The first program initiated by The Hunger Task Force, the Kane Street Community Garden, was established in 1998 and produced about 500 pounds of vegetables. Since then, the Garden has grown in size to nearly two city blocks and produces, on average, 25,000 – 30,000 pounds of fresh, organically-grown vegetables each year.
The Garden, located on the corner of Kane and St. Cloud Streets on the north side of La Crosse, is situated on land owned by the city of La Crosse. Under the direction of the Garden staff, hundreds of volunteers assist with planting, weeding and harvesting each season in order to distribute free vegetables to those needing assistance—or to those interested in healthy eating.
The Kane Street Community Garden relies on volunteers to be successful. Volunteers are welcome during the following hours (from March 1 – October 1):
Mondays & Thursdays: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Harvest & distribution from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.)
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 – 1:00 p.m. (Harvest & distribution from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Harvesting of the Kane Street Garden
Every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoon during the harvest season (beginning in June), volunteers assist at the garden, harvesting vegetables for distribution. Come to the garden between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. (Mondays & Thursdays) and 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Saturdays), register as a volunteer, and wait for instruction from a garden staff member.
After harvesting is completed, volunteers are allowed to be first in line for the distribution of vegetables, but anyone coming to the garden will receive produce.
Please understand that harvest nights may be cancelled for inclement weather. Also, community members are asked to refrain from harvesting vegetables at any other time than regularly scheduled harvest nights.
The Garden welcomes ongoing donations of necessary supplies such as metal tomato cages, t-posts, new garden gloves in various sizes, and all manner of garden tools (such as hoes, shovels, and a rototiller) in new or “like-new” condition.
Kane Street Community Garden Staff
Todd Huffman is the Kane Street Community Garden Coordinator. Because of his belief that people should understand where their food comes from, Todd left behind a career as a software engineer/computer programmer. As a Master Gardner with extensive personal experience in organic farming, Todd was hired in 2006 to coordinate both the Rotary South Community Garden (no longer in existence) and the Kane Street Community Garden. When he is not overseeing the Kane Street Garden, Todd joins his wife, Lynn, in managing their own one-acre garden and hobby farm with the goal of raising nearly all of their own food.
Ryan Knox is the newest staff member at the Kane Street Community Garden; however, Ryan is not new to the Garden. Motivated by the desire to work outside, to learn about gardens, and to eat a larger variety of vegetables, Ryan began volunteering at the Garden in 2010 where his passion for the mission of the Hunger Task Force grew. Ryan worked in the Hunger Task Force warehouse as a driver from 2013-2014 before transferring to the garden. With a background as a social worker and experience at other nonprofits, Ryan enjoys working with groups, promoting educational opportunities, and sharing what he has learned about gardening.