From Milwaukee Renaissance

EarthRenaissance: PoliceCommunityPeaceGarden

Start Up Conversations

I introduced myself to Police Chief Flynn at Mayor Barrett’s State of the City Address in 2013 and told him there were people in the community prepared to offer the Police Department a starter garden at a station, for the good of the officers and the good of the community. He appeared somewhat puzzled. A year later at the 2014 State of the City Address I again approached Chief Flynn with the same offer and he was responsive.
He asked for my card and said his assistant would be contacting me. She did!

I am following up on behalf of Chief Edward Flynn. He indicated the Sweet Water Foundation was considering a victory garden at one of our police facilities. If you can provide some initial perimeters, I will be happy to discuss them with Chief Flynn and arrange an appropriate point of contact.

Thank you,


Heidi M. Hendricks
Staff Assistant Senior
Office of the Chief
Milwaukee Police Department

Here is my response.

Dear Heidi,

I am very grateful for Chief Flynn’s offer to learn of the resources some of Milwaukee’s “urban agrarians” hope to invest in the mindful development of Police Community Peace Gardens.

We have in mind a very modest start up project, ideally with the 5th Station. This demonstration project would be developed with a planning team comprising John Rakowski of the Medical College, Jesse Blom and Gretchen Mead of the Victory Garden Initiative, myself, and who you think should participate from the Police Department.

Here is John’s related projects and start up vision.

John is a Program Coordinator with the Medical College of Wisconsinís Violence Prevention Initiative, where he works with over 30 youth-serving organizations committed to reducing and preventing youth violence in Milwaukee. John managed a small gardening program with Running Rebels Community Organization for 6 years and is committed to increasing positive opportunities, particular for youth and young adults. John envisions a police-community garden as an asset that can be cultivated to educate, strengthen relationships and build community.

John L. Rakowski, Program Coordinator II
P: (414) 955–2689
C: (414) 550–3458

And Jesse’s.

Jesse is the Farm and Garden Educator for Victory Garden Initiative, partnering with many community centers and schools, especially in the Harambee neighborhood, to provide garden education programs. His outdoor classroom is a 1.5 acre small farm in the Harambee neighborhood at Concordia and Palmer. He also works with Sweet Water Foundation, Milwaukee Food Council, and other related groups in the city.

We could meet in person, through email exchange, and/or phone conferencing when your schedule allows. Or we could meet with officers of the 5th District and report back to you.


James J. Godsil,
President Sweet Water Foundation
414 232 1336

Vision Organizing

One of 1,000 threshold moment pathways to what Emmanuel calls

Beloved Cities

This is one of my obsessions, Police Community Peace Gardens.

Milwaukee or Chicago may be the first cities in the world to harvest the
Rich bounty of this theater of mind and heart force ready to manifest

In something so simple as a 4×8 raised bed garden, made from compost
the neighborhood school children had developed(with help from the “oldes”)worm casting fertilizer
from the multi-generational worm ranches of the hamlet

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Page last modified on April 03, 2014, at 10:23 AM