Sophie Bolich

CFI’s Urban Farm Helps Workers Grow

Providing meaningful work for people with disabilities while bringing produce to communities in need.

By - May 28th, 2024 02:56 pm
Workers at CFI Greenhouse & Garden. Photo courtesy of CFI.

Workers at CFI Greenhouse & Garden. Photo courtesy of CFI.

Planting season is well underway at the Centers for Independence (CFI) Greenhouse & Garden, an urban farm located near the southside intersection of S. 6th and W. Norwich streets, just south of Howard.

While lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes and more are taking root and beginning to unfurl their first leaves, growth is taking place outside the soil, too.

More than 70 people with disabilities work on the farm each season, according to a news release from CFI, which states that workers are tasked with planting, nurturing, harvesting and selling more than 1,000 pounds of fresh produce throughout the summer.

In the process, workers are also able to build their resumes while gaining confidence and new skills, making friends and finding purpose in providing accessible, healthy foods to their communities.

“People with disabilities want what we all want — education, rewarding work and to be respected members of the community,” said Erin Dentice, supervisor of LIFE services and Brain Health Day Program, in a statement.

She noted that the CFI Greenhouse & Garden fulfills those needs while providing fresh, local and affordable produce.

“Our clients are overcoming adversity, gaining confidence and changing their lives and our community for the better,” Dentice said.

This year’s harvest is expected to include a wide variety of herbs and vegetables including salad greens, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, peppers, squash, cucumbers and more.

The plants are distributed across two greenhouses and an outdoor garden field, each placed according to its needs.

Throughout the season, produce harvested at the farm will be sold to Milwaukee restaurants including Braise, Goodkind, Hot Dish Pantry and others. The crops are also available for purchase at monthly farmers markets, and a portion is donated to local food pantries.

Farmers market sales are planned for selected Saturdays at the corner of S. 6th and W. Norwich streets, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Future dates include June 15, July 20 and Sept. 21.


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Categories: Food & Drink

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