All Peoples Church growing more than vegetables with new project All Peoples Church, located in the Harambee neighborhood of Milwaukee, has been involved in community gardening for 15 years. Every summer over 50 youth from the church and community come to re-claim a vacant city lot and grow fruits and vegetables.
In recent years, the youth employment garden has included a direct connection to the food pantry and guests that shop there. Food produced in the garden supplements the food shelf and families are often seen in the garden pulling weeds and helping throughout the season.
These great efforts throughout the summer always faded once the weather turned cold. Now, through a partnership with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Brookﬁeld, WI, the growing season will last year-round. A new urban greenhouse has been designed to continue food production and education.
The greenhouse will be host to a weekly work ministry, employing youth ages 8-18 giving them life skills and teaching them about the importance of caring for creation. Cold crops like lettuce, cabbage and greens will grow in the winter while starters for the community garden will come in the spring.
Bernita Hardiman is a member of All Peoples and her children all worked in the garden. Two of them went on to work for Will Allen at Growing Power through the church’s connections. “Congrats to All Peoples,” says Bernita. “A green church will be even greener!” For its efforts in bringing local, sustainable and fresh food to people in poverty the National Council of Churches USA named All Peoples a “Great Green Congregation” in 2008.
The greenhouse project has drawn in several partners beyond St. John’s. HGA, an integrated architecture, engineering and master planning ﬁrm, has a team that works on non-proﬁt projects like the Urban Greenhouse. Their GLO team donated resource to design the greenhouse. As a city designated historic building, the project had to meet approval from the Historic Commission. Other contributors include David J. Frank Landscaping, Milwaukee Urban Gardens and the Victory Garden Initiative.
All Peoples Church is a congregation of the Greater Milwaukee Synod in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It was established in 1991 and continues to be a leader in youth and environmental ministry.