Guy Smith is Helping Plant Seeds of Change: Hunger Task Force and Milwaukee County Park’s Win-Win Partnership

Feb 19, 2024

50 Faces. 50 Stories. 50 Years of Fighting Hunger.

Hunger Task Force is proud to be Milwaukee’s only Free & Local food bank and Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader. In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, Hunger Task Force is highlighting “50 Faces of Ending Hunger,” honoring the anti-hunger heroes who champion Free & Local and support our mission to end hunger.


For two decades, Guy Smith’s tenure as a leader in Milwaukee County Parks has been synonymous with collaboration with a steadfast commitment to tackling hunger and promoting environmental health.

With a background in natural resource management, Guy began at Milwaukee County Parks as the first trails coordinator in 2004. His career trajectory over the next 20 years led him to manage natural areas conservation, oversee operations, and ultimately, assume the role of Parks Director in 2018. Proud of his time serving Milwaukee County, Guy shared, “In July, it will be 20 years since I started at the parks.”

In 2012, Hunger Task Force signed a historic 30-year lease with Milwaukee County Parks that allows Hunger Task Force farmers to operate more than 200 acres of farmland and natural areas in Franklin. “Hunger Task Force started The Farm during my time as Chief of Operations,” shared Guy. “And that partnership has certainly continued as I’ve become Parks Director.”

Matt King, Hunger Task Force Associate Director, emphasizes that Guy helped paved the way for the transformative success of The Farm. “His leadership played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between Hunger Task Force’s vision and Milwaukee County’s resources.” The Hunger Task Force Farm produces over 25 varieties of fruits and vegetables each season, feeding children, seniors, and families across the community.

Guy highlighted the “win-win” nature of the partnership, emphasizing its environmental benefits as well. “It’s not common knowledge that The Farm is still a Milwaukee County Park,” explained Guy. “Through collaboration between Hunger Task Force and my dedicated natural areas team, we’ve achieved some impressive environmental wins at The Farm. There are natural prairies and an oak savannah adjacent to the agricultural land that we are particularly proud of.”

Over the last twelve years, Guy has fostered a true partnership. He actively collaborates with farm staff on infrastructure upgrades, like the Nutrition Education Kitchen and Welcome Center, to ensure The Farm not only grows healthy food for vulnerable families but also fosters education and community engagement. “It’s just been amazing,” shared Guy. “The Farm, under Hunger Task Force’s leadership, has been fruitful…pun intended.”

Guy’s hunger-fighting efforts don’t stop there. Milwaukee County Parks annually partners with Hunger Task Force through the Summer Meals “Meet Up And Eat Up” program, transforming parks into vibrant hubs offering free summer meals and activities to children across Milwaukee County. This initiative recognizes parks as more than recreational spaces, but vital community centers addressing food gaps during school breaks.

“Parks are meant for the community. In the summer especially, we want to be able to provide kids with healthy meals and a safe, welcoming space for play and exploring.” said Guy.

Guy champions a holistic approach to health. He recognizes that tackling hunger goes beyond providing meals, emphasizing the interplay of physical activity, fresh air, and community connection in green spaces. He recognizes the overlap in missions between Milwaukee County Parks and Hunger Task Force, “both of our organizations are meant to serve people.” This philosophy translates into initiatives focusing on equity within underserved communities.

Guy Smith has been a driving force in cultivating a healthier, more equitable Milwaukee by directly addressing food insecurity, promoting environmental stewardship and fostering vibrant community centers through parks. His leadership and commitment to collaboration continue to shape the future of Milwaukee’s green spaces and the communities they serve.

Meet the 50 Faces of Ending Hunger!

Click below to discover real people making a difference in the fight against hunger – new faces added each month! As we journey through our 50th year, keep checking back to meet more incredible individuals making a difference.