Minutes from the April 12, 2010

Meeting of Martin Drive Neighborhood Association

1.      Introductions

2.      Reports (6:35-6:45 p.m.)


Healthy Neighborhood Initiative Representative, David Weber, announced the Re-Light Energy Fair on May 8th sponsored by the Harley Davidson Foundation.  Residents may receive 13 free high efficiency light  and have an opportunity to visit booths of Energy Efficient Vendors.  The entire MDN will receive invitations in the mail.  For those unable to attend May 8th two other dates will be posted for pick up uf the bulbs at the office of Heritage West properties at 43rd & Vliet Street. 


NIDC will provide $5,000 for each neighborhood designated as a Milwaukee Healthy Neighborhood. There will be an initial project on 36th & McKinley. Other Martin Drive locations will follow. There are no matching funds for this project.


Committee Reports:


•       Newsletter

•       Business and Finance - Treasurer’s Report (not    present)

•       Welcome Committee

•       Block Representatives Meeting @ Birdie’s Café 9:30a.m. to 11 a.m. on 4/17/10. Diversity speaker to talk about how to reach out to other cultures.


Guest Panel:

Sharon Adams passed out a brochure on each table about community building and using a garden as a tool for this goal.


What are you really trying to accomplish? It is about community building. Why are you interested in gardening? Neighbors stated that they are interested in gardening. Curb appeal was another answer. It is good for a proper diet. In Walnut Way, there was a trash problem. It was people outside of the community that dumped on our garden. 1000 tulip bulbs were planted and it solved the dumping problem.


Sweat peas were planted. It is like garden candy. Why are you planting your garden? It turned into a production garden. The produce goes to market. It started small and grew to 1000 lbs a year. The money went back into the neighborhood.


The garden helped with history. Several neighbors lived in Martin Drive neighborhood for over 30 years. Walnut Way was historic along with Milwaukee because many of the trees had fruit. You can grow peaches in Wisconsin (with new science methods), Minnesota has many too. There are no fences. You cannot steal what you own. The garden is a welcoming place and neighbors pick fruit carefully. The garden is community building.


The next presenter talks about the Community Pie project which Amy Peterson is bringing forward.  Pies could be made at the Ameranth Bakery.  A planning meeting will be held on April 15 at  8:00 a.m. at the Amaranth. 


She stated that you really do not need pesticides. There is health and strength in diversity. If we try to make a carpet of grass, it will produce harm to the environment.


There was a dog that loves lying in the grass. The dog would lick its paws and the dog developed cancer traced back to pesticides on lawns. Agent Orange affected the presenter’s husband. He got many people to understand that the same chemicals in pesticides were used in the war. Several handouts explain what you can use on a lawn that is safe to use. You can plant foods and native plants in your lawn to make it easier to maintain than grass. Use rain barrels to collect water. The presenter offered pesticide free signs to those pledging not to use chemicals in lawn maintenance. 


Franz  from Weber’ Greenhouse stated that he was working with Pat on a summer project and he will provide $1.99 plants and flats at wholesale.  He showed native perennial plants that will come back year after year. We have less garden pests than areas to our south. You should look at where you are buying your plants. At other places you are buying from a middle man, increasing your final cost.


Steve Falsetti talked about the Martin Drive gardens and thanks the presenters for information. Our garden is  small scale and does not use pesticides. Steve talked about the garden, sustainability and food equity—grow more vegetables this year. There is a small foot-high fence to keep rabbits out. Saturday May 1st there will be an event at the garden at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome. stevefalsetti@hotmail.com He lives on 46th   Steve is working on a garden project with students at Victory Elementary.   Steve is growing some cold produce, peas, tomatoes, mint, basil, sage, parsley, melons. He is focusing on an array of different produce—weird vegetables—beans that are a yard long. He asked and welcomes people to take produce carefully. Anyone is welcomed to take produce. Last year neighbors received produce as they were working to maintain the beds. There are other ideas to make the area a welcoming space. Maybe have a movie at the area, a night garden-movie with a projector.


There was a question about fertilizer with granular particles. Poor soil welcomes weeds. If you have a strong soil, your grass will be strong enough to keep weeds out. Malgoronite is a product from Milwaukee, but is not recommended for fertilizing produce. Rheinders’ and Outpost. UW-Extension has a website on plants that will grow well in Wisconsin. The Urban Ecology Center is a great resource for help. Joel is a full-time employee there. They can be contacted via e-mail. Corn gluten can be applied now.   Tours Tuesdays 264-2326 5:30 p.m. to make appointments.


They really focused on soil. They use compost. It can be done inexpensively with things around the house. Free range worms you can get and hibernate during the winter. You can wake them up by placing sweet fruit like bananas, tomatoes, etc.   Sharon asked about plants for a curb appeal plan. Walnut Way had a workshop to learn the names of the different plants. Coming together and planning the garden is the most important. If you find that you have a lot of plants, you might have a dividing party to spread the plants.


Neighbors closed the meeting with announcements.

Pat has started working on a plan for the curb appeal plan. Friday afternoon there will be show called “Curb Appeal-The Block” on HGTV. They made a wood trolley sign.


Franz stated that several popular plants will be used and the location will be important to where the plants will go. Some plants needs to be sheltered. You could have the annual in a flower pot, let it grow all summer, and when it dies off—put it in the basement for next year. There was a discussion about seeds, how companies can genetically change seeds to force the customer to buy the same plant next year because the seeds don’t germinate. Gardening could be free after startup costs. Rare seeds are seeds have not been genetically changed.


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