Jewish Community Garden

Originally built in 2010, the Jewish Community Garden was completely redesigned last summer during the JCC Cares day of the JCC Maccabi Games – over 100 athletes and 25 community volunteers created the garden we have today. The Jewish Community Garden is chaired by Doug Fox and is a joint effort between the JCC and Tikkun Ha’Ir. For photos and regular updates on the garden, please CLICK HERE.

The Garden’s mission is to provide fresh, nutritious food to those most in need, to teach people how to garden and to promote Jewish values and learning. The Jewish Community Garden is truly a community project. Its success depends on volunteers like you.

Produce from the garden goes to our Jewish Community Pantry and other organizations. The Jewish Community Pantry alone serves more than 10,000 households each year, and its clientele consists of Milwaukee’s most at-risk families and the elderly. Over 40% of those served at the Jewish Community Pantry are children.

The Pantry and Garden demonstrate the JCC’s commitment to Tzedakah (justice) and represent the Milwaukee Jewish response to community hunger.

We encourage you to stop by, and we are always looking for volunteers to make sure the garden looks great and produces nutritious fresh food. Contact Sarah Siegal, Engagement Director, at 414-967-8185 or for more information.






Jewish Community Garden Updates

Another Great Day in the Garden - By Doug Fox, Jewish Community Garden Chair

August 15, 2016

Let's all welcome our newest garden volunteers -- Angela and Michael -- who helped to harvest some beautiful veggies and put up our new anti-critter fence.

We have a bit of work to do in the garden: the gourd vines are beginning to take over the place, so we need to trim them back. There are greens to harvest, and now with the fence, we can try for one more crop of lettuce.

Successful Garlic Harvest - By Doug Fox, Jewish Community Garden Chair

July 14, 2016

Thank you to all who helped to harvest some monster garlic this week. What a crop! With a little TLC, we harvested some of the best garlic this planet has ever seen. If you happen to smell a faint odor of garlic in the JCC building, it's because the bulbs are now hanging in the kitchen to cure.

We also harvested some softball-sized onions.

To take advantage of the newly opened space, we transplanted some lettuce into the garlic patch.

Next up: Coriander picking.

To get involved in the Garden click here to contact Sarah Siegel or call her at 414-967-8185.


Volunteer in the Jewish Community Garden

Friday, July 1, 2016

"It is forbidden to live in a city that does not have a vegetable garden." (Talmud Yerushalmi, Kiddushin 66d)

We are so fortunate to have a community that not only believes in the saying above, but lives by this saying.  Our Jewish Community Garden, is truly a community garden because its mission is to provide fresh, nutritious food to those most in need, to teach people how to garden and to promote Jewish values and learning.  Produce from the garden goes to our Jewish Community Pantry, which serves over 10,000 households each year and our clientele consists of Milwaukee’s most at risk families and the elderly. Over 40% of those served at the Jewish Community Pantry are children.

This garden is run by community volunteers in partnership with Tikkun Ha'Ir and the success of the garden depends on volunteers like you.  If you are interested in helping harvest and maintain our beautiful Jewish Community Garden, please click here to email Sarah Siegel or call her at 414-967-8185 to learn about upcoming Jewish Community Garden volunteer opportunities. 


From Where Do We Get Our Food? - By Hannah Lindholm, Director of Youth Programs

Friday, June 24, 2016

This week our Kids Center Cooking Camp had the opportunity to answer that question by spending time in the Jewish Community Garden.  Campers were welcomed by garden chair, Doug Fox, who helped them learn about what is grown in the garden and where the produce ends up.  For some of the campers, this was their first experience ever gardening.  They split into groups to weed, harvest, and even play in the dirt.  They harvested beets, lettuce, swiss chard, and so many herbs; sage, mint, oregano, parsley, and thyme. 

The campers took their harvest straight to the Jewish Community Pantry. Because the pantry wasn’t open to the public, campers were given a tour of the facility by Mona Cohen, Director of Adult Programs and Community Services, and were shown step by step the client’s experience.   It was an engaging experience for the children who asked great questions like;

“Do they get to choose their own food?”  “How do you know if you give them food they will like?” “Can I come back with my family?”

After the tour, campers worked as a team to sort two tables full of the produce they had just harvested into packages for families of various sizes.  Over 20 families will now take home fresh produce from the pantry.  As they packaged the herbs, campers were able to identify each variety!

At the end of the day they celebrated all of their hard work by making and enjoying limonadas (a popular lemon – mint drink in Israel) with mint fresh from the garden!

What a great day at the J!  Please enjoy the following camper quotes overheard throughout the day as well as the amazing pictures taken by Doug Fox below.

Here are some of the highlight quotes of the day…

“I’m going to start a garden at home!”

“I love the peppermint smell, it smells soooo good!”

“I really want to eat one of these beets.”

“Wow, this bag of lettuce is really heavy!”

“There’s a spider in there!”

If you are looking to continue the conversation at home, one idea is to talk about the Biblical concept of leaving the corners of your field unplowed so that others in need can come glean with dignity.  How can you and your children leave a little something for others to use?


Garden at Rainbow Day Camp - By Sarah Seigel, Engagement Director

Wednesday, June 15

Did you know that we have a BEAUTIFUL garden at JCC Rainbow Day Camp? As part of JCC Growing Partners, Rainbow Day Camp has an outdoor learning kitchen which includes a 48 ft hoop house, a 60ft X 60ft educational garden, a 60ft X 60ft fruit garden, and a wash station.

Every week, our JCC Rainbow Day Camp garden sends an average of 35 lbs of produce to our Jewish Community Pantry!  They have been sending collard greens, bock choy, chard, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens and rhubarb.  All of the produce is harvested with the help of our Rainbow Day Camp campers. In addition to harvesting, this summer campers will learn how to grow food, and then learn to make healthy snacks.


Thyme Marches On - By Doug Fox, Jewish Community Garden Chair

Friday, June 3

The Jewish Community Garden is looking great and on its way to producing another bounty of fresh produce. Thanks to the hoop house added last year, we have already harvested several pounds of lettuce and other greens for distribution to those who need through the Jewish Community Pantry. Another harvest is around the corner!

We just completed planting the warm-weather crops, including tomatoes, peppers and beans. This year, the garden will also give us beets, potatoes, onions, and garlic. In addition, the gourds we are growing will be used to decorate the sukkah in fall. Newly planted horseradish will be used next year for Pesach.

A real gem this year is the herb garden. We now have several varieties of mint, plus chives, sage, cilantro, parsley and cilantro and oregano. New this year are the lemon-scented herbs -- lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon verbena and lemon mint -- all great additions to tea, salads and other dishes.

We encourage you to stop by, and feel free to sample an herb or two and check out the photos below!