You don’t usually expect creative ideas out of city government in a ‘rust belt’ region. I must proudly say that Milwaukee is taking positive steps to mitigate what otherwise could be a serious issue in the low income neighborhoods.
Home foreclosures have burdened the city with 1250 vacant homes and 2700 empty lots; the number is increasing by 2-3 per day. The HOME GR/OWN program re-imagines how urban liabilities like foreclosed properties can be transformed into assets. In collaboration with a wide range of community stakeholders, this new public-private model is hoping to provide healthy food and hope to impoverished neighborhoods.
With help transforming the land into productive space for growing, processing and distributing food, the ‘owners’ will create a positive neighborhood impact. Healthy food will not be as difficult or expensive to procure, active work in the “fields” will help curb the obesity rate and a better quality of life will emerge.