88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Volunteers build hundreds of raised garden beds around Milwaukee

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You may notice more raised garden beds popping around the city this month – 500 more of them, to be precise.

The uptick is thanks to an annual program at the Victory Garden Initiative called the “Garden Blitz.”

For the next two weeks, hundreds of volunteers will go door-to-door, installing small raised beds at costs affordable to homeowners.

It’s a huge collaborative effort.  First, teams build the wooden 4 by 8 foot frame of the bed, then another wave of volunteers follows behind — shovels in hand — filling them up with organic soil.

The program is designed to provide residents with access to fresh organic produce, especially in neighborhoods where food security is an issue.  “It’s pretty amazing that every year [the program] grows,” said Victory Garden Initiative Executive Director Gretchen Mead.  “When you’re growing your own food in your community, you’re a piece of the solution.”

Over the last six years, VGI has installed more than 2,200 gardens.  This year, that number is expected to climb to approximately 2,700.

The program, now in its seventh year, is at capacity for new applicants, but Mead said those interested can sign up for a waiting list.

For more about the Blitz, visit the Victory Garden Initiative website.  And click the podcast player above to hear our interview with Mead and a volunteer working with the program.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee