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Seeds of Hope raises money for a La Crosse community garden

Kaitlyn Riley

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Planting support for the community, the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse launched its “Seeds of Hope” campaign this week.

The effort helps cover costs for the Kane Street Community Garden. Last year, nearly 30,000 pounds of produce were grown and donated to food pantries, meal sites, and youth programs.

“It’s about giving people more access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Shelly Fortner, executive director of the Hunger Task Force said. “We know that they can get expensive certain seasons of the year. People are struggling, especially this year.”

“Seeds of Hope” is a partnership with Festival Foods where the store encourages customers to donate at the register. The campaign started Oct. 11 and will last through Oct. 25. Proceeds will help cover expenses such as seeds, bedding plants, and fertilizer.

Staff and volunteers are also working on a new project, an ADA Accessible garden. Fortner explained a development on the south side took some of their land, but in exchange, they gained another piece to use for the community garden.

“That’s been a year or two in preparation,” Fortner said. “We are really excited that next year, we will have a square of garden space right in the front that will be ADA accessible. People with all abilities are going to be able to garden there.”

The Kane Street Community garden is coordinated by a master gardener along with one part-time gardener. The other work is completed by volunteers.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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