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Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Hunger Task Force Farm director Matt King

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Hunger Task Force is well-known in the Milwaukee area for feeding people in need. But beyond the canned goods and non-perishable food items, the Hunger Task Force runs a farm in Franklin to make sure people also have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Hunger Task Force Farm sits on 100 acres, and it takes thousands of volunteers and a lot of fundraising to make it happen. It’s all organized by a man named Matt King.

When we caught up with King early this spring, he was busy making sure all of the seedlings in the numerous green houses were ready to go. He doesn’t consider himself a farmer, but he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

“I actually grew up in Milwaukee and as a teenager was a volunteer myself,” King said.

Now he’s the director at the Hunger Task Force Farm. It’s where he’s learned everything he knows about growing all kinds of vegetables.

“All on the job, on the job,” he said with a laugh.

While it was still too cold in the fields, the green houses were full of broccoli, cabbage and peppers.

“We grow acorn squash, butternut squash, the traditional Wisconsin staples of corn and beans,” King explained, showing tray after tray of sprouting seeds.

King is in charge of making sure all of this fresh produce eventually makes it to the people who need it most. The farm produces 25 different crops each growing season.

“People are so grateful for the ability to eat healthy and as we all know, it's expensive to eat healthy,” he said.

Food banks often struggle to provide fresh produce. King makes it happen by coordinating up to 5,000 volunteers every year and raising more than a million dollars.

“The biggest challenge is definitely getting enough hands to get all this work done,” he said. “We're trying to accomplish a lot and serve a lot of people.”

Once the crops are ready to harvest, they are picked and shipped to distribution centers as quickly as possible, so clients can get the food at peak freshness. King knows how hard it can be for people to ask for help when they don’t have enough to eat. His dedication makes sure it’s fresh and healthy when they do.

“It's just really amazing to see people come together to help people in the community,” he said.  “And we have a lot of fun along the way doing it.”

If you have a suggestion for “Natalie’s Everyday Heroes,” let us know! You can email Natalie at nshepherd@cbs58.com, or send her a message on Facebook. We are always looking for suggestions and tips to find people doing great work in their community.

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