How a UW-Milwaukee micro-farm keeps hungry students fed with nourishing food

Posted at 5:28 AM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 18:55:53-04

MILWAUKEE — We know this has been a challenging year for all of us, including college students.

On top of shifting learning online some students are struggling to afford food.

As part of our Rebound Milwaukee reports, we shine light on a micro-farm at UW-Milwaukee working to nourish students.

It is hard to concentrate and study when you do not have enough food to eat. There are four people on campus hoping to help students make ends meet through this pandemic with fresh fruits and vegetables.

“To plant a seed is to believe in the future,” said Kate Nelson, UW-Milwaukee chief sustainability officer.

Kate Nelson instills that mantra in senior Nina Hartwig. Nearly every day she is out here tending to UW-Milwaukee’s gardens and knowing the difference it will soon make in her peer’s lives.

“We expect anywhere from 500 to 1000 pounds at least from these gardens,” said Kate Nelson, UW-Milwaukee chief sustainability officer.

The need for this is growing. Before the pandemic, the UW-Milwaukee food pantry fed about 150 students a month. Now they help more than 200.

Hartwig has seen what the students have been going through.

"After the pandemic a lot of them lost their jobs so it's very stressful having to think about trying to pay your rent and have food and worry about your student loans.”

Because the food pantry stocks items with a long shelf life, fresh produce like tomatoes, garlic, strawberries and spinach will be a welcome sight.

They show the students in need the different ways it can be used in their diet.

“[Such as] potatoes: how you can make french fries,” said Nelson.

“Leafy green are something that everyone should be eating,” said Hartwig.

Here is your Rebound Rundown:

  • UW-Milwaukee Food pantry is open to current students
  • The pantry provides a bag of food for each student that should last for one week.
  • They are open one day a week with limited hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to learn more click here.

To learn about other food pantries available for families in Milwaukee call Impact 211. They are available 24/7 to help you and your families find resources focused specifically on your immediate needs. You can also click here to go to Impact 211 website to learn more about this organization.

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