Two great local foods efforts in Fargo

Kudos to Dorothy and Howard Barlow and others helping grow fresh food to help provide fresh fruits and vegetables for neighbors in need. They helped start a hunger garden at Peace Lutheran Church in north Fargo. The produce will be donated to the food pantry at the church. Now Olivet, St. Johns and others are working together too.

http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/280982/

Here are the two articles in today’s Forum Hunger Free and 

Published June 07 2010
North Dakota calls on gardeners to get local produce on food pantries’ shelves
North Dakota is calling on its gardeners to spare some of their yield this summer – preferably half a million pounds of it.

By: Mila Koumpilova, INFORUM

Hunger garden at Peace Lutheran Church

Dorothy and Howard Barlow helped start a hunger garden at Peace Lutheran Church in north Fargo. The produce will be donated to the food pantry at the church. David Samson / The Forum
North Dakota is calling on its gardeners to spare some of their yield this summer – preferably half a million pounds of it.

The state has kicked off an ambitious drive to whisk locally grown produce to food pantry shelves, where non-perishables still hold sway. Church groups, community gardens, novice growers and entire communities have pledged to pitch in.

“This is going to be an incredible new source of produce,” says Steve Sellent, director of the Great Plains Food Bank.

Sue Balcom, the local foods marketing specialist at the state Department of Agriculture, says the idea for the Hunger Free North Dakota Gardens Project sprang from a mild predicament shared by avid gardeners like her.

“I look for any excuse to plant one more thing in my garden and watch it grow,” she says. The result: more produce than she can use.

That food, she realized, would come in handy at the 244 pantries in the state.

The project is not a novel idea. Programs such as Plant a Row for the Hungry have been around for a while. Last year, a group of volunteers at Moorhead’s Probstfield Community Gardens shipped half their yield – more than 6,000 pounds – to the Great Plains Food Bank.

But, Sellent says, the statewide project would be a nutritional boon. Fargo-Moorhead grocery stores donate excess produce that makes its way to area pantries. But at many farther-flung, rural pantries, often open just one day a week, produce is virtually nonexistent. It made up less than 12 percent of the 6.6 million pounds of food the Food Bank distributed to pantries statewide in 2009.

“There’s a whole portion of our population that has no access to healthy food,” says Abby Gold, of North Dakota State University Extension Service, a partner in the Gardens Project.

The Ag Department, which hasn’t earmarked money especially for the project, has collected more than 120 pledges.

A Wahpeton community garden has offered up 2,000 pounds of veggies. A Bismarck 4-H group promised 400 pounds of potatoes. The city of New Rockford set aside a quarter acre plot. Doug Goehring, the agriculture commissioner, planted more than 1.5 acres of sweet corn on his farm west of Bismarck. Staffers will pick the roughly 24,000 cobs the plot should yield.

Budding gardeners from Fargo’s Madison and Holy Spirit elementary schools planted an assortment of veggies, from Swiss chard to radishes, on a Northern Plains Botanic Gardens Society plot near Yunker Farms.

A dozen volunteers at Fargo’s Peace Lutheran Church rallied to help out their church pantry, where food has rapidly vanished from shelves lately. Right by the church, they planted a plot with tomatoes, peppers, beans, beets, eggplant and – per the department’s half-joking directions – only one zucchini plant.

Betty Patterson, one of the volunteers, will donate extras from her garden. “Usually, I just invite friends to come and pick,” she said.

The department staff is brainstorming harvest season ideas: soliciting volunteers to keep rural pantries open more often than one day a week, enlisting Boy Scouts for home deliveries and hosting canning classes.

“We’ll have to scurry like crazy to get the deliveries lined up in a timely manner,” says Balcom.

She concedes 500,000 pounds is a massive goal but trusts the loose-knit army of gardeners can pull it off. “I truly believe in an agricultural state like North Dakota, we can feed ourselves – with really high-quality food,” she said.

How to help

For more information or to pledge produce, contact Sue Balcom at the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at (701) 328-4763 or suebalcom@nd.gov.

~End article~

Here’s another article on a local food cooperative effort underway:

Published June 07 2010
Wholesome Food Co-op meets donations goal
The Cass Clay Wholesome Food Cooperative reached its fundraising goal of $5,000 by June 1 and will now apply for a state grant to study the feasibility of establishing a retail food co-op in the area.
By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM

Poll
Is a retail food co-op a good idea for the area?

or view poll results »
The Cass Clay Wholesome Food Cooperative reached its fundraising goal of $5,000 by June 1 and will now apply for a state grant to study the feasibility of establishing a retail food co-op in the area.

A food co-op is a member-owned, values-based grocery store that connects local food producers to the community, according to a news release from the group.

The co-op raised $5,098 from about 90 donors last month through donations at public meetings and through the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation, the release stated.

The largest donation was $500, and the average donation was about $57. About 70 donors contributed less than $100.

The co-op will now apply for a grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce’s Agricultural Products Utilization Commission. The co-op plans to make a presentation to the APUC board at the end of July.

 

 

Avatar of Mike Williams

About Mike Williams

Name: Mike Williams Location: Fargo, North Dakota Website: http://www.electwilliams.com Occupation: Risk Manager Family Mutual Insurance Fargo City Commissioner since 2004, re-elected in 2008 and 2012 About Me: I'm a pragmatic optimist that's grateful for all the wonderful people in my life
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>