Lisbon Food Village’s Milwaukee Vision

February 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

The city of Milwaukee is revitalizing its urban environments and has a number of great projects right now that are each gaining more and more attention. You’ve probably heard of Growing Power and Sweet Water Organics. Milwaukee also boasts Walnut Way, the Urban Ecology Center, Transition Milwaukee, Milwaukee Fix and the Victory Gardens.

There is another project that’s gaining some momentum here, and it’s got some extraordinary potential to restore two communities through self-reliance, local resilience, cooperation, and community involvement. It’s called the Lisbon Food Village. Barbara Richards, a retired Montessori school teacher and avid permaculturist and local visionary, is heading up this initiative. The big picture is to set up a model where cooperative urban agriculture production, sale, distribution and education are all permanent fixtures in a community.

The Lisbon Food Village is a series of 3 buildings, each serving a different function, all of which come together to serve as a resource center for community needs and education. It will feature a production center with aquaponic systems, vermiculture, and livestock and part of it will be maintained as a community garden. The food from the production center will be sold in the retail store at affordable prices to residents nearby.

The retail center will also operate as a community kitchen, hosting workshops on caring for the food the members produce in the garden. Food preparation, preservation, canning, etc. will be major themes in these workshops.

A community center will host neighborhood meetings, a time share, and a health and wellness center. It will be facilitated as a public space.

One of the interesting things to note about this project is how grassroots it is. Barbara has the vision and has been talking to people all over town getting feedback and generating interest. The picture above was created by a senior Architecture class at UWM as a class project that also started some extensive planning and design work for the LFV. A real life sustainable cities project…Not a bad way to get students motivated…

Barbara has teamed up with Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority, Milwaukee Office of Sustainability, Transition Milwaukee, Sweet Water Organics, Growing Power, Outpost Foods, Urban Ecology Center, Second Harvest, Columbia/St Mary’s and others to put together a proposal that puts the project in nearly-full operational capacity in autumn of 2013. They’re off to a good start. There’s more information around the web and those interested in getting involved should email Barbara.

Photos Courtesy of Barbara Richards

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