Earth Day Pantry Garden Kick Off to Connect Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security
This Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd, sustainable agriculture advocates will join with local food security activists to create a new food pantry garden at long neglected Union Corners.  The City of Madison has granted a permit for the Eastside Pantry Brigade to create 10 6 x 4 raised beds to grow fresh, local produce for the Goodman Community Centers Fritz Food Pantry.
Food pantry gardens will play a critical role in future food security efforts as demand is increasing but donations and government support for food programs are both in decline.  â€œFuture growth in available food for distribution by area pantries will largely come from local farms and pantry gardens.”  predicts Chris Brockel, Manager of Community Action Coalitions Food and Garden Division.  â€œWe believe expanding local food production provides the best hope for ensuring adequate food supplies and real food security in our community.”
“Hallmarks of the Local Food Movement in Madison and Dane County are its innovative approaches to expanding sustainable agriculture joined with a demonstrated commitment to food justice for all.”  according to Joe Mingle, urban farmer and Eastside Pantry Brigade organizer.  â€œThis project symbolizes our communities shared vision of a re-localized food system that creates an abundance of healthful, responsibly produced food accessible to everyone.”
Union Corners is the site of a long stalled infill development on Madisons Near Eastside.  Land banked by the City in 2010, neighbors are organizing to develop Union Corners a center for sustainable living and green enterprise.  This project is one of several temporary or transitional uses area residents and activists are hoping to initiate at the site this season.
Volunteers will begin working at 10:00 am on Earth Day at the corner of Milwaukee Street and East Washington Avenue.  A brief garden dedication ceremony will be held at 2:00 including the planting of vegetables by local community leaders.  Dedication speakers will include Mentoring Positives farmer Alan Chancellor, 6th District Alder Marsha Rummel, Chris Brockel from Community Action Coalition and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.
Members of a wide range of community organizations have helped make this event possible including the Eastside Pantry Brigade, Mentoring Positives, the East Isthmus Neighborhoods Planning Council, Transition Madison, Gere Tree Care, the Madison Permaculture Guild, Community Action Coalition, Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara Neighborhood Association, Goodman Community Center and many others.
Union Corners: Corner of Milwaukee and E. Washington Ave. (or north end of Winnebago Street, depending on how you look at it! Either way, hope to see you there)
CONTACT: Joe Mingle, Eastside Pantry Brigade
Chris Brockel, Community Action Coalition