Victory Garden Initiative purchasing building for Harambee campus

Former pub will house staff, event space

The outside of the former pub.

Victory Garden Initiative will soon close on the purchase of a building located across the street from its urban farm, with plans to transform it into a community hub and headquarters for the urban agriculture organization.

The outside of the former pub at 249 E. Concordia Ave.

The organization plans to renovate the former pub, located at 249 E. Concordia Ave. in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood, to house its offices and host events and classes. The organization operates an urban farm on a 1.5 acre-lot located in the middle of the block at 220 E. Concordia Ave.

VGI recently went public with its two-phase capital campaign to develop the urban campus, which will be called The Farmhouse.

The organization plans to raise $157,500 for the first phase of the project,which includes the purchase of the building and renovation work, and $109,000 for the second phase, which will include exterior work to the building, kitchen renovations and equipment, and farm-to-table cafe supplies.

Plans for the urban campus include workforce development opportunities related to green infrastructure and food system careers, extended internships, and a food system small business incubation program, the organization said.

“Though we have been doing this work for 10 years, our new building will give us the ability to move to a deeper level of impact, meaning and connection,” said Gretchen Mead, executive director. “We will serve more neighbors, teach more people and share more good food. We will have deeper partnerships with the neighboring schools and community organizations. We will launch a CSA program this spring and expand our partnership with local restaurants. We will cook meals, directly from the garden, with and for our neighbors.”

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in late summer or early fall. The second phase is scheduled for next year.

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