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Healthy Food Access. Green Jobs

Neighborhood Quality of Life

Climate Change. Placemaking




HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee empowers residents to transform neighborhoods by remaking vacant lots into community assets that spark new economic opportunities around local, healthy food production and distribution. HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee is an initiative of Mayor Tom Barrett, led by the City's Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO), formerly the Office of Environmental Sustainability. HOME GR/OWN was envisioned by Mayor Tom Barrett as the City's entry to the 21012-2103 Bloomberg Mayors Challenge. The HOME GR/OWN concept ended up placing 6th out of 305 competing cities nationwide.

The Bloomberg Mayors Challenge was designed to:

"Inspire a new round of innovation in local government to elevate the very best ideas and help them spread"

             Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The City of Milwaukee’s entry was quickly named one of the Top 20 ideas out of 305 city entries. In the end, Milwaukee was considered the 6th place winner. Mayor Tom Barrett believed that the HOME  GR/OWN ideas were worth pursuing, despite not winning one of the Top 5 cash prizes and HOME GR/OWN went operational in late 2013.


HOME GR/OWN Works with City Agencies: The HOME GR/OWN initiative coordinates activities by several City departments and agencies to lower implementation costs and streamline City policies across departments in order to effectively catalyze food system change in Milwaukee neighborhoods with the greatest demand for access to healthy food.

HOME GR/OWN Works with External Partners: working with community businesses and organizations to help connect the dots between local food, health, neighborhood and economic development work currently taking place. HOME GR/OWN seeks to expand this community team and attract the financial resources to take our partners’ community-based work to the next level. We create true public/private partnerships, leveraging resources, catalyzing new hope and real street-level change in our most vulnerable neighborhoods across Milwaukee.

Catch up on our latest projects at HOME GR/OWN In the News.

New City Food Access Mapping - updated April 9, 2019

The City Department of City Development (DCD) produced some detailed mapping of healthy food access issues as part of its study on healthy food access and new supermarket potential within the City, a Common Council request led by Alderman Khalif Rainey. HOME GR/OWN consulted on the DCD study. While DCD's study is a living document and not officially released, the following maps have been released.

ReFresh Milwaukee Goals

HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee is a Catalytic Project of the City of Milwaukee's 2013 ReFresh Milwaukee Sustainability Plan. A catalytic project promotes cross-cutting sustainability outcomes that mirror goals and targets throughout the City's Sustainability Plan. A catalytic project encompasses multiple Sustainability Plan goals across several themes and will benefit from collaborative and strategic direction-setting and resource investment from the community

Day 1 Goal: To increase access to and demand for healthy foods in a targeted low-income Milwaukee neighborhood.

Read more about ReFresh Milwaukee's HOME GR/OWN goals and strategies HERE.

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