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MUG: Growing Urban Gardens

by Erin Kanuckel, MUG Executive Director   The weather is changing, the snow has melted, and people are outdoors  soaking up the sunshine in celebration of spring.  Phone calls are starting to  pour into the Milwaukee Urban Gardens office from individuals, gardeners,  and teachers who want to find land in the city to grow food.   MUG receives phone calls from people who have never gardened  before but are hoping to learn from a more experienced gardener  at a community garden close to home. Others call because they  have their eye on a vacant lot and their neighbors are ready to  start digging as soon as the ground can be worked. Teachers are  calling because their students want to plant a row for the hungry.  Everywhere you look new gardens are sprouting up on vacant lots,  in backyards, and on school grounds.   In the current economic climate more people are gardening to  conserve resources and save money on groceries by growing fresh  fruits and veggies  for their families.   MUG supports individuals and community  gardeners by offering resources and  assistance to help groups and individuals get  started. This spring they are offering Grow  Your Own Groceries, a beginner level  backyard gardening course that teaches  urban residents how to design, plant, and  care for a productive vegetable garden. Also,  MUG is collaborating with Anna Young, a  teacher-in-residence at the University of  Wisconsin-Milwaukee, to create World  Lunchbox, a K-8 curriculum specific to  Milwaukee. It will integrate science, social  studies and civic engagement into an urban  gardening/farming atmosphere. World  Lunchbox will meet Milwaukee Public Schools education  standards. The pilot version will be ready in June, 2009.   To learn more about Milwaukee Urban Gardens, the  programs they provide, and how to get involved, please visit  milwaukeeurbangardens.org or give us call at 414.431.1585.