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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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Lisbon Food Village is proposed for three adjacent, vacant properties on the 6600 block of West Lisbon Avenue.
Lisbon Food Village is proposed for three adjacent, vacant properties on the 6600 block of West Lisbon Avenue.

Lisbon Food Village proposal could boost West Side neighborhoods

Residents in the West Side neighborhoods of Lenox Heights. Enderis Park and Enderis East have learned that there is a proposal to transform three adjacent, vacant properties on the 6600 block of West Lisbon Avenue into the sustainable Lisbon Food Village, an urban farming and food co-op.

According to the proposal, written by permaculturalist Barbara Richards for Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority, Milwaukee Office of Sustainability, Transition Milwaukee, Sweet Water Organics, Growing Power, Outpost Foods, Urban Ecology Center, Second Harvest, Columbia/St Mary’s and "other supporters of local, resilient, sustainable food systems," the project would:

"create a sustainable resilient food system for the West Side of Milwaukee that integrates the co-op benefits of Outpost Foods, the community involvement/ outreach and education of Growing Power, the knowledge from Growing Power and Sweet Water Organics vermiculture and aquaculture systems, and the water harvesting and energy use knowledge from the Urban Ecology Center. Second Harvest has knowledge of outreach to those in need. Columbia/St Mary’s has expertise in community health centers."

The three buildings – 6620, 6642 and 6654 W. Lisbon Ave. – would be transformed into a greenhouse and production facilities, a processing center and retail store, and a building that would house a time bank, resources exchange, community health center, office space for community groups and an education outreach facility.

The proposal sets out a goal of obtaining the properties by June 2012, developing the sites with a 12-month period and being ready to open the retail outlet by September 2013. Richards is currently organizing a non-profit corporation and finalizing a business plan.

Architectural renderings have already been created with UWM architecture students and the proposal is already in its second draft.  This is an exciting idea for a neighborhood that could really use a retail and commercial boost. And it's the kind of sustainable, neighborhood-focused project that could really bring some energy to the area.

Ald. Michael Murphy said he's seen the proposal.

"I have seen the proposal and have spoken with Barbara Richards about it," he wrote in an email this morning. "I do support it and think it could be very positive for the community."

I hope the DCD and others are watching and getting involved in this idea.

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