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Riverwest community garden grows and donates about 250 pounds of food a year

All the food is free at the Bremen Community Garden for anyone who wants some fresh produce.
Bremen Community Garden
Posted at 3:36 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 17:55:50-04

MILWAUKEE — A community garden in Milwaukee is growing hundreds of pounds of food in a pretty small space.

On the corner of Clarke Street and Bremen Street in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood is a green oasis. It's called the Bremen Community Garden. On a small plot of land, you'll see broccoli, squash, peppers, cabbage, basil, tomatoes, tomatillos, and more. The best part is that all the food is free for anyone who needs or wants some fresh produce.

"I like the idea of making sure nobody goes hungry," co-administrator James Melchior said.

Bremen Community Garden
Kaytee Luke (left) and James Melchior (right) run the Bremen Community Garden.

He runs the garden with Kaytee Luke. It's all volunteer based. Melchior got involved three years ago and Luke started with the garden four years ago. They want to make sure that free, fresh, and healthy food is available to those in need.

"Everyone has the right to healthy good sustainable food," Luke said.

The garden was formerly known as the Riverwest Community Garden School. However, the creators of that moved to Colorado a few years ago. With a bit of a branding change, the garden was renamed the Bremen Community Garden.

Not only is the mission about healthy food, but it's also about challenging the ways we get our food and where it comes from.

Bremen Street Garden
A tomatillo being grown at the garden.

"You know, for where our fresh produce comes from often times it's from California or Mexico. So just providing the neighborhood with fresh greens that were grown right here," Luke said.

Rather than burning all those fossil fuels to transport the food across the country, the Bremen Community Garden allows people to get their veggies while limiting the emission of greenhouse gasses.

"Having to depend on freight and gas to get your produce here is kind of counterproductive," Luke said.

Plus, the garden proves that you don't need a lot of space to grow food. You just need a little bit of space, some dirt, and the willingness to get your fingers dirty.

Bremen Community Garden
The free food table outside the Bremen Community Garden. The far right side is where people can make donations.

"I want them to know that it's very possible to grow your own food," Melchior said.

There are roughly two dozen garden beds on the corner. Each one is planted to its capacity to maximize its potential. That's how the garden is able to produce about 250 pounds of food a year.

All that food is then placed on a table right outside the fenced-off garden. People can simply walk up and take whatever they like. There is also a spot for food donations. For those that would like to make a financial donation, you can Venmo them at @BremenGarden831. There is also a cash drop box near the food table.

If you want to get involved or learn more, you can reach out to Luke or Melchoir on the garden's Facebook page.

This is just the start for Melchior and Luke. In addition to scaling up their operations, they hope to start a farm-to-fork program that teaches people how to cook easy recipes with the food they can grow themselves.

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