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Hunger Task Force adds new ADA accessible garden in La Crosse

Join The Hunger Task Force for the Grand Opening of their Unity Garden this Thursday.

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A unique new garden will be open for the first time Thursday in La Crosse.

As part of its commitment to serve the community, the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse is opening an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible Unity Garden as part of the Kane Street Community Garden.

This area will remove barriers and make the space more usable and enjoyable for everyone. The Unity Garden will enhance the inclusion of the elderly and those with differing abilities in gardening activities at their Kane Street Community Garden.

The grand opening is set for 4 p.m. Thursday (map). Guest will speak how this is going to help those with mobility issues.

“We want to make sure that everybody in the community has the opportunity to come out and garden, so the beds are raised,” Hunger Task Force of La Crosse executive director Shelly Fortner told Classic Hits 94.7 Sam Strong. “It’s wheelchair accessible. It’s a cement pad, we’ve got a handicapped parking spot out there with room for folks to get their chairs out of the van.

“I’m just really happy that this has all come together.”

“When I first started, I was the only employee at the food bank and Todd Huffman was the only employee at the garden,” Fortner, who has been with the nonprofit for over 12 years, said.

Of course, the organization and the garden are much bigger now. Even during a pandemic, last year they had over 29,000 pounds of food.  The goal is to grow 30,000 pounds of fresh produce annually and distribute it to the community free of charge.

They rely heavily on volunteers, especially at the garden.

“Some people just show up at the garden. If you’ve got a group of people that want to come, we like to register you through the office so that we can get all of the forms,” Fortner said.

If you haven’t been, it’s approximately two city blocks and there is a lot to do every day, which comes with the territory of growing 28 varieties of fruits and vegetables.

“We have a greenhouse now, thanks to the new development that took place there a couple of years ago, and a community room where hopefully this year we will start doing our garden classes and workshops,” Fortner said.

Those interested in volunteering or learning more about the Kane Street Garden, can head to the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse website.

Tracy has worked at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 2004. She is half of the Z93 Morning Buzz with Brittany and Ballzer and coordinates Z93's charity, Zcare. She writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse and announces for the Mississippi Valley Mayhem Roller Derby team.

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