Little John’s looks to expand with support from Schuster’s Farm corn maze

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 8:31 AM CDT
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DEERFIELD, Wis. (WMTV) - A Deerfield farm is partnering with a Dane County nonprofit to raise funds and awareness for food insecurity and the public can support the cause by weaving their way through a special corn maze.

Schuster’s Farm designed their corn maze with Little John’s, a nonprofit organization that takes excess food from grocery stores and farms and cooks fresh meals for anyone in need.

“Our goal is to just help make food accessible. Like I think that food is a right and not a privilege,” said Chef Dave Heide, the Founder & Executive Director of Little John’s.

Little John’s currently cooks 17,000 meals a week out of a catering facility above an athletic center in Verona.

“We have a training program where we train veterans or people who have been recently incarcerated, and we teach them how to cook with that food while we pay them $20 an hour, and then we take that food and we put it out into the community,” explained Heide.

Chef Dave Heide is looking to expand Little John’s into a new location where they can make and distribute 200,000 meals a week. To make that possible, Heide said they need to raise about six million more dollars.

To support the organization in meeting that goal, Schuster’s designed their fall corn maze “Feel Good Food for All” with a depiction of Chef Heide driving a food truck. Donations will be accepted at the farm through the fall season for Little John’s, following an opening weekend fundraiser where $1 from each admission ticket was also donated to the nonprofit.

“We’re friends with Chef Dave and when we heard about his new mission with Little John’s we really wanted to see what we could do to A) raise awareness as well as B) help raise some money,” said Sarah Schuster, the Director of Marketing & Food Sales for Schuster’s Farm.

Another goal is also to raise awareness, as Feeding America data shows about 38,000 people in Dane County are considered food insecure.

“I think a lot of people, when you talk about food insecurity, they’re picturing someone experiencing homelessness on State Street. They don’t understand that it’s actually their next-door neighbor, it’s actually their kid’s best friend at school,” said Heide.

Schuster’s is also providing food excess and food access trivia cards with answers that help people navigate the corn maze.

Schuster’s Farm is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Halloween.