Amber Storm, carrying her youngest child on her back, bent over to help her 2-year-old twins, Althea and Judah, pick handfuls of Swiss chard from a raised garden at the Hunger Task Force farm in Franklin.
She explained to the twins that if the chard is dark green with a red stem, it is ripe and ready to pick. She then put a small piece of the bitter leafy green vegetable into each of their mouths. The twins spit it out.
Storm, who brought her four children from Wauwatosa to work at the Hunger Task Force farm, said volunteering gives her young kids a chance to think outside of their family.
“Community is really important to me, and volunteering is a great way for us to connect to the people around us and understand what other people are going through,” she said.
The Farm, on South 68th Street in Franklin, is a volunteer-based program that teaches families and children about farming, healthy cooking, and using fresh and local food options. On a recent visit to the farm, families joined with Hunger Task Force staff to harvest the chard, along with butternut squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, banana peppers and other vegetables.
The Farm sits on 200 acres of land and grows food all year long. For the last 14 years, the produce has been distributed in Milwaukee County and through hunger relief networks across the state.
Located across the street from the House of Correction, the farm has used inmate labor to plant and harvest food. However, in recent years the number of group and individual volunteers has increased, so inmates no longer work there.
In addition to harvesting vegetables, Storm and her children took advantage of everything the farm has to offer, including feeding the 10 goats and seeing fish in the hatchery.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to get my very young kids a chance at playing in the dirt for a good cause. I learned a lot about the Hunger Task Force and am excited to find new ways to support it,” Storm said.