Down on the Farm

Down on the Farm

First, it was a work farm, a series of fields where inmates from the Milwaukee County House of Correction toiled away, tending fields and milking cows. Then it was a fish hatchery – UW-Milwaukee converted the 139-acre farm in Franklin, first established in 1946, into a laboratory for its Center for Great Lakes Studies in the 1980s. Later, Milwaukee County took back the land and lent it to the Hunger Task Force, which began using it in 2004 to grow food for the hungry. Earlier this year, HTF inked a new deal with the county to ramp up its operations…

First, it was a work farm, a series of fields where inmates from the Milwaukee County House of Correction toiled away, tending fields and milking cows. Then it was a fish hatchery – UW-Milwaukee converted the 139-acre farm in Franklin, first established in 1946, into a laboratory for its Center for Great Lakes Studies in the 1980s. Later, Milwaukee County took back the land and lent it to the Hunger Task Force, which began using it in 2004 to grow food for the hungry. Earlier this year, HTF inked a new deal with the county to ramp up its operations at this farm of many forms. HTF’s two full-time farmers, plus members of the organization’s transitional jobs program, planted 58 out of 101 arable acres this season as the organization faces a stagnant economy, a withering drought and high demand for meals. “Farming is hard work, and it’s not cheap,” says HTF Executive Director Sherrie Tussler. “But we look at it as a sustainable model because we know what we are putting into the earth – and how much we can get out of it.”

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Jenna Kashou is a writer, storyteller and journalist specializing in lifestyle and culture feature writing for print and web. She is a frequent contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, MKE Lifestyle Magazine, The Business Journal and more. She was chosen as the fifth writer in residence at the historic Pfister Hotel where she wrote about and photographed guests and events. A Milwaukee native, Kashou has lived abroad and visited far-flung locales like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. She has always had an enormous sense of pride for her hometown and spreads this Milwaukee love everywhere she goes.