By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 29, 2018 at 9:05 AM

Victory Garden Initiative is preparing to purchase a building across from its Urban Farm to create the Farmhouse – A Place to Gather and Create, where the nonprofit will help Milwaukeeans grow their own food. A Farm-to-Table Cafe is also part of the plan.

According to Rheanna Smith, VGI’s marketing and development manager, VGI will close on the purchase of 249 E. Concordia Ave. (aka 3275-79 N. Richards St.), a former tavern in the Harambee neighborhood, on April 13.

It plans to raise $157,500 during the first phase and $109,000 during the second in a two-phase capital campaign called the Gather and Create Campaign.

Phase one is intended to raise the funds necessary to complete the purchase and renovation of the building. Work is expected to wrap up in late summer or early autumn. A grand opening celebration will follow VGI’s occupancy of the building.

Phase two, slated for 2019, will help fund additional exterior renovation, kitchen renovations and equipment and supplies for the cafe.

"Though we have been doing this work for 10 years, our new building will give us the ability to move to a deeper level of impact, meaning, and connection," said VGI Executive Director Gretchen Mead, in a statement.

"We will serve more neighbors, teach more people, and share more good food. We will have deeper partnerships with the neighboring schools and community organizations. We will launch a CSA program this spring and expand our partnership with local restaurants. We will cook meals, directly from the garden, with and for our neighbors."

For more information on Victory Garden Initiative and how you can help, click here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.