HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee empowers residents to transform neighborhoods by re-purposing foreclosed properties into community assets that spark new economic opportunities around local, healthy food production and distribution. HOME GR/OWN is an initiative of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, led by the Office of Environmental Sustainability. It addresses two critical issues facing some of Milwaukee’s most vulnerable neighborhoods: foreclosures, vacant lots and limited access to nutritious, affordable foods. HOME GR/OWN is an evolving collection of strategies, policy changes and economic development tools that shift the paradigm in how City government works with the community to develop & improve foreclosed properties (vacant lots, homes and commercial structures) so that these assets form a productive link in the local food supply chain. Mayor Barrett and a team from City Hall crafted this concept in consultation with key community stakeholders this summer.
HOME GR/OWN works on three levels simultaneously:
- Working within City government to streamline processes, permitting and ordinances when practical, to eliminate potential City roadblocks to increasing access to healthy food, new food-based entrepreneurship and vacant lot & home repurposing.
- Working within neighborhoods. HOME GR/OWN concentrates City and partner resources in targeted neighborhoods, in order to catalyze the biggest change. The City is initially targeting the Lindsay Heights neighborhood and to supplement the great work of organizations such as Zilber Family Foundation, Walnut Way, Alice’s Garden, Center for Resilient Cities, Fondy Food Center, M.O.V.E., Urban Underground, Healthy Corner Store Initiative, A.B.E. among others.
- Working within community food systems. HOME GR/OWN is working to determine if Milwaukee ready for a food hub, linking local growers to local markets, processing local food and creating new jobs and opportunities? How best can we extend our short growing season within the City? What are the best ways to support and train new food growers, processors and marketers? Who are our new partners to creatively reimagine and repurpose new uses for vacant lots and foreclosed homes?
PROGRESS REPORT: FALL 2013
NEW RELEASE: CITY OF MILWAUKEE VACANT LOT HANDBOOK OFFERS IDEAS FOR CREATIVE USE OF UNUSED SPACE
HOME GR/OWN has moved from an idea to implementation. Working with our community partners, we are moving forward with a number of “Quick Start” projects, focusing on increased access to healthy food, neighborhood revitalization, business development and vacant lot repurposing. Milwaukee will have two full-time staffers working on foreclosed homes, vacant lots and community food system work. For details contact Tim McCollow, HOME GR/OWN Program Manager.
In addition to the above, our current project work also includes:
- Updating City ordinances to accommodate new food system economic development
- The promotion of increased composting in the city, while addressing the potential concerns of neighbors
- Exploring the feasibility of food hub(s) within the City, as part of Urban Economic Development Association (“UEDA”) driven food hub work group, called FEDN
- Development of the new Office of Environmental Sustainability’s Sustainability Plan for Milwaukee, ReFreshMKE – including the chapter on Food Systems and the announcement of HOME GR/OWN as one of two ReFresh Catalytic Projects best exemplifying the goals of the Plan.
- Supporting the Milwaukee Food Council
- Serving as liaison for the Growing Power/multi-university Institute for Urban Agriculture & Nutrition
HOME GR/OWN: Milwaukee's Idea
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOME GR/OWN. Video created in collaboration with Wisconsin Foodie and Harvest Motion Design.
HOME GR/OWN: What a neighborhood will look like
HOME GR/OWN: In The News
HOME GR/OWN Fan Favorite Runner-up
in the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge
HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee was named “Fan Favorite Runner-Up”. Milwaukee’s HOME GR/OWN application
received unique recognition both for its idea and the tremendous level of support from both
Bloomberg Philanthropies and Huffington Post. Together we can make HOME GR/OWN
a reality and national model of success!
HOME GR/OWN: Stay Connected
Keep up to date with HOME GR/OWN activities.
HOME GR/OWN is a project of the
Office of Mayor Tom Barrett
with support from City of Milwaukee Departments.