The Hillview Urban Agriculture Center: Beginning of a New Era for the Hillview Greenhouse
By Vicki Miller, Hillview Urban Agriculture Center
In June 2010, the Hillview Greenhouse Life Center found itself at a crossroads. Unable to continue, the board voted to suspend operations, leaving the fate of the Life Center up in the air. Life Center president Dr. Tom Klemond and other board members were hopeful that a person, organization and/or coalition would step in to save Hillview Greenhouses.
On Sunday, June 27, 2010, an article written by Joe Orso, titled “Help Save Hillview Greenhouse,” appeared in the La Crosse Tribune announcing a public meeting to be held for anyone who might have interest in “stepping forward and breathing life back into it.” Approximately 60 community members attended the meeting, with 11 individuals committing to do what they could to save the greenhouse. The group, which named itself La Crosse’s Food Future: At Hillview (LFFH), began meeting once a week. In August 2010, the group was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Chad Erickson Memorial Fund–La Crosse Community Foundation Bridging Grant and the Dr. David L. and Sacia B. Morris Family Foundation to allow LFFH time to develop a business plan. With an expanded vision, LFFH changed its name to Hillview Urban Agriculture Center.
Leanne Hedberg Carlson, MBA, was one of the individuals who came to the public meeting on June 30, 2010. Leanne, who at the time taught organizational behavior at Viterbo University, envisioned the greenhouse as an opportunity to create a local, sustainable and accessible food system for all people in the La Crosse area. She was elected president of LFFH (which later became the Hillview Urban Agriculture Center) and led the organization until December 2013. Hillview would not be here today without her tireless dedication and visionary leadership.
First Community Meeting
The first community meeting to gather input organized by eleven community members to “Help Save Hillview” was held on July 7, 2010, and included (from left to right): Heather Mortell, Cheri Schuyler, Vicki Miller, Karlena Brailey, Sara Sullivan, Dane Gonzales, Zack Gaugush, Corrie Brekke, Liz Passe, Emmy Carlson and Leanne Carlson (not shown).
We’d like to gratefully acknowledge other community members who have served on the Hillview board or have been and/or are involved in other important ways. Hillview would not have been possible without their dedication and involvement.
Jeff & Karla Fennie
Carolyn and Glen Jenkins
Tom & Julie Klemond
Roxanne Aubrey Marina
*Past Hillview board members