Atwood Growing Gower

Check out our neighborhood demonstration garden

Demo Garden Guardians
Strolling or biking through Atwood’s tree-shaded corner of the world offers the perfumed breath of blossoming trees and brightly colored flowers as well as herb beds, promising vegetable gardens, and healthy fruit and nut trees. Every yard is different, and each offers happy surprises, one being Sustainable Atwood’s burgeoning demonstration garden at 2018 Helena Street.

Inspired by Will Allen’s Growing Power Inc., an intensified urban agricultural initiative in Milwaukee, Sustainable Atwood is joining the local food movement here in Madison. Allen boasts feeding 10,000 people from two and a half urban acres, which inspires us to see what we can do right here on our own mini urban-acreage.

Sustainable Atwood’s demonstration garden has begun to offer workshops and local examples for making the most of urban growing situations. We started with workshops led by local experts on permaculture and “lasagna-style” sheet mulching, three bin composting, vertical gardening, mushroom logs and worm farms. Each workshop gave us a “product” for on-going demonstrations.

Our vision of sustainable urban agriculture will become tangible during the maturation of the project and garden’s development. Together, well learn what it takes to grow, harvest, store and share food through the shared knowledge of neighbors and generous teachers. In time, we hope to bring in chickens, honey bees, and even a fish farm! It’s an ever-changing, uplifting and burgeoning effort which demonstrates healing touches for our land and new ways to solve such urban problems as limited space, too much shade, and invasives like creeping bellflower, creeping Charley and crabgrass.

It is the first year of our grand experiment, and we are learning from each other and the experts as we go. Some 15 people are currently joining in the planning, workshops and work days. Many show up to help prepare garden beds, do a bit of weeding, ask questions, or share ideas about urban agriculture, sustainability, and the good life in a sustainable neighborhood. We are also partnering with the gardeners at Lowell School. Beginners and experts alike find that “growing our own”—for a whole neighborhood and beyond– is so very possible, in ever so many new ways.

Visit us on Thursdays, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, during our weekly community work hours. Join in for a tour of the plots or a bit of hands-on work that feels more like play. Applaud with us as someone exclaims, “the compost just hit 110 degrees!” We invite you to enjoy this edible and beautiful experience with us as we increase our “growing power” and promote a healthy, happy approach to food, neighborly connections, and a sustainable future.