An inviting and welcoming outdoor space in Milwaukee, often referred to as one of the city’s “best-kept secrets,” Alice’s Garden is an agricultural oasis of beauty and culture! Alice’s Garden Urban Farm, a community garden in the Lindsay Heights Neighborhood, was developed on a plot of land with a long history. It was first occupied by Sauk Native Americans until it was seized by the U.S. government, followed by a farm stop as a part of Wisconsin’s Underground Railroad, then as a site of a failed proposed highway, and finally as a community garden.
The go-ahead for a community garden, developed under the leadership of Milwaukee County Cooperative Extension, was given by Milwaukee County in the mid-1970s. The original garden was almost twice as large as the garden that now exists, but when Milwaukee Public Schools wanted to enlarge the play area and parking lot for Brown Street Academy, a deal was struck. In exchange for the land, the school system paid for an irrigation system, including 14 spigots, as well as a new chain-link fence.
In 2004, SeedFolks Youth Ministry was invited into the garden to expand their existing, citywide, youth and family programming and to further develop the urban agricultural programming at Alice’s Garden. SeedFolks brought to the garden programs such as the Garden Mosaics Earn & Learn Program, SeedFolks Reading Circles, Reclaiming and Nourishing Family Traditions, and Brown Boys Bonding Thru Books. SeedFolks Youth Ministry no longer exists, but many of its programs are are still alive and well at Alice’s Garden.
In 2009, Alice’s Garden underwent redesign and reconstruction, creating more rental garden plots and carving out programmatic garden areas. Physical improvements included soil remediation, drainage enhancements, tool storage, a covered gathering space, bench seating, picnic tables, outdoor cooking facilities, and a system of hardened pathways. The garden has become a dream come true for the neighborhood residents and the many people and organizations whose hands and visions have made the garden the jewel that it is today.
Visitors will enjoy a self-guided walk in the beautiful herbal labyrinth, a special scavenger hunt for children and families, and additional garden activity stations. Venice Williams, Alice’s Garden director, will offer tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., each day. Picnic areas, eating space, and grills are also available to be used. Bring your favorite outdoor food, and all the items you may need for a picnic in the garden!