Stark Bro’s Nurseries, the nation’s largest direct-to-consumer grower of fruit and nut trees, on Thursday presented Milwaukee-based Growing Power Inc. with a donation of nursery stock to help urban communities grow their own sustainable food sources.
Stark Bro’s co-owner Tim Abair formally presented the donation at a Milwaukee event held at the Growing Power farm and attended by Growing Power’s farmer, founder and chief executive officer Will Allen as well as Matthew Howard and Tim McCollow from the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Environmental Sustainability, Growing Power employees and local supporters.
“Over our history of nearly 200 years, Stark Bro’s has planted, harvested, sold and shipped over one million fruit trees per year— but we don’t always sell every tree in our stock,” said Stark CEO Cameron Brown. “Once we understood what Will Allen and Growing Power do, and how close they are to our main growing operation, we began looking for a way to connect the dots and let those unsold trees directly benefit their Community Food Systems.”
Brown hopes to make the donation an annual event.
“This generous donation of over 3,000 fruit trees will help change the dynamic of our southeast Wisconsin community in a positive way,” Allen said. “It will allow us to continue to build a safe, sustainable, good food system here and also serve as a model for the rest of the nation. The donation will help us plant trees on some of the 2,500 vacant lots in Milwaukee, helping us to provide good food, help the environment and even create jobs to maintain them. And we’ll do it in a natural way without the use of herbicides or pesticides. Imagine people eating fresh fruit and berries grown right in their own community! A big thank you to Stark Bro’s and the efforts of Cameron Brown and his staff.”
Growing Power currently serves the Milwaukee and Madison areas of Wisconsin, as well as Chicago, Ill., with several more satellite projects throughout the United States.
Stark Bro’s, founded in 1816, is a grower and distributor of fruit and nut trees as well as grape vines, berry plants and other horticultural products. Stark Bro’s corporate offices, retail Garden Center, main test orchards and nurseries are located in Louisiana, Mo.