Covid 19 has affected most businesses and communities, and Hope & a Future is no different. During Covid lockdown, this unique, intergenerational Adult Family Home (AFH) in Madison has had to adjust to the inability to accommodate its community of over 300 volunteers.
Wisconsin Food Forests also needed to adjust our approach during the Covid 19 lockdown. We did not call upon any of our volunteers because of the social distancing strictures around Covid. When Erin Mcwalter and Emily Steinwehe arrived at Hope & a Future in April to install a food forest, their helpers were members of the community’s staff.
Karin Krause, Founder and Executive Director of Hope & A Future, talks about running an intergenerational Adult Family Home (AFH). “Our AFH is home to people of advanced age,” Karin says. “We also have people with developmental disabilities and a fun and diverse group of caregivers–some with children. We call ourselves a family of friends! I am the live-in RN. Live-in staff help out with evening and weekend hours in exchange for room and board. We all eat around a big table and genuinely share life!”
Hope and a Future’s mission is, “To promote meaningful relationships between young and old, empowering individuals to serve and strengthen one another in a diverse, faith-based, green community.”
Hope & a Future is home to four residents and live-in staff, which have included a registered nurse, registered occupational therapist, pharmacy technician, certified nursing assistants, and their children. A full time art/activity therapist has offered music, dance, arts and crafts, food, parties, exercise, pet therapy, swimming, and gardening. The beautiful 5.5 acre property has been maintained by volunteers. Needless to say, in the wake of Covid, many of these activities have been put on hold.
Erin and Emily donned their masks and headed to the west side property for the April installation. The intrepid planters installed the following trees: one North Star tart Cherry tree, two Contender peach trees, one Veteran peach tree, and two European pear trees.
Upon Emily’s advice, the group also planted two pawpaw and two American persimmons. Emily said, “Not many people have heard of these fruits. They are quite delicious though, and easy to grow once they are established.”
Karin goes on to say, “Pre Covid we also shared meals with volunteers and at potlucks when we held monthly house concerts. Hospitality is an important part of who we are. And so are gardens! We grow vegetables that help feed our household, visitors and volunteers. When we have more food than we can eat or share with volunteers, we donate the rest to a local food pantry.”
“We are working hard on plans to develop more housing and services here and had always hoped to add fruit trees. When Wisconsin Food Forests contacted us with an offer of donated fruit trees and help with planting them and learning how to care for them we were extremely excited and we still are! We are working to develop a diverse intergenerational neighborhood that works together on gardening. Our new trees add to our hope for the future at Hope & A Future! We could not be more grateful!”
Karin reiterates their gratitude, “Thank you Wisconsin Food Forest for helping us help others! We are so grateful! Your mission helped our mission–it proves we are better when we work together! This gift will keep on giving for years to come.”
Indeed, that is why we call food forests A Living Legacy.