The Good Stuff Gardens, a Milwaukee Urban Ag Project, Lucas Dixon, WI

The Good Stuff Gardens, a Milwaukee Urban Ag Project, Lucas Dixon, WI

Hello. I’m Lucas dixon here the the urban farmer at the good stuff urban Garden we are We’re growing these beautiful plants here to to try to help show the community how they can convert some of the vacant lots that they deal with into not only small businesses But places to supply the communities with fresh fresh organic local food the Sarah program allowed a lot of this to grow quite literally It would have been a much smaller scale project. We were we were looking at just ways of putting smaller gardens on the lot and the seer project allowed not only you [know] the opportunity to Increase the scale of what we were doing, but also to involve the community on a much larger scale I Think that this could be used as a model [for] what other vacant lots can become there’s a lot [of] initiative in the city Right now to get rid of well Not necessarily get rid of but to change the lots and to change the face of the city especially in these areas On some blocks there are you know five to six and vacant lots and one block you know area and so? My my intention would be that this this could be used to as a model to create other local business owners and also community space It’s it’s a really small space relative to the whole lot that that is needed to share with the community and so It’s it’s incredibly feasible and viable for a business to exist on the same place where? There’s community space we we started out by canvassing the Neighborhood and just letting people know that we were going to be here and that we’re going to be installing a garden and Asking [for] ideas and request things that they might want to see planted things That they might just want to help out with all that and then Since then we’ve since we parted started putting all the plants in and all that We did a community planting day where we did a barbecue? and we brought out actually it was mostly kids which was fantastic and the Barbecues are away because you know food is the bits in [my] opinion the best way to bring people together people it’s it’s like the oldest thing that people have done and so we bring everyone together around food and then we focus the Gathering on it on a topic of discussion, so we’ve done mulching with grass clippings for soil for water retention for nutrients for the soil and for weed prevention and That was awesome. We did molt our composting rather, and then we also did seed saving because we grow heirloom varieties here and so Showing people how easy it really is to you know leave a few beans on the plant let them dry [out] You know pull the gold of seeds out, and then you can regrow those next year So a huge huge part of what we’re trying to do is is I guess what I would say is it’s the full circle We we compost for nutrients. So that way you don’t need to add you know ammonium nitrate fertilizer or anything like that We do companion planting not only for pest control But also for for pollination to bring in pollinators one of our best pollinator [ziz] borage and also, the water collection We built this here structure and filling up these nice Nice, red barrels here with water so that we can water and times of dryness like we’ve had the past couple weeks so yeah So between the composting for nutrients the seed saving for for seed for next year and the water collection you really have the full cycle of Growth and then death and rebirth in the spring with the plants, and you don’t really need much input from outside sources Oh, yeah, we did a talk at Discovery world for it was held by the Milwaukee area work Workforce investment board and They basically brought in a group of our groups of kids from different local organizations one was urban underground Just actually youth program run by the youth it’s pretty cool and the topics of discussion were specifically food and agriculture but then entrepreneurship sin in those fields and so we talked about urban farming and the opportunity [of] you know kind of all of all of the things that we went through so started with well You know you’re interested in urban farming what do you do what you need a you need a lot you need a place to grow so we talked about the opportunity to purchase these lots in Milwaukee and and this lot here was after closing costs was nine hundred dollars so it’s Incredibly affordable incredibly available And in different ways of raising that capital whether through cooperative ownership so getting a group of collective owners together to purchase or Anything like that and and then moving forward to where you can get resources like this is all repurposed lumber And a you know opportunity for them to how How they could grow the food what they would do with the food after they grew it So how do you get rid of it? We talked about value added product, so not just selling produce, but doing things like pickles or You know we have some fruit We have raspberries and strawberries so you can do jams and Jellies and because of the pickle Bill here in Wisconsin It allows you to sell those things without state licensing you just need to register as a business. Which is a pretty twenty bucks It’s a pretty standard process for becoming a business. You know registering as a business so You know we shared with them all the steps and it was really actually it was great a lot of the kids were chattering and talking at their tables, and when when they started hearing about You know the availability of this is an option the fact that that you’re running your own business I mean, you are the boss you [are] You are in charge and the fact that they could they could sell these things without a whole lot of [licensing] that they can get in at markets that gives them Opportunities to meet people and you know doing the markets to just talk he just get to talk to people from all over the place They were really I mean all the chatter stopped. You [know] And my my my kind of partner in all this is my brother. Who’s 16 which is Actually the same age as all the all the students that were at the at the discussion and so when they heard [that] That’s when noise came back into the audience because they were like wow what you know my goodness? They couldn’t believe it even even the man running the organ is [the] discovery world discussion came up afterwards and was like you know 16 years old like really So I mean that really caught that caught their attention, and it was great. We had Afterwards we took a walk around discovery world We had kids coming up to us asking us questions now even that. It was over. You know they were so intrigued So that was really cool. You know really and it made us feel really good. It was great. It’s really gratifying

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