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Gretchen Mead,
Executive Director, Victory Garden Initiative
414.431.0888; Email: gretchen.mead@victorygardeninitiative.org

Victory Garden Initiative Graduates 14 New Food Leaders

By Tony Farrell
2013 Food Leader Certificate Program Graduate

Milwaukee, WI (December 10, 2013)undefinedNow empowered with the knowledge, support and encouragement to grow good food in the city, there is a new group of people working to transform Milwaukee’s food system. With each one of them tapping an unlimited amount of sustainable spiritual energy, they have already made some amazing accomplishments.

On Sunday, December 9, Victory Garden Initiative (VGI) celebrated this year’s Food Leader Certificate Program graduates. Their collective mission statement says it all: “Leveraging strength in diversity, abundant resources and passion for farming good food to create a just community that celebrates sustainable improvements in health and wellness for all people and their environments.”

From January through December 2013 the food leaders participated in a variety of programs designed to prepare them to make a greater impact, bringing healthier food to the Milwaukee area. They attended eleven three-hour-long classes as part of the Edible Gardening for Sustainability Series. Topics covered included starting seeds, garden planning, composting, managing pests, preserving food and more.

They also attended two retreats together; one focused on understanding the issues we face in our food system and forming an individual project to work on, and the other centered on community organizing and self-awareness.

Each food leader’s unique project unfolded throughout the year. Some of the projects included the following: Dan Felix built the first handicapped accessible raised garden bed prototype, Laura Stevens raised funds and built UW-Milwaukee’s first hoop house, Tammy Koz planted an orchard in Tippecanoe Park, Tony Farrell launched a micro green business and Bonnie Halvorsen helped Damian Coleman establish his urban composting business, Elyve Compost.

Along the way were many potluck meals shared and many volunteer hours donated. Food leaders assisted with work on the budding urban farm Concordia Gardens, installing raised bed gardens all over the city during the Victory Garden Blitz, and mentoring new gardeners, including teaching children how to grow food at various programs in local schools.

All in all, the Victory Garden Initiative food leader class of 2013 proved that urban agriculture does not necessarily require huge infrastructure for large aquaponics systems, but instead just a willingness to re-purpose existing resources to grow food. For example, we can build soil with food waste instead of throwing it away, grow an herb garden in the sunny window and move grass to use that space to grow food instead.

Everyone is strongly encouraged to become a food leader, especially including you! Registration for the 2014 Victory Garden Initiative Food Leader Certificate Program (VGI FLCP) is now open; learn more and sign up at http://victorygardeninitiative.org or call (414) 431-0888.



About Victory Garden Initiative

Victory Garden Initiative (VGI) is a Milwaukee-based organization working to positively impact social, environmental, and public health by empowering communities to grow their own food.

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