Every effort must be taken to ensure that actively used, fertile garden plots are preserved and maintained. Land tenure is a major priority among community gardeners within Milwaukee. In addition to strengthening the preservation of gardens on underutilized county land and vacant city parcels, additional alternatives for finding garden space must be explored. These options may include the outright purchase of land by gardening groups or the use of existing public open space, such as school sites, to create gardens. For example, within Seattle, Washington, community gardens are located on city-owned parkland (Seattle’s Park and Recreation Plan 2000). Likewise, Milwaukee Urban Gardens is currently purchasing land for garden purposes. The positive and negative aspects of each of these alternatives within Milwaukee must be continually explored.

Figure 7: Decorated fence at 5th Street & Mineral Street

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Zoning
Directly related to the notion of land tenure is zoning. Currently, the City of Milwaukee does not have zoning provisions that exclusively allow for, or protect, community gardens. As a result, community gardens are often on sites zoned for other uses, such as residential or commercial. protect the elimination of their sites. In other communities, such as Portland, Oregon, community gardening has already been written into the city’s zoning ordinance. The Portland zoning code defines park and open areas as: “uses of land focusing on natural areas, large areas consisting mostly of vegetative landscaping or outdoor recreation, community gardens, or public squares” (City of Portland, 33.920.460) When development proposals that are consistent with the underlying zoning of a site evolve, gardeners have little recourse to

The ordinance goes further to specify that with special limitations, community gardens are allowed within all residential, commercial, and open space zones of the city. In fact: “uses in the Park and Open Areas category are allowed by right” (City of Portland, 33.100.100, 33.110.100, 33.120.100, 33.130.100). It is interesting to note the manner in which community gardening has been written into this ordinance. The code states that gardens are a permissible use within each of the larger, primary use districts. As such, gardeners do not need to make a special effort to have the zoning changed to protect their land. In the future, if gardeners were to decide that they no longer wish to garden a particular site, the parcel could be converted to the primary zoned use without any zoning change. This ordinance provides both land security and flexibility. Similar language should be incorporated into the City of Milwaukee zoning ordinance.

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Planning Comprehensive and neighborhood plans often include provisions for public open space, generally in the form of parks and playgrounds, not gardens. One exception to this practice is the comprehensive plan for Seattle, Washington (Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Friends of P-Patch 2000). The open space network portion of this plan supports: “uses such as strolling, sitting, viewing, picnicking, public gathering, and community gardening” (Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan – Land Use Element, Goal 71) The plan goes into further detail and specifies: “one dedicated community garden for each 2,500 households” (Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan – Land Use Element, Urban Village Open Space and Recreation Facility Goals) Seattle’s comprehensive plan also includes suggestions as to who should increase community gardening within the city, and where the gardens should be located. The plan seeks to: “promote inter-agency and intergovernmental cooperation to expand community gardening opportunities, and include P-Patch community gardening among priorities for use of City surplus property” (Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan – Land Use Element, Policy 152). There are a couple of important issues to note when reviewing Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan. First, it indicates desired locations to be used as community gardens. These include surplus, presumably vacant, city land and parks. Furthermore, the plan outlines the city agencies that should be responsible for developing new community gardens. Finally, the comprehensive plan even specifies the number (one for every 2500 households) of gardens that are desired within the city. Similar, detailed language should be a part of plans for Milwaukee. The inclusion of urban gardens in community plans is especially important in light of recent Wisconsin Smart Growth legislation. This new legislation requires that every municipality in the

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state must prepare and adopt a comprehensive plan by 2010, and their zoning ordinance must be consistent with this plan. The City of Milwaukee is just beginning their comprehensive planning process. As such, this is an opportune time to have community gardens placed within the city’s planning agenda. Furthermore, the inclusion of gardens within these plans should qualify this use for community block grant funding.

Location and Design
Some object to community gardens because they are not always maintained in the most aesthetically pleasing manner. Naturally, this does not have to be the case. Community gardens can be very attractive public open spaces. A couple of texts have highlighted what needs to be considered when making decisions about the location and layout of a garden site (Naimark 1982, Sommers 1984). Many of the ideas presented in these texts are reflected in a set of site assessment guidelines that have been developed by Milwaukee Urban Gardens. The issues considered by Milwaukee Urban Gardens when choosing a location for a new garden include soil, light, drainage, water, distance to major streets, views, slope, site layout, neighboring buildings and uses, and accessibility (Milwaukee Urban Gardens 2001a). Likewise, when choosing a site, Milwaukee Urban Gardens looks to the surrounding neighborhood to determine whether or not a community garden is included in any neighborhood plans, neighborhood demographics, amount of public open space already within the neighborhood, and the proximity of existing community gardens to the proposed location (Milwaukee Urban Gardens 2001a). When taken nto thoughtful i consideration, all of these ideas will help one chose an appropriate site for a community garden. This is the first critical step in developing an effective garden design. Once a suitable site is located, one must develop an appropriate landscape plan in order to create an aesthetically pleasing environment within. Milwaukee Urban Gardens has developed a set of guidelines that it uses when developing a landscape plan for its gardens. These include providing raised garden beds, mulched pathways, attractive fencing, well-designed compost bins, sitting and socializing areas, children’s play areas, garden sheds, public art, and lighting (Milwaukee Urban Gardens 2001b). Finally, special attention must be given to the perimeter of the garden. Vegetable gardens may not always appear attractive, especially during the winter months.

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Decorative fencing, combined with colorful flowers, vines, and shrubs can be used to define the edge of the garden, and partially screen undesirable aspects from adjacent streets and neighbors. The purpose is not to block the garden from the street. This could create an unsafe environment for gardeners, and will not create the welcome feeling that gardens are intended to provide. Rather, the perimeter acts as a transition between the built-up neighborhood and the urban agriculture taking place within. The use of a professional landscape architect to develop a landscape plan for a community garden is ideal; however, if one cannot afford the technical assistance, he or she can take the landscape elements discussed here into consideration on his or her own to develop a well-designed community garden. Furthermore, students at the Likewise, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Landscape Architecture, may be willing to design Milwaukee community gardens as part of their course work. practicing landscape architects may be willing to provide some pro-bono design guidance to organizations within their own neighborhoods and the surrounding community. Design resources such as these should be explored as one begins to plan a community garden.

Maintenance
Even if a successful design is implemented at a garden site, the garden will require continued maintenance to keep it aesthetically pleasing and functional. Garden maintenance requires time and financial resources. Several organizations, including the Milwaukee Community Service Corps., University of Wisconsin – Extension, Growing Power, and gardeners currently provide garden maintenance. No new community garden should be developed unless thorough attention is given to a maintenance plan for the site. This plan should include information about the individuals and organizations responsible for various maintenance tasks, when the different maintenance tasks should occur, who will pay for necessary maintenance, and what will happen if individuals or organizations do not fulfill their maintenance requirements. If community gardens are to be considered a legitimate land use in the eyes of local officials, they must follow a set of maintenance standards, just like other land uses.

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Organization
As indicated earlier in this paper, there are a variety of different organizations working to promote and maintain community gardens throughout the area. Often, the activities of one organization may overlap the activities of another, leading to some inefficiency of community resources. The Milwaukee Community Gardening Coalition (MCGC) is working to create more organization among Milwaukee’s gardening community.

Funding
Garden acquisition, development, and maintenance require funding. Are

gardeners within Milwaukee currently making full use of all the sources of funding that are available to them, including public and private contacts? One potential source of funding that should be explored in greater detail is the sale of produce and value added products from community gardens. Not only could this help to offset the operating costs of community gardens, but it could also provide valuable lessons about entrepreneurial activities, especially to young people. Special attention must be given to maintenance related funding. Although one may be able to acquire land with relatively little cost, either through leasing from the city or county, or from gifts made by private landowners, the funds required for long-term maintenance may not be as easily acquired. Every community garden within Milwaukee should have a funding plan, highlighting operating and capital improvement costs, and funding sources.

Government Cooperation
Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee should do more to encourage community gardening. Community gardens do not generate property tax revenue. In this time of tight budgets, county and city officials want to do all they can to increase their tax bases. Tax-exempt community gardens may be viewed as an obstacle to meeting this goal. On the contrary, the opposite might be true. As already indicated,

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when residents and businesses move to a county, city, or neighborhood, they are often in search of amenities outside the boundary of their parcel. Similar to parks, museums, and festivals, thriving community gardens are a positive amenity that should be actively supported and used by government officials to attract the business and residential development that they would like to see. Furthermore, community gardens can help municipal officials cope with some of the social issues that they are faced with. Community gardens provide low-income residents with a way to supplement their diets with relatively low cost food. Gardeners who don’t use all of their vegetables can help low income families by donating some of their community garden produce to the “Harvest for the Hungry” program sponsored by Second Harvest of Wisconsin. Thus, community gardens help to limit the amount of food related assistance that local government must provide through food stamps and other means. The reduction in social program costs, and the ability for families to provide for themselves, helps to make-up for a loss in property tax revenue that garden plots would have otherwise had.

Public Education
The long-term success of community gardens will largely depend on support from local residents. If a couple of vocal individuals express their disapproval over a garden, they can spell disaster for its permanence. Further education efforts must take place to help ensure that the residents of Milwaukee understand the importance of community gardens and the benefits for their neighborhoods. For example, University of Wisconsin – Extension provides staff dedicated to gardening education. Likewise, Growing Power hosts weekend conferences, and other educational sessions for the purpose of educating the public about the numerous aspects of urban agriculture.

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CASE STUDIES
Community gardening is not a new concept. Successful urban agriculture

activities have always been taking place within our cities. Some ideas about how to address the issues facing Milwaukee’s gardens can be found when studying gardening projects in other communities. Descriptions of urban agriculture activities throughout the United States are presented next. Each approach is slightly different, and thus, can provide a variety of examples of what Milwaukeeans can do to improve community gardening within their city.

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Seattle, Washington
Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods maintains a community gardening program referred to as P-Patch. City P-Patch program staff work with the non-profit Friends of P-Patch organization to maintain 39 community garden locations that are used by 1,400 Seattle households. The gardens are located on land owned by the city, county, Friends of P-Patch, and private interests. Maintenance of the gardens is the responsibility of the gardeners themselves. Under the direction of P -Patch program staff, gardeners are required to donate eight hours of their time annually for garden maintenance. As already mentioned, provisions for community gardening can be found within Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan. Furthermore, the mayor and common council have publicly supported community gardening and the use of city-owned land for such purposes. The fact that gardeners give over eight tons of their produce to Seattle food pantries underscores importance and value of community gardens within the city. (Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Friends of P-Patch 2000)

Figure 8: Seattle P-Patch Garden Source: www.cityofseattle.net

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Portland, Oregon
Through its Parks and Recreation Department, city staff work with residents and non-profit organizations to maintain 23 community garden locations throughout the city. Some of Portland’s gardens are located within parks, others are on public sites, such as schools, with the remaining sites found on privately owned land, such as churches (Portland Parks & Recreation 2001). As already indicated, Portland’s zoning ordinance supports community gardens as a legitimate land use. Thus, they are afforded more protection from development pressures than found in many communities. It is important to note the similarities between Seattle and Portland. In both situations, the cities devote staff members to community gardening. Within the two cities, the staff members receive significant support from non-profit organizations and volunteers. Finally, both communities legitimize community gardening through resolutions from their mayors, common councils, land use plans, or zoning ordinance. These three factors combined appear to be the driving force behind the success of community gardens within both of these cities.

San Francisco, California
The San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners (SLUG) is a non-profit organization that oversees the creation and maintenance of community gardens throughout the city. Founded in 1983, the organization now has 24 staff members, including landscape architects. In addition to community gardens, SLUG staff stresses the importance of personal development. To that end they provide job training and education, especially for young people, through their maintenance crews and other programs. One of these other programs is Urban Herbals, which markets jams and vinegars made of produce from the community gardens and other local farmers. In addition to providing a locally grown product, Urban Herbals serves to provide valuable small business related education to individuals who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to receive such training. 2000) In the future, SLUG plans to expand its entrepreneurial activities to include the sale of compost, mulch, and potting soil. (SLUG

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Boston, Massachusetts
Community gardening has played a role in the redevelopment efforts of the Roxbury neighborhood. In 1984, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) was formed by local residents to address the many urban ills that plagued this part of Boston. DSNI is governed by a board of directors consisting of residents who are elected by their peers. One major way that DSNI differs from other non-profit agencies is that the city of Boston gave DSNI eminent domain power (Meyer 2000). If community gardens are considered a desirable land use, then powers, such as eminent domain, can be used by this resident driven organization to acquire land that can be used for gardening. Urban agriculture and community gardening are significant aspects of the community building efforts found within this neighborhood. DSNI currently oversees 13 community gardens. In addition, with the assistance of the non-profit Food Project, neighborhood youth grow and sell their own produce at a local farmers market. They earn money and valuable job skills in the process (Meyer 2000). Through the use of funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Highway Department, a community greenhouse will be constructed by the end of this year (DSNI 1997, Settles 2002). One way in which DSNI’s gardening activities differs from community gardens elsewhere is that they are using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to map soil contamination and nutrient levels throughout the neighborhood. This will help DSNI plan for future expansion of community gardens and other urban agriculture initiatives (DSNI 1997). Like San Francisco, Dudley Street has a very strong non-profit organization, with full time staff members who serve as the catalyst for gardening. Furthermore, especially in the case of Dudley Street, the local government enabled the non-profits to carryout their desired goals.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Through its Philadelphia Green Program, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has promoted community gardening, along with other greening projects, throughout Philadelphia since 1974. One interesting aspect of the gardens within Philadelphia is the level of attention given to design and garden aesthetics. Faculty and students of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Landscape Architecture work with Philadelphia Green staff to create landscape plans for many of the gardens. As such, within these gardens one will find such design elements as fences, walls, gates, formal paths, signs, tables, and benches. Providing a gathering space for gardeners and improving the visual appearance of the neighborhood is just as important as growing produce within these gardens. In at least one instance, the city paid for some of the landscape improvements. Pennsylvania 1997) Along with the Philadelphia Green Program, part of central city Philadelphia is being transformed with the Village of Arts and Humanities. The Village was the inspiration of a local artist by the name of Lily Yeh. In 1986, Ms. Yeh began to convert a vacant lot into a park. Since that time, the program has expanded to include numerous parks, community gardens, and youth and adult education programs. The primary focus of the Village is to improve the neighborhood, and people’s lives through the use of art. All of the gardens and parks contain sculptures and murals produced by local residents. Not only does artwork improve the appearance of gardens and neighborhoods located within the Village, but it also serves as a creative outlet for individuals living within a lowincome community. (Village of Arts and Humanities 2001, Yeh 2001) (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society 2000, University of

Figure 9: Village of Arts and Humanities Source: www.villagearts.org

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Madison, Wisconsin
The rapidly growing city of Madison has taken steps to ensure the presence of gardens in this community for years to come. Since 1990, community gardens have been supported by several common council resolutions and land use plans. In 1997, the city formed an advisory committee on community gardens. This committee published a report in 1999 that outlines the current condition of gardens within the city and ways in which community gardening can be further promoted and expanded. Today, there are 24 gardening sites throughout the city that are largely managed by non-profit organizations. The location of the gardens is evenly divided between public and private land. (Herbach 1998, City of Madison Advisory Committee on Community Gardens 1999) Troy Gardens illustrates the success of Madison’s community gardens. For several decades, this garden has been located on a piece of land, owned by the State of Wisconsin, on the north side of Madison. Nearly 400 people benefit from vegetables grown within the garden. In 1995, the State of Wisconsin decided to sell the land. Fearing the elimination of their garden plots, local gardeners, land trusts, and community organizations banded together in an effort to preserve the land for open space uses. The land will soon be sold to the Madison Area Community Land Trust. Five acres will be developed by the trust for co-housing, leaving 26 acres to be used for community gardens, community supported agriculture, and other open space uses. (Troy Gardens 2001)

Figure 10: Troy Gardens Plan Source: http://designcoalition.org

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RECOMMENDATIONS
A review of the major issues facing Milwaukee Community Gardens, combined with information from case studies of gardens from elsewhere in the country, has revealed that steps can and should be taken to improve Milwaukee’s gardens. The following is a list of recommendations for community gardening organizations, the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

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Community Gardening Organizations
• Rally behind a non-profit organization, such as Milwaukee Urban Gardens Inc. The Milwaukee Community Gardening Coalition serves as an excellent platform for community gardening organizations; however, a non-profit organization has greater fundraising ability, and provides more accountability to local governments. •

Continue to lobby municipal and county elected officials and staff about the importance of community gardens within Milwaukee, and the need for their protection.

Improve the appearance of community gardens.

Community gardens must

always aesthetically improve their neighborhood. If they are not maintained, residents, municipal staff, and elected officials will view community gardens as a blighting influence. • Develop a maintenance plan for all gardens, to include a discussion about who is responsible for maintenance of the garden, what must be accomplished, and where necessary funding will be obtained. A maintenance plan may provide neighbors, municipal staff, and elected officials with greater peace of mind regarding the appearance of a potential or existing garden. • Require that individual gardeners play a greater role in maintaining and improving their gardens. Although the community gardening organizations do an excellent job of providing maintenance for gardens, they can and should not bare all of the responsibility. •

Give greater attention to the quality, rather than the quantity, of community garden plots. Although the recent decline in community garden plots is alarming, greater energy should be given to the improvement of existing gardens to help

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ensure that they remain, as compared to spending more time developing additional garden sites. •

Incorporate more amenities, such as benches and artistic elements, within community gardens. Even on leased sites, the willingness of a community gardening organization to show a greater level of dedication to a parcel may help to promote the garden’s permanence.

Expand the role and impacts of community gardens within Milwaukee. Community gardening organizations must continue to support produce donations to food pantries, and other activities that provide benefit to the surrounding community.

Market and sell produce and refined products from Milwaukee’s community gardens. The economic and educational value of entrepreneurial activity is yet another potential benefit of community gardens.

Explore additional funding options, including foundations and Community Development Block Grants. Additional funding will allow community gardening organizations to expand community gardening, while making the aesthetic improvements necessary to ensure that they remain a permanent fixture within the community.

Catalogue and maintain more information about individual gardens. The positive impacts that community gardens provide for surrounding neighborhoods must be recorded.

Increase promotion and advertisement of community gardens throughout Milwaukee County. For community gardening to be expanded, it must be viewed as a more mainstream activity.

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Develop a community garden plan for Milwaukee. How many community garden plots does Milwaukee need, where should they be located, what form should they take, and who should be responsible for their maintenance? This plan should provide community garden organizations with some leverage when working with local governments because it will illustrate that gardens can be viewed in the same manner as other planned amenities, such as parks.

City of Milwaukee
• City staff and elected officials must recognize the positive role that community gardens play in maintaining and redeveloping Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. Community gardens provide resident-driven open space, recreation, and food at a relatively low cost to the city. • The Milwaukee Common Council should adopt a resolution in support of community gardens as a legitimate land use within the city, and a very appropriate use for city-owned properties. •

The Milwaukee Common Council should adopt an amendment to the zoning ordinance that explicitly defines and permits community gardens within all residential and open space districts, along with some commercial districts.

When appropriate, the city should require that a community gardens element is included in neighborhood plans. legislation mandates. The city should also address community gardens in the comprehensive planning process that Wisconsin’s Smart Growth

The city should provide longer leases for community gardens on city-owned parcels. A longer time frame, such as ten years, would enable community gardening organizations to make additional improvements to their garden sites without fear of losing the space after only one or two seasons.

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Milwaukee County
• The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors should adopt a resolution in support of community gardens as a legitimate land use for the County Grounds, and the County Parks.

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
• The Department of Urban Planning should promote the legitimacy of community gardens, and provide continued planning support to the Milwaukee community gardening organizations. Many of the recommendations outlined above would make excellent projects for various urban planning courses. •

Through “The Milwaukee Idea Program”, the Department of Urban Planning and/or other UWM departments should form partnerships with community gardening organizations.

Figure 11: 5th Street & Roger Street

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CONCLUSION
The residents of Milwaukee are very fortunate to have a strong system of community gardens; however, more needs to be done to ensure that urban agriculture remains an important element of the local landscape for decades to come. Community garden organizations and local governments must work more closely together to promote the idea of gardening as a legitimate, highly desirable land use. Community garden organizations must do their part to show that urban agriculture can be an attractive way of maintaining and improving neighborhoods within Milwaukee. Community gardens are not simply used to cultivate vegetables. Rather, they grow community, while improving people’s lives. Local governments also play a crucial role in ensuring the presence of gardens. First and foremost, local governments must recognize that community gardens are a legitimate land use. Municipal governments have long recognized the importance of public parks. Community gardens provide many of the same social benefits, along with one of our most basic needs – food. With increased support and cooperation, community gardening will continue to benefit Milwaukee residents for decades to come.

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REFERENCES
City of Madison Advisory Committee on Community Gardens. 1999. “Growing a stronger community with community gardens: an action plan for Madison.” Madison, Wisconsin. Code of the City of Portland, Oregon. 2000. http://ordlink.com/codes/portland, March 4, 2001. Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. 1997. “DSNI’s proposed urban agriculture program.” http://www.dsni.org/Urban%20Agriculture/urban_ag_program.htm, January 10, 2001. “Fertile Ground: Planning for the Madison / Dane County Food System.” 1997. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Herbach, Geoff. 1998. “Harvesting the city: community gardening in greater Madison, Wisconsin.” http://www.cityfarmer.org/madison.html, November 19, 2000. Jill Florence Lackey & Associates. 1998. “Evaluation of Community Gardens.” Study completed in cooperation with University of Wisconsin – Extension. Kaufman, Jerry and Martin Bailkey. 2000. “Farming Inside Cities: Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture in the United States.” Working paper. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Meyer, Diana A., et al. 2000. “Dudley street neighborhood initiative.” In On the ground with comprehensive community initiatives. Columbia, Maryland: The Enterprise Foundation. Milwaukee Community Garden Coalition (MCGC). 2000. Draft memorandum of understanding, November 24. Milwaukee Urban Gardens. 2001a. “Assessment guidelines for urban community garden development.” Milwaukee Urban Gardens. 2001b. “Landscape design considerations for urban community gardens.” Naimark, Susan, ed. 1982. Handbook of community gardening. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. 2000. “Philadelphia Green Program.” http://www.libertynet.org/phs/pg/pg_home.html, January 11, 2001.

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Portland Parks & Recreation. 2001. “Portland community gardens.” http://www.parks.ci.portland.or.us/Parks/CommunityGardens.htm, January 10, 2001. Pothukuchi, Kameshwari and Jerome L. Kaufman. 2000. “The food system: a stranger to the planning field.” Journal of the American Planning Association, 66 (2). www.cityfarmer.org/foodplan.html, October 15, 2000. Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Friends of P-Patch. 2000. Draft “P Patch program five-year plan.” http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/don/ppatch/, January 10, 2001. Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan. 1996. http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/planning/CompPlan, March 4, 2001. Seattle’s Park and Recreation Plan. 2000. http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us, March 4,2001. Settles, Trish. 2002. Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. Personal email correspondence, April 1, 2002. SLUG. 2000. Various promotional materials provided by SLUG. Sommers, Larry. 1984. Community garden book. Burlington, Vermont: Gardens for All/The National Association for Gardening. Troy Gardens. 2001. Promotional material and presentation given at the Community Open Space Summit, Appleton, Wisconsin, October 12, 2001. Sponsored by the Urban Open Space Foundation, Madison, Wisconsin. University of Pennsylvania. 1997. Descriptions of Philadelphia Green garden sites. http://www.upenn.edu/wplp/plan/, October 20, 2000. Varela, Olmedo J. 1996. “Socio-spatial relationships and food programs in Milwaukee’s food system.” University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee: Center for Urban Initiatives and Research. Village of Arts and Humanities. 2001. “About the Village.” http://www.villagearts.org, November 10, 2001. Yeh, Lilly. 2001. Speech given at the Community Open Space Summit, Appleton, Wisconsin, October 12, 2001. Sponsored by the Urban Open Space Foundation, Madison, Wisconsin.

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APPENDIX A: Community Garden Contacts
Wisconsin Organizations
Milwaukee Urban Gardens 2107 East Capitol Drive Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211 Phone: 414-963-1162 Email: milwurbangardens@hotmail.com Milwaukee Community Gardening Coalition c/o University of Wisconsin – Extension (Milwaukee County) Will be moving shortly, new address not final at time of publication. Web: www.uwex.edu Growing Power 5500 West Silver Spring Drive Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53218 Phone: 414-527-1546 Email: info@growingpower.org Web: www.growingpower.org America’s Outdoors United States Forest Service 310 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 100 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203 Phone: 414-297-3693 Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee, Inc. 201 South Hawley Court Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53214 Phone: (414) 777-0483 Web: www.hungertaskforce.org University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Department of Urban Planning P.O. Box 413 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201 Phone: 414-229-4014 Web: www.uwm.edu/SARUP

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University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Urban and Regional Planning 925 Bascom Mall, 110 Music Hall Madison, Wisconsin 53706 Phone: 608-262-1004 Web: www.wisc.edu/urpl University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Landscape Architecture 1450 Linden Drive, 1 Agriculture Hall Madison, Wisconsin 53706 Phone: 608-263-7300 Web: www.wisc.edu/la Urban Open Space Foundation 200 North Blount Street Madison, Wisconsin 53703 Phone: 608-255-9877 Email: saveland@uosf.org Web: www.uosf.org

National Organizations
American Community Gardening Association 100 North 20th Street, 5th floor Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103 Phone: 215-988-8785 Web: www.communitygarden.org City of Seattle P-Patch Program 700 3rd Avenue, 4th Floor Seattle Washington 98104 Phone: 206-684-0264 Email: p-patch.don@ci.seattle.wa.us Web: www.ci.seattle.wa.us/don City of Portland Parks & Recreation 1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 1302 Portland, Oregon 97204 Phone: 503-823-1612 Email: pkweb@ci.portland.or.us Web: www.parks.ci.portland.or.us San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners 2088 Oakdale Avenue San Francisco, California 94124 Phone: 415-285-7584 Web: www.slug-sf.org

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Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative 504 Dudley Street Boston, Massachusetts 02119 Phone: 617-442-9670 Web: www.dsni.org West Philadelphia Landscape Project Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Graduate School of Fine Arts University of Pennsylvania 119 Meyerson Hall Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6311 Web: www.upenn.edu/wplp/plan/garden.htm Pennsylvania Horticultural Society 100 North 20th Street, 5th floor Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-1495 Phone: 215-988-8800 Web: www.libertynet.org/phs The Village of Arts and Humanities 2544 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19133 Phone: 215-225-7830 Email: village@villagearts.org Web: www.villagearts.org Madison’s Troy Gardens Email: troygardens@yahoo.com

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APPENDIX B: Milwaukee Community Garden Map

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Rental Gardens

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School Gardens

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Youth Gardens

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Demonstration Gardens

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Accessible Gardens

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Neighborhood Gardens

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