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HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee is an initiative of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, led by the City's Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO).

  • Transform targeted neighborhoods by concentrating City and partner resources, catalyzing new, healthy food access and greenspace developments to promote economic development.
  • Make it easier to access local food and re-purpose city-owned vacant lots. We work within City government to streamline processes, permitting, and ordinances, making it easier to grow and distribute healthy food, start new food-based businesses, and improve vacant lots.
  • Work within Milwaukee's community food system to link local growers to local markets, increase urban food infrastructure (water, access, compost), and support new urban farms and healthy food retailers and wholesalers.


Latest News

  • December 2016: Check out our new web page all about the amazing Cream City Farms.
  • November 16, 2016: Interested in urban food production? Check out this newly-posted online online manual.
  • October 19th, 2016: North Avenue beautification/greenscaping project publicly announced; target area: 8th-27th Streets with partners Zilber Neighborhood Initiative, Social Development Commission, City DPW, City DCD, City DNS, Walnut Way, LISC More info at our new website.

  • October 9th, 2016: Harvest Celebration at Cream City Farms, celebrating the first harvest from Milwaukee's newest, largest and most sustainable commercial urban farms. Cream City Farms was built via a broad public/parivate partnership, including ECO's HOME GR/OWN initiative. VISIT our new web page on the project.

  • August 18, 2016: HOME GR/OWN partners with Riverworks Development Corporation to maintain and beautify 2015 Partners for Places parks and orchards, helping create jobs for North Side young adults.

  • August 1, 2016: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett signs on to the Mayors' Monarch Pledge. More info below.

  • New August '16 website additions:

  • July 2016: HOME GR/OWN helps build new community gardens:

    • Richards & Clark revitalized community garden in Harambee

    • 19th & Chambers revamped community garden

  • May 13, 2016: HOME GR/OWN receives award from Metcalfe Park community partners for 3 new 2015 parks & orchards

The Mayors' Monarch Pledge

Mayor Tom Barrett has signed on to the Mayors' Monarch Pledge, sponsored by the National Wildlife Association. And he's not alone: over 179 mayors across the United States have joined as well.

So what does this mean?


ECO City of Milwaukee, via its HOME GR/OWN initiative, will be working hard in the next year to communicate the importance of creating and preserving habitat for the monarch butterfly in particular, but really all butterflies and pollinators in the City of Milwaukee. Since we started we have begun a milkweed seed giveaway, carried out a social media campaign on monarchs and pollinators, created a butterfly garden at a neighborhood school and have done outreach at public events. In 2017, we will be transplanting native species from Gillespie Park thoughout Milwaukee's North Side to increase the number of native species important to pollinators.

The Pledge is just an expansion of the work we have done to date to promote pollinator habitats, both online and on the ground. Ezekiel Gillespie Park has been a pollinator/bee/butterfly heaven since it opened in 2014. Our 2015 and 2016 native plantings at over 21 HOME GR/OWN sites took place long before we signed the Pledge. Look for more information here and at our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds. More information on the Mayors' Monarch Pledge can be found here.

Milkweed seed packets are available at the ECO office, please contact up if you are interested.

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Partners for Places
SXSW Eco international Places by Design Winner


HOME GR/OWN's Partners for Places project was recently named the WINNER of the SXSW Environmental Collaboration Office international Places by Design contest in the Urban Strategies category. Tim McCollow, HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee Program Manager and Carolyn Esswein of the UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning Community Design Solutions (CDS) 'pitched' on behalf of our many partners in Austin, TX, talking about our 2014 Ezekiel Gillespie Park and our community engagement process and site designs for our (20) 2015 Partners for Places spaces. CDS led our design team which included neighborhood residents who participated in the design workshops.

Learn more







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Mayor Tom Barrett’s HOME GR/OWN initiative is working to transform neighborhoods. Learn more about us and what we do. HOME GR/OWN In the News.


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In 2016 & 2017, HOME GR/OWN is focused on the "greenscaping" of North Avenue between 4th - 27th Streets and the construction of Fondy Park

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We can help residents re-purpose vacant lots, grow their own food and increase access to healthy, local food.

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Engage and Connect

Help HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee create Strong Neighborhoods and create beautiful, sustainable spaces using City-owned vacant lots.



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MLK Peace Place 

Partners for Places

See Milwaukee's 20 new HOME GR/OWN parks!

Ezekiel Gillespie Park 

HOME GR/OWN Wins SXSW Eco Places by Design Contest

HOME GR/OWN's Partners for Places project was recently named a WINNER of the SXSW Eco International Places by Design contest in the Urban Strategies category!

Tim McCollow
HOME GR/OWN Program Manager

(414) 286-3748

Connect with Us

Ezekiel Gillespie Park

See a drone's-eye view of 2015 MANDI Award for Best Public Space

and 2015 Mayor's Design Award-winning Ezekiel Gillespie Park!

Check us out on Instagram at homegrownmke

Fly over HOME GR/OWN projects on our YouTube page

How You Can Help

Funds donated to HOME GR/OWN will be used to support City-owned vacant lot projects which coincide with the following HOME GR/OWN objectives:

  • Increase access to local, healthy food
  • Revitalizing/engaging communities


HOME GR/OWN is funded in part through a City of Milwaukee grant of federal community development funds.