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Milwaukee’s Mayor Tom Barrett addresses dual challenges of property foreclosures and insufficient healthy food access through city farming


This video is part of Milwaukee’s entry in the Mayors Challenge Fan Favorite Selection, a partnership between The Huffington Post and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Pairing the capital assets of vacant lots and foreclosed houses with individuals and organizations promoting the growth, processing, distribution, and consumption of locally-produced food

By Mayor Tom Barrett
Huffington Post
Mayors Challenge Finalist: Milwaukee, WI
Feb 2013

Excerpt:

What if cities like Milwaukee that have significant portfolios of foreclosed real estate could leverage those properties to improve public health and re-knit struggling neighborhoods into the tapestry of a thriving city?

American cities need a new model and vision for the management and future use of foreclosed properties that turn vacant lots and boarded-up buildings into a foundation for improved community nutrition and neighborhood revitalization.

Imagine vacant lots becoming orchards, gardens, and small farms. Envision foreclosed houses repurposed as small-scale food processing centers and neighborhood nutrition education sites where people connect to prepare and share healthy food. Imagine neighborhoods where foreclosed properties become assets in a campaign to improve healthy food access and demand.

This is Milwaukee’s HOME GR/OWN: a blueprint for cities to address the dual challenges of property foreclosures and insufficient healthy food access and demand. By pairing the capital assets of vacant lots and foreclosed houses with individuals and organizations promoting the growth, processing, distribution, and consumption of locally-produced food, HOME GR/OWN reimagines what a foreclosed property can become. It provides new options for producing and consuming healthy food.

Milwaukee’s HOME GR/OWN idea is a significant urban policy innovation and stands out for two key reasons.

Read the complete article here.