Apiculture to zucchini: Satisfying Milwaukee’s appetite for info on growing food

Bees in the backyard? The Urban Apiculture Institute was one of many programs highlighted earlier this month at an open house at Milwaukee County Extension's new facility.

Agriculture is big in Wisconsin’s biggest city, and there are plenty of ways for CALS faculty and staff to get involved. That was made clear on May 12 when Milwaukee County UW-Extension faculty and staff held an open house to show off their new facility on West Watertown Plank Road in Wauwatosa. UW-Extension works throughout the Milwaukee area on a range of agricultural and horticultural issues, and many of those projects were showcased at the event.

CALS faculty and staff are involved in a number of the efforts, and John Shutske, the college’s Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach Programs, hopes to expand that involvement. “There are dozens of opportunities for CALS faculty and staff to continue to build connections and relationships in partnership with a diverse group of communities and local leaders,” he says,

Among the presenters were extension educators Dennis Lukaszewski and Sharon Morrisey. The two are members of the UW-Extension horticulture team, which includes more than a dozen CALS faculty and staff members. Morrisey manages Master Gardener programs for the county and region and hosts a weekly Monday morning show on gardening on “Fox 6 WakeUp News.” Lukaszewski coordinates and provides education for a large-scale community garden effort that provides land, facilities, and education for more than 500 families in Milwaukee County. This effort also ties to the larger Food, Ecosystem, and Educational Demonstration (FEEDs) program that provides similar gardening opportunities for more than 5,000 people statewide.

The county’s UW-Extension program is also home to the Urban Apiculture Institute that trains new and veteran beekeepers in practical, successful, and responsible urban beekeeping practices and foster closer relationships among beekeepers. The county’s Community, Natural Resources, and Economic Development program (CNRED) is engaged in complex projects and programs that link together more than 45 businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, and family service groups on issues of food security and economic development opportunity.