North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is asking gardeners across the state to donate extra fruits and vegetables from their harvest this year to help meet the needs of hungry North Dakotans.
“Sadly, in a state that produces so much food, hunger is very much a problem here,” Goehring says. “We are asking individuals and groups to join in the 2017 Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project to donate at least a million servings of fresh produce to North Dakota food pantries, shelters and charitable feeding organizations.
“The Great Plains Food Bank served 94,470 individuals and distributed nearly 13 million pounds of food in 2016,” Goehring says. “Almost 36% of those needing help are children, and 12% are seniors.”
Jared Slinde, communications manager for the Great Plains Food Bank, says that one in nine people in North Dakota struggle with not enough food to eat each day.
“While this is a problem thousands face in our state, the solution is here as well, and the Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project is a perfect example of this. We are happy to partner once again with Commissioner Goehring and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture with this great project as it will help seniors, families and children across the state with access to fresh produce,” Slinde says.
Information about the Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project, including drop-off points for garden-grown produce, is available on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website’s Hunger Free ND Garden Project page.
The Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project was started in 2010 through the local foods initiative of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Great Plains Food Bank. The statewide project encourages home gardeners and commercial growers to plant extra produce each year for donation to charitable organizations across the state. Since its inception, the project has recorded more than 1.8 million pounds of fresh produce donations.
Sweet corn plot partners include: Lincoln-Oakes Nurseries, the Great Plains Food Bank, Missouri Valley Ag, Hubbard Feeds, 4-H and North Dakota FFA. Additional sponsors helping make the harvest event possible are: Cloverdale, Morton County 4-H, Royse’s Twin City Produce, USDA-ARS-PA Northern Great Plains Research Lab, Sara Lee/Bimbo Bakeries, Spiffy Biffs, Bismarck Parks and Recreation and Farm Credit Services of Mandan. Other partners in the project include: NDSU Extension Service, NDSU Master Gardeners, North Dakota FFA, Dakota College at Bottineau — Entrepreneurial Center for Horticulture, Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society, the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association, Healthy North Dakota, Creating a Hunger Free North Dakota Coalition, and Pride of Dakota.