Just what is
a "Garlic Mustard Picker?"
The Garlic Mustard Pickers band got its start in 2003 when three
members began to discuss their love of music as they pulled the
invasive weed, garlic mustard, out of a Grant Park natural woodlands
area. Garlic Mustard was brought to this area as a culinary plant, but
with recent changes in the climate, it has moved into the category of
“invasive weed” as it voraciously takes over natural woodland areas,
crowding out native plant life and even threatening tree regeneration.
The three original band members were part of "Weed-Out!"
(a volunteer-based program sponsored by The Park People of Milwaukee and Milwaukee
County Parks), working to keep invasive
plants like garlic mustard from destroying the woodlands.
Talking about their love of music lead to the three weed-pickers
getting together to play, then pulling in spouses and friends who
played other instruments, and voila, by August of 2003 the band was
having regular rehearsals. “The Garlic Mustard Pickers” was an obvious
choice for the band name! Our first “paid” gig was in December of 2003.
By consensus, our earnings were turned over to a community project, and
that set the tone for our mission: using profits from performances, CD
sales, and tips, after band expenses, to support worthy public service
projects in our own community.
Each year we had more to contribute, and by 2006 realized that we
needed to incorporate as a non-profit; we were soon granted tax-exempt
status by the IRS.
At the end of 2011 our cash donations to community service passed the
"$15,000" milestone. Our current "since the band was founded" total of donations is approximately
In 2012 the band donated $3524 from gig earnings to support the following groups and programs:
Racine Literacy Council
Park People of Milwaukee, Inc.
(Friends of Grant Park - sponsor a bluff restoration project in Seven Bridges)
South Milwaukee School District (for repair of musical instruments)
Human Concerns of South Milwaukee (a food pantry)
The Sharing Center (a food pantry in western Kenosha County)
Friends of the Domes (Milwaukee County Mitchell Park Domes)
Friends of LaFollette Park
Pringle Nature Center (Bristol, Wis.)
Tippecanoe Church (Milwaukee)
St. Mary's Parish (Dover, Wis)
In addition, in 2012, the band contributed over $1750 worth of free performance time to local fundraising events for charity.
note: the band does NOT solicit independent donations through its
website or by any other means.
Rather, we solicit paying
performances and take additional donations and CD sales during those
performances to be donated to specific causes at various times
throughout the year.
We would like to
acknowledge the local businesses and organizations that have hired us
to perform, and so have helped us to support our community’s service