Riverwest Community Garden grows, donates about 250 pounds of food a year

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

At 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, bell peppers, cabbage, basil, tomatoes, tomatillos, and more. The best part is that all food is free to anyone who needs or wants some fresh produce.

“I like the idea of ​​making sure no one goes hungry,” co-administrator James Melchior said.

Bremen Community Garden

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

Run the garden with Kaytee Luke. Everything is voluntary. Melchior got involved three years ago and Luke started the garden four years ago. They want to make sure free, fresh, healthy food is available to those who need it.

“Everyone has the right to good, healthy and sustainable food,” said Luke.

The garden was previously known as the Riverwest Community Garden School. However, the creators of that moved to Colorado a few years ago. With a minor rebranding, the garden was renamed the Bremen Community Garden.

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

Bremen Street Garden

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A tomatillo being grown in the garden.

“You know, where our fresh produce comes from, a lot of times it’s California or Mexico. So we only provide the neighborhood with fresh vegetables that were grown here,” Luke said.

Instead of burning all those fossil fuels to transport food across the country, the Bremen Community Garden allows people to get their vegetables and limits greenhouse gas emissions.

“Having to rely on freight and gasoline to get your products here is counterproductive,” Luke said.

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

Bremen Community Garden

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The free food table outside the Bremen Community Garden. The far right 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 approximately two dozen garden beds in the corner. Each is planted to their ability to maximize their potential. This is how the garden is capable of producing about 250 pounds of food a year.

Then all that food is placed on a table just outside the fenced garden. People can just walk in and grab whatever they want. There is also a place for food donations. For those who would like to make a financial donation, you can use Venmo at @BremenGarden831. There is also a cash drop box near the food table.

If you would like to get involved or learn more, you can contact Luke or Melchoir on the garden’s Facebook page.

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

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