Crowley Station Community Garden was the work of multiple community and city groups.
Downtown Community Gardens Group played a pivotal role in the start of the garden. The Downtown Community Gardens Group (DCGG) was founded in 2009 by two downtowners tired of bicycling to distant community gardens, taking up plots that could have been meeting the needs of the gardeners in those neighborhoods. Since then, DCGG has been talking to alders, city staff, and committees; giving presentations to community groups of all kinds; walking downtown neighborhoods to share ideas and scout for sites; and standing at the farmers market gathering signatures and talking garden talk.
The timing of meeting First Settlement neighborhood group couldn’t have been more perfect.
A July 2012 neighborhood walk with Alder Rummel put DCGG in touch with the First Settlement neighborhood group, and then with the Friends of Crowley Station. After considerable groundwork by those groups, the Crowley Station Community Gardens Committee began forming in the fall of 2013. An initial proposal for a group of raised beds above well #17 was written and presented to Madison Water Utility. The group wrote a more detailed proposal in the Spring of 2014 and was granted $10,000.00 to get the garden started.
Madison Water Utility also wanted a poorly used public space to become a productive and beautiful addition to the neighborhood.
2014 was a flurry of work for the first Leadership Team and dedicated garden members. The handbook was written and policies were ironed out. The design elements were given considerable thought in order to match the urban setting and preserve the views of the lake for local residents and businesses. Special raised beds were made and the garden took shape that year. The summer of 2014 was a short, but productive first growing season.
The Crowley Station Community Garden continues to grow!
Each year returning garden members meet to plan out the coming garden season at winter monthly meetings. These members turn into innovative leaders who push the boundaries of what a community garden can accomplish. The community gets stronger and stronger with each season as we welcome new members in. Many members go on to be strong leaders for other community gardens when they move to new neighborhoods or desire more garden space. A core group of dedicated downtown members ensure that Crowley Station Community Garden is a enduring feature of the neighborhood and works in tandem with the goals of our landowners the Madison Water Utility.