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Breaking ground on Food Forest at La Crosse YMCA



Public will enjoy fresh produce all summer

It may have been a bit snowy, but they broke ground on the food forest at the La Crosse YMCA on Wednesday afternoon.

By mid-to-late summer, the public can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables as they walk by in the plot of land outside the Y on Main Street.

“We’re going to see pears, apples, plus, a whole bunch of edible fruit shrubs as you go down the way,” Jared Barkeim of Coulee Region Ecoscapes, which partnered with the Y, said 

while pointing out where the food forest will grow. “There’s going to be things like corn and beans and squash growing here – plants that are considered medicinal.”

YMCA CEO Bill Soper said the organization taking on this project was a no-brainer.

“It felt like such a good fit for us to put it here,” said Soper, who hoped the garden would be ready by late May.

Barkeim said it will be a much better use of the land which is currently just green space.

“When you comnpare that to the benefits of having an abundance of fresh local healthy food growing right here,” Barkeim said. “When you look at the opportunity to learn how to grow their own local, healthy food, it pales in comparison.”

Soper said it fits their overall mission to promote healthier choices and active lifestyles for people in La Crosse.


Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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