What is it?
The Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farm (MUDF) researches the economic viability and social capital of urban agriculture while empowering small-scale farmers in the region. We do so by facilitating land access and providing technical and educational resources for selling local food. Participants – or “micro-farmers” – learn sustainable methods to increase their food production while cultivating buyer relationships with partnered Milwaukee restaurants, markets, and food co-ops.
Want to learn more? Contact Ryan Schone 414/ 256-4653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In the 2014 season, (14) farmers are participating in the Urban Discovery Farm; the participants comprise 4 different ethnicities and an age ranging from 23 to 57. Embracing this diversity of cultures and farming experiences, “micro-farmers” gather on a monthly basis for an educational workshop led by an expert and followed up with a meal and collaborative conversation.
Can Urban Agriculture be Economically Viable in Milwaukee?
Despite all the hype and culture based around “local food” in Wisconsin and elsewhere across the nation, many of the numbers supporting the profit of small-scale local growers are, at best, disenchanting.
- Farms within the USDA’s “small farm” category (grossing less than $50,000 per year) averaged a mere $7,800 in sales per farm in 2008
- Yet $4.7 billion dollars worth of local produce was sold in the U.S. that same year
- 13 people are being employed per every $1 million in local food revenue
The Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farm aims to alter these conflicting trends; think of it as a test lab or science fair of urban farming. Some may call them “Incubator Farms”. Visitors to a discovery farm can see examples of unique growing practices used to produce high yielding crops on a small piece of land — all with a profit in mind. Participants can expect to learn collaboratively with other micro-farmers while cultivating selling relationships with MUDF partners such as Braise RSA and the Riverwest Co-op.
Urban Discovery Farm featured on CW 18 “Our Issues Milwaukee”
Where are the Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farms?
MUDF is presently located at 4 sites in Milwaukee County:
- Green Corridor Gardens (6th St and Howard Ave, Milwaukee)
- Kohl Farm (8300 County Line Rd, Milwaukee)
- Pete’s Community Farm (Muskego Ave and Arrow St.)
- Firefly Ridge (10256 Underwood Parkway, Wauwatosa)
- Timmerman Field Gardens (9200 Appleton Avenue, Milwaukee)
The Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farm builds upon the historic framework of UW- Extension’s historic Shoots n’ Roots, a program which educated small scale vegetable growers in Milwaukee, using research-based organic practices and results from the Organic Learning Center MicroFarm project. Participants further this interactive learning model by managing their own micro-farm (1/8 acre — 1.5 acres) while participating in monthly community-oriented workshops aimed to increase their food production and revenue. A community approach is emphasized at MUDFI for farmers to embrace collaboration and to share best practices and lessons learned.
Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farm in the News:
Vegetable Publications and Research
- Scheduling Vegetable Planting for Continuous Harvest: ATTRA
- Sustainable Soil Management: ATTRA
- Organic Soil Conditioners: UWEX
- Biological Control of Insects and Mites: UWEX
- Managing Insects in the Home Vegetable Garden: UWEX
- Garden Facts – handouts on specific pests: UWEX
- Organic controls for specific pests: ATTRA
- Growing specific vegetable and fruit crops in Wisconsin: UWEX
- What is Organic Agriculture? : ATTRA
- Postharvest Handling of Fruits and Vegetables: ATTRA