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DMZ 01/10/08

DMZ Community Garden Pictures

In the dead of the winter the DMZ garden, now a vacant lot, begins to rise. The DMZ is a garden co-op that Marna, co-founder of Mothers Against Gun Violence, Dawn, founder of Foundation Dwellings housing for the disabled, and I started last summer. Together we are attempting to apply some of the gardening techniques of Growing Power to a garden in Milwaukee’s central city. This year we plan to build a garden near Dawn’s houses on a vacant lot across the street from an elementary school. With the help of the school children and the neighbors we hope to grow a garden that will provide organic affordable food for the three of the children, neighbors and us. All we have now is an empty lot and two large piles of compost in one of Dawn’s backyards to build the growing mounds. We built the compost piles of waste last summer, of rotten vegetables and fruits, leaves, grass, coffee grounds and wood chips. This winter I put some coffee grounds I had collected over the winter on the mounds and topped them with wood chips from the large mound we have on the lot. We had hoped last summer to build a worm condo to get some castings, but did not get around to it. We placed some worms from Growing Power on one of the mounds, but digging around today I noticed that worms were in both piles. We probably got some of the neighborhood worms in our nice warm piles of compost.

Garden Ingredients 01/10/08

Soon we will meet to talk on plans for the elementary school involvement, meeting with the neighbors on the block, ordering seeds and just good old planning. Our gatherings rotate from house to house. One thing that is consistent at our gathering is good food, especially in the spring, summer and fall when we have food from our backyard gardens. There are many community gardens in Milwaukee and we hope to learn from them. We are going to try to keep very closely to the model of Growing Power, with the emphasis on Growing Renewable Affordable Food (GRAF), especially the affordable part. We certainly could use help with hauling waste, planting and maintaining the garden, seeds and seedlings or plants. There are hundreds and hundreds of vacant lots like this one in the central city, many of them owned by the city. Maybe if we, like others, are successful growing organic affordable food in our garden, the DMZ can expand to other vacant lots. To help, contact us at

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